David Pugalee is director of the Center for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Education at UNC Charlotte.
The center works with school districts to promote effective teaching and learning in the subject areas proposed for Gaston's magnet elementary school.
says such courses are designed to get students involved in ways that incorporate higher cognitive skills.
says they challenge young minds to develop deeper critical thinking skills by employing math, science and engineering to solve problems.
asserts these programs result in elementary students who are more interested and prepared for success in those fields of study.
"Sustained engagement in developing science, technology, engineering and mathematics literacy has been shown to positively impact student learning both in terms of content and in meta-skills that are part of critical thinking and creativity," said Pugalee
, who previously taught middle and secondary math and science for more than a decade.
The arts component will pose both opportunities and challenges, according to Pugalee
says the opportunity is that through arts, students will have experiences which extend abilities in areas such as visualization, creating models, diagramming, and technical illustrations.
says the challenge rests in making the arts-emphasis education truly complementary to the overall context of the program.
says while studies have shown adding arts to be a positive, the concept is too new to determine its overall effectiveness.
Page 2 of 2 - "Outlining the goals and the potential outcomes has not really been a focus," he