The importance of S.T.E.A.M in our teaching startegy
I happened to be at the University of South Florida a few weeks ago and came accross an interesting study headed by David Murphy. Dr. Murphy is an engineer and oddly enough is studying a sea creature know as a Sea Butterfly. Sea Butterflies are winged footed snails found in the plankton and you are wondering why an engineer is interested in a marine creature? The answer is Dr. Murphy is studying how the Sea Butterflies move through water in order to build minature robots that can travel through air and water. Murphy puts it simply by saying "we are drawing design inspiration from these creatures". Ah ha moment, the "E" and "A" in S.T.E.A.M or Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathmatics and of course the rest applies. Murphy further states that "Sea Butterflies have figured out elegant solutions to really difficult engineering problems, so we are trying to capture those ideas".
Murphy uses fluid mechanics and animal biometrics to solve problems and map the future. He got his start as a youngster attending and participating in science fairs which eventually led him to his PhD.
According to the Department of Commerece the United States is experiencing a shortage of S.T.E.A.M inspired workers causing firms to look overseas to fill the void. S.T.E.A.M workers drive innovation and competitiveness by generating new ideas, new companies and new industries. In the previous ten years the growth in S.T.E.A.M occupations has been three-fold. S.T.E.A.M plays a key role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy and plays a critical role for the future.
Learning by doing is a key component to S.T.E.A.M and expolration offers what the four walls of a classroom cannot.