Notes from the NAAEE 2019 e-STEM Brown Bag Lunch | NAAEE
eePRO

The hub for environmental education professional development

Notes from the NAAEE 2019 e-STEM Brown Bag Lunch

Please feel free to add anything I might have missed or misinterpreted. We look forward to working with everything!!

Current eePRO working group definition: E→STEM refers to learning about the environment as a pathway to STEM learning. Specifically, this includes initiatives engaging individuals in the environment as a means to explore concepts in traditional STEM disciplines. Here's a great, brief article that provides an example of E-STEM in action from the National Science Teachers Association (http://static.nsta.org/pdfs/NSTAReports2014Feb.pdf).

We started with framing the meeting around the three topics posed in the pre-conference survey:
-defining e-STEM
-exploring conceptual frameworks
-e-STEM in real life

We had 10 people join us for the discussion. To respect privacy I'll highlight where some of our group members were coming from, but I'll let them introduce themselves.
-West Virginia: bringing e-STEM lessons to a boy scout camp and continuing to develop e-STEM curriculum
-Texas: working with students from all over the Galveston Bay area
-New Hampshire: utilizing the concept of ecoSTEM
-Alabama: incorporating engineering practices through underwater ROVs throughout the area
-Incorporation of US-based curriculum Nature Based eSTEM
-Kentucky: delivering STEM programming
-New York: developing e-STEM programming

Defining e-STEM:
-ecoSTEM: building STEM skills to address environmental framework; however the term "eco" might make some audiences wrench because might reflect mental models of tree-hugging activist
-STEM: building the STEM skills while doing environment work; think of e-STEM as Elementary STEM; utilize STEM for funding language
-In China 'eco' is politically correct, but teachers aren't sure how to integrate; but there is project-based learning taking place such as community gardens, nature-based solutions [hands-on with STEM]; also in past 10 years the discourse has shifted from EE to nature education, a lot of young parents engage
-the definition is using the environment to teach STEM concept and using STEM to teach the environment
-STEM as a pathway to solving a problem/ issue? (inquiry-based)

Long-term Outcome Effects:
-recruitment to STEM careers (and ensure there is inclusivity form environmental interest); noting there is a lot of focus on robotics
-EE doesn't have to be a partisan experience
-reminding there are systemic levels of the environment
-eSTEM gets back to the environment not starting at the issue but starting back the basics (like watershed issues)

Hey all, great to be involved more with this group! I did want to post here about the Bosch Community Fund, from which grants are awarded with a specific focus on EcoSTEM (which is why I like using the term): https://bina.bosch.us/node/130

They don't have a good web presence, but it's worth you/your grants office looking into if you're in the U.S. The funding is available to organizations within the loosely-defined "community" around any of the 100 or so locations in the county: https://www.bosch.us/our-company/bosch-in-the-usa/

I think it was a great discussion at NAAEE and I am looking forward to both learning from and contributing to the group.

We are just looking at some data from one of our classes that shows that it helps close the achievement gap between females and males.

Hello! I co-moderate the e-STEM group with Kenneth and Lily. We would love to continue the conversation around definition, conceptual frameworks, funding, and resources related to e-STEM. Given it's a fairly new topic with growing momentum, it will be great to use this group to keep the conversation going.

Are there particular topics from this discussion or otherwise you would like to see explored more deeply? We are happy to help coordinate!