From STEM to STEMS^2: Broadening Participation & Perspective

Presented by:
Tara O'Neill

STEMS² is an education construct that integrates science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with the social sciences and sense of place (S²). The construct was developed via work on an ESEA Title II award and an NSF Noyce Capacity Building award. At the heart of STEMS² is a network of individuals and community partners who seek to foster student engagement and achievement via real-world application of interdisciplinary content knowledge that supports the social emotional development required for community and civic engagement in addition to promoting skills related to college and career readiness. STEMS² is a place and culture-based construct that is composed of three parts: theory, pedagogy and a growing network. STEMS² theory integrates four major bodies of literature: 1) STEM education, 2) cultural-based and multicultural education, 3) sense of place and place-based education, and 4) indigenous education. STEMS² pedagogy is grounded in five pillars that result in our embracing of the ōlelo no‘eau [Hawaiian proverb]of Ma ka hana ‘ike – through doing one learns. The five pillars are A‘o [reciprocal teaching and learning], Makawalu [eight eyes] represents the need to see real world problems and solutions through multiple lenses, many angles and multiple ways of knowing at the same time, Mo‘olelo [stories, history], Sense of Place and Advocacy.The STEMS² network is made up of formal and informal pk-20 educators and community partners from around the world who share a passion for building integrated educational spaces that connect community, culture and place.

NSF Awards: 1660781, 6101646

Related Leadership Program
Noyce Master Fellows
Grade Level
Higher Ed
PD Models
Instructional Materials
Broadening Participation
Published Date
May 2020
Published In
2020 STEM for All Video Showcase
Subject Area