The STEM minor for elementary education majors is an opportunity for students to practice teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in an integrated manner to varying elementary aged children. The senior capstone project involves the writing and teaching of a five-day unit to upper elementary students.
Why should I study STEM?
Research continues to demonstrate the importance of early introduction to STEM to foster the interest to pursue STEM careers. Many elementary schools have a STEM focus, and most are realizing how engaging STEM concepts and practices are for students. The adoption of the Next Generation of Science Standards by many states, and the potential for their adoption in Minnesota in the near future, will make teacher candidates much more marketable as they begin their careers.
What can I do with this degree?
- Elementary education teachers with a STEM minor are highly sought after for teaching positions
- Many Bethel STEM graduates are currently working in informal science settings such as the Science Museum, Starbase MN, and the Minnesota Zoo
- Principals are seeking STEM leaders to implement best practices as well as to assist with enrichment programs in the schools
What skills will I develop?
- Best practices for integrating STEM concepts and practices in meaningful ways
- Research techniques and data collection
- The differences between scientific investigations and engineering design
- Enhanced technology skills and understanding of scientific concepts
- Applied mathematics skills
- Management of an active classroom
- Questioning techniques for effective inquiry-based teaching
- Learning to think like a scientist
- Presentation skills
- Ability to function within an effective team
What unique experiences or opportunities will I have?
Learning Beyond the Classroom
STEM students take multiple field trips, such as to the Science House, Starbase, and to the Minnesota Zoo. In addition, they travel as a group to present their units as teams to elementary students, then revise the units based on those experiences and present their research at the STEM Symposium their senior year. They also receive a STEM t-shirt and a STEM lab coat for their future teaching. Two Bethel STEM students have also received the Minnesota High Tech Association scholarship.
Inspire Young Girls in STEM
Each spring, Bethel hosts GEMS: Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science for a day-long camp of learning, activities, and exposure to college students, faculty, and professionals within these fields. Bethel women majoring within these disciplines and/or education are invited to guide a group of 5th grade girls for the day as they attend sessions from female Bethel faculty and outside professional women working as the engineers, mathematicians, and scientists.