The Information Age has given way to the Innovation Age. Not only are today’s scientists and engineers putting sophisticated computers in our back pockets, they are inventing new ways to cure disease, feed the world, eliminate pollution and create renewable energy.
Yet at the same time, teachers are overburdened by testing mandates and crowded, resource-poor classrooms. Enrichment in math and science takes a backseat to rote learning and classroom management. Teachers feel frustrated. Students get discouraged. And all too often schools fail to prepare young people for their futures.
In contrast, we at BLOSSOMS hope to inspire students from around the world and from all walks of life to get involved. Our lessons show students, in a hands-on way, how exciting and fascinating math, science, engineering and technology can be.
While inspiration is paramount, preparation comes in a close second. BLOSSOMS lessons help prepare students for careers in the global innovation economy by teaching them to think. Each BLOSSOMS lesson connects seemingly abstract or dry concepts to the real world. More important, the lessons give students a real-world idea and the chance to play with it.
BLOSSOMS lessons engage students in observation, experiment and discussion. Problem solving activities stimulate students to think critically and to make connections that lead to “Aha!” moments. As students develop a deeper and richer understanding and intuition—what we sometimes call a gut feel for a concept—they gain the confidence and inspiration they need to continue their math and science education beyond high school.
BLOSSOMS is not alone in this effort. It is part of a movement called STEM Education - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education. STEM is a new way of thinking about how to best prepare high school students for post-secondary education and participation in the modern economy, which more and more often requires people to think critically, work independently, and apply a wide set of sophisticated skills. BLOSSOMS aims to improve these in-demand skills and to increase student interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.