At Dickinson Middle School in North Dakota, the local manufacturer's roundtable has been meeting with representatives of the school to see how STEM subjects can be made relatable to the students, and integrated into curriculum. Retired teachers have also been working toward this goal.
"Every seventh- and eighth-grade student that comes into this school will have an entire year, every day of STEM," said Principal Marcus Lewton. "Which is really cool, and that's probably not the norm, but we felt that was really important."
In addition, Lewton said that employers have told him that they need to have creative employees who collaborate, think critically, and communicate well. Many times, students ask "When am I going to use this?" or "Why do I have to learn this?" Lewton says that when parents or teachers connect the subject the student is learning to a real job or a real person in the industry, it helps the student to see the purpose and be more engaged.
"That is huge for the adolescent mind in making meaning of what they're learning," he said. "When kids know that something is important because it's real and it's not just in school, they're more likely to be engaged."