STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The acronym is used across the United States in regards to the support of education in such fields of study. In today’s progressively technological world, the U.S. is lacking enough qualified candidates to fulfill the growing number of high tech jobs. International results show that in the past several years, American students have been scoring significantly lower than their foreign counterparts in science and math. If this trend keeps up, the National Commission on Mathematics and Science reports that by 2018, the U.S. may be three million high skilled workers short (1). These alarming statistics are proof that the U.S. education system must make a change. STEM programs are about integrating these four key subjects into America’s school curriculums.
The STEM Garden Institute promotes STEM through the platform of hydroponics gardening. Co-founders Gerry and Janet Lorden have worked since 2010 to assemble a team with extensive experience in the areas of curriculum development, emerging innovative technologies, nonprofit and municipal leadership to ensure it’s successful implementation. Through hydroponics, children and adults are introduced to the four key disciplines of STEM by learning about growth through solar energy, soil chemistry, photosynthesis, water purification, etc..
Furthermore, STEM Garden Institute provides students an opportunity to walk away with an understanding of more than just the core competencies of STEM. The byproducts of STEM Garden Institute are that it exposes students to a number of additional capabilities. Children gain entrepreneurial skills by selling their creations at local farmers markets, learn how to work as a team by building a hydroponic system with their peers and become aware of the importance of nutrition by cultivating their very own food. Moreover, by establishing a common cause, STEM Garden Institute instills a sense of community within our towns and in our schools.