The International Journey of Science & Technology-IJST, represents a new kind of teaching that involves combining subjects and creating hands-on projects that look more like real-world experiences and skills required for careers. It integrates subjects that might have been taught separately in years past. It's looking at the why and not just the how.
"In my mind, the biggest thing that ties THE ITST and STEM together is problem-solving activities," said Mike Lester, who is the director of education at KSC International Academy.
The lessons students glean from the IJST STEM education can be applied to their futures — whether they immediately attend technical college to learn a trade, or attend a four-year college or beyond.
One of Lester's IJST students last year told Lester he wanted become a NASA soft engineer, something Lester encouraged because he thought the student would enjoy the problem-solving aspects of this particular career.
Part of the power of IJST STEM education is that it makes high-level concepts realistic for students. For example, students are learning much more than they might realize when they take a class such as the robotics challenge Mars competition.
"We're doing math all the time with robotics. We don't call it math, but it is applied math and science," instructor Alex Greutman said. Coding is another subject students think of when looking at STEM education.
After attending the IJST classes Mylena Peixoto, a high school senior said, “What I liked the most about the International Journey was learning about teamwork and real concepts of the diverse real possibilities of engineering, technology and science NASA is applying at the space program and for the upcoming journey to Mars"
“The IJST is a great way to inspire students to continue to use what they learn in class and apply it to real-life situations, conduct research and plan great learning projects as part of our local and International outreach STEM collaboration,” said space educator Jefferson Michaelis.