HOW TO OPTIMIZE STEM ACTIVITIES AMONG STUDENTS AND TEACHERS: THE THINK INDUSTRY I4.0 PROJECT
Abstract - The authors with this work intend to share, and analyze an ongoing initiative with the aim to increase the interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) among young students including their teachers in the process, in a way to guide and help them for future choices for study areas, and professional careers, in technology and Industry. It will be described, and explored, as a case study approach developed during an ongoing STEM project “Think Industry i4.0”(TIi4.0). This initiative is based on hands-on activities and team challenges, with different approaches (inside and out-of-school programs) focused on experiencing engineering and promoting self and informal learning in alternative contexts. The present paper will report the experience of several technological Centers, from Portugal that ran this STEM project since 1995, with several upgrades according to the new developments in technology and Science. The actual version is based on the fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) and it has encompassed more than 100.000 youngsters with ages between 12 and 18 years old since the beginning. The main goal for the TIi4.0 project, and all related activities, is to develop a positive image of the industry, engineering, technology, and employment opportunities, and technical careers in the industrial sector, towards the circular economy. The project approach is following the rules, published by several authors, by making STEM teaching fun and engaging by incorporating hands-on activities (laboratory activities) and real-world examples (team projects challenges) that are relevant to student’s lives and daily life environments. In the context of Industry 4.0, it is showed the diverse range of related careers available and needed that are directly and indirectly connected to STEM fields and connect students with mentors in industry careers with close contact with their regular schoolteachers.
Keywords - Stem, Hands-On, Teaching, Industry 4.0