It is easy to forget what inventions, medical advancements, and pieces of technology that we can thank STEM education for because we simply take them for granted in our everyday lives. Did you know that the produce that you purchased in the local grocery store or grew in your garden can even be attributed to the concepts that STEM helped to promote? Yes, STEM has even given us the food that we rely on to live every day of our lives.
What else have science, technology, engineering, and mathematics given us?
In a developed country like the United States, Europe, and Japan, it is pretty rare to find a young person today that does not own a smartphone and use it multiple times in a single day. 20 years ago, that smartphone did not exist. Isn’t it amazing what STEM can do?
The television has provided us with entertainment and news updates for nearly a decade now with the invention of the remote coming many years after that. It has been used to inform us of events that affect us as well as events that affect people around the world. It can also be used to provide a good laugh every once in a while, and inspire social interaction. Even actors and actresses rely on STEM professionals to advance their own careers.
Like the television, radio has served to provide us with entertainment and update us on news events. The radio came before the television and was profound because it was one of the earliest inventions used to transmit easily-understood messages instantaneously.
Microscopes allow us to analyze everything from an insect’s eye color to anomalies at the cellular level. Microscopes have helped to develop immunizations, to discover harmful viruses, bacteria, and parasites, and to observe the interactions between two or more very tiny organisms or chemicals.
Computers help us to solve mathematical equations, connect with people, organize our thoughts, deliver medicine, and countless other profound features. You can thank STEM education for that.
There once was a time when travelers risked their lives traveling across a body of water such as one of the Great Lakes or the Mississippi River. Bridges are now not only one of the safest ways of traveling across a body of water, but are taken advantage of because they are traveled by millions of people multiple times in the course of a day, week, month, year, or lifetime.
Homes used to consist of natural materials and rocks. While there was a certain level of engineering even during that time period, buildings with walls that kept out natural elements but allowed you to breathe were a profound advancement for our society. Amplify this into the skyscrapers and apartment buildings that house thousands of people at any given time and then you’ll truly see the magnitude of the engineering skills that have gone into the process of making just one building.
Could you imagine a world where no person knew where they were going? Could you imagine if Christopher Columbus never found the shore of the United States of America because his ship was turned around in a storm? What if you never knew to go east or west at high noon when the sun could give you no traveling advice? The compass has made travel and location possible for us to understand.
If you have ever owned a car, driven a car, or taken a ride in a car, then you can thank the incredible STEM professionals that engineered the motor vehicle and made it possible for you to access a personal traveling device at your convenience.
The Furnace/Air Conditioning
Heating and cooling weren’t always easily adjusted at the turn of a dial or the tap of a button on a smartphone. STEM gave us the modern-day technology that makes heating and cooling possible without burning wood or taking a dip in the lake.
Indoor Plumbing/Running Water
Many of us in take indoor plumbing and running water for granted because we live in a developed country where these amenities are more expected than they are rare. It takes quite a bit of skill to manufacture a system capable of drawing water upwards for your personal purposes.
Everything that you have put in your mouth can be explained and grown using STEM techniques. STEM can explain why the vegetables that you planted in your yard grew into delicious food that you can eat as well as the food that has been processed and sold to you in stores.
The internet connects you with people, concepts, ideas, and applications. You can connect with your boss via email about the new project you are working on, video chat a college friend across the world, or learn everything that you could possibly want to know about cats for an upcoming veterinary exam.
3D printing is a relatively new idea with incredible applications. 3D printing can make strong, light, mobile, customizable homes and buildings that can be built in as little as 24 hours. 3d printing can create prosthetic limbs, shoes, and many other useful objects that have yet to be discovered.
Could you imagine doing all of the math that you have ever done on paper or by hand? While it can certainly be done, complicated equations and graphing applications have proven to be powerful assets in our advancement of many different medical, mathematical, and engineering concepts.
The Law of Gravity
Newton developed the Law of Gravity. It helps scientists, engineers, and mathematicians how, why, when, what, and where the objects both in space and on Earth interact with each other. Gravity explains why the planets don’t collide with each other and why humans, plants, animals, and water don’t randomly go flying into space on a whim.
Do you like cooking with an oven, microwave, toaster, toaster oven, rotisserie, or grill? Could you live without the refrigerator and freezer to store your food? These are intricate pieces of technology donated by STEM for the advancement of human life.
The First Wheel
Could you imagine a world where you had to pick everything up and carry it wherever you went no matter how heavy it was? This is what a world without the engineering of the wheel meant- no cars, no horse-drawn wagons, no pulleys, and nothing with a gear or wheel of any kind.
The list provided above is actually a rather short list in comparison to all of the wonderful things that we have today. We often think of a computer, smartphone, or car as just a basic necessity that helps us navigate our personal and professional lives, but we often forget that they are all technologies made possible by advancements in STEM education. Can you think of other common items that you take advantage of everyday that have been contributed to society by STEM professionals?