STEM education unleashes opportunities for students, giving them needed skills to conceive and develop revolutionary products and processes that will continue to shape the nation and Chicago’s economic future. Our goal at Chicago Public Schools is to develop resilient, critical thinkers with the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the demands of a technology-driven world. We must give our students the foundation to solve problems and tackle complex issues that face current and future generations.

Our Core Belief: We Are Developing Tomorrow’s Innovators

What is STEM?

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real world lessons as students apply STEM disciplines in contexts that make connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise. An applied approach means students participate in learning experiences where they are collaborating, creating, communicating, and solving problems across the disciplines. By encouraging students to ask questions, brainstorm creative ideas, and use academic principles to build and refine solutions, we are preparing them for the types of challenges they will meet in the real world.

STEM Learners:

  • Ask questions and arrive at meaningful conclusions
  • Persist through challenging problems
  • Develop 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, creativity and collaboration
  • Apply knowledge and skills to make connections across subject areas (e.g., Math, Science, and Sociology) to solve real world problems
  • Become proficient with technology
  • Learn about STEM career pathways
  • Develop a love for learning

Why is STEM Education Important?

Given our complex and changing world, we need tomorrow’s citizens to be equipped to meet our modern challenges. Learning in science, technology, engineering, and math—the subjects called “STEM” – builds the knowledge and skills needed to reason through tough problems and come up with creative, effective, and reasonable solutions. Preparing for the challenges and surprises that lie ahead requires helping all children develop these knowledge and skills. And, we need to make sure that every child in the next generation develops the skills demanded by the information age. STEM learning is a vital part of getting not only our nation, but the City of Chicago ready for the future.

STEM jobs are in high demand

  • Experts predict there will be 1 million+ job openings in stem-related fields over the next 3-5 years
  • STEM degree holders enjoy higher earnings in STEM and non-STEM occupations
  • Today there are nearly twice as many STEM job postings as there are qualified candidates

Building skills in and outside the classroom, via real-world settings really helps to generate interest and spark learning in these vital subjects. Students can’t be what they can’t see!


Career Connections - STEM fields are the fastest growing areas in the job market today. Watch Mr. Preston Lewis, a teacher at Wadsworth STEM Academy, guide his students in developing the skills they'll need to get those jobs.

The 8th graders at Earle STEM Elementary, under the direction of their teacher, Mrs. Valia Thompson, presented their solutions and reviewed what they learned while working on their Problem Based Learning Unit: "Community Peace Garden". The students sent letters to their Alderman, Toni Foulkes, other community representatives, and neighbors asking for help to create a peaceful community. We had guests from The Kitchen Community, the Police Department (CAPS), a representative from the Alderman Toni Foulkes's office, Museum of Science & Industry, Leave No Veteran Behind, Michigan State University, and Network 11's ISL.

image: students presenting to community representatives
Problem Based Learning Presentations to the Community

Freshmen and Sophomores at Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy Participated in STEM Service Learning Projects

Goode STEM Academy Students

Last semester, Freshmen participated in a design challenge focused on building an effective bridge for their local community. Bridges are an essential element in the community to connect both people and businesses, and must be designed safely and cost-effectively. Therefore, freshmen used popsicle sticks to design a freestanding bridge for their community. The effectiveness of bridges were tested by using weights. The winning team constructed a bridge that held 120 lbs and will have the opportunity to present their design and proposal to the alderman!

Goode STEM Academy Students

Sophomores learned about the impact of the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal on nearly 8 million people across 39 districts. Nearly half a million temporary homes were required for Nepalis after their homes were destroyed by the earthquake. Students learned about roof design, nanotechnology, and hydrophobic materials. They were given the challenge of designing waterproof roofs for temporary homes in Nepal, and were limited to working with the materials that were provided to them. The effectiveness of the roofs were tested by pouring 1/2 liters of water on each structure.

Contact Us

Do you have questions about STEM or would like to know how to partner with us? Send us an email at STEM@cps.edu.




STEM education unleashes opportunities for students, giving them needed skills to conceive and develop revolutionary products and processes that will continue to shape the nation and Chicago’s economic future. Our goal at Chicago Public Schools is to increase the number of students prepared for jobs in STEM fields.

Our Core Belief: We Are Developing Tomorrow’s Innovators



Page Last Modified on Monday, May 16, 2016