I work with Learning.com, and we do a great deal of work to support STEM initiatives in schools. What steps do you see as most effective to launch a STEM initiative? How do you organize your school/class/program or project to integrate STEM?
I've found that a flipped classroom ideology really helps to launch a STEM initiative. I work for a non-profit organization that specializes in STEM where I teach Game Design and LEGO Robotics. Both of these classes really help students engage in and become self motivated learners in their own STEM education. A flipped classroom helps with this because the "lecture" part of the class can be done at home during students' normal study time which leaves the classroom time open for more one on one time with teachers, more fun lab work time and more engaged learning. That way, when teaching concepts like the water system, you can do the introduction in a screencast that students can watch at home, and during class they can build a video game that teaches the water system. At the same time students can grow plants in the class windows which is another way of reinforcing the water system lesson. It also opens up classroom time for homework time that way where students would normally get stuck on homework at home and wouldn't receive immediate help, they can no ask questions right then and there. This also shows students real-world uses of the information they are learning.