Sometimes things just come together at the right time. Erin Rawlinson was a new mom. She loved her job as a third-grade teacher in Katy, Texas, but it was time for her to begin a new chapter, one in which she could stay home with her newborn son and be there for all those precious firsts. But there was one glaring problem: she would need supplemental income to leave her day job. Around that time, a former colleague called to see if she’d be interested in writing curriculum for STEMscopes Math. And there it was: the gig that would allow her to be at home with her son.
A year after Taylor Wheeler resigned from her teaching job to focus on raising her children, a former mentor called to discuss a new opportunity. She was writing STEM curricula for a company called STEMscopes, and thought she would be a great candidate for the same position. It was a no brainer for Wheeler—she could continue to stay home with her children, while influencing the way STEM is taught in the classroom.
We’ve all heard the expression “practice makes perfect.” Rote math drills, however, have proven to be an ineffective method of practicing math. One-size-fits-all approaches to teaching and practicing math just don’t work. So, we created a math curriculum that can be adapted to any learning style, in any classroom.
When the STEMscopes math team came together to design our curriculum, we set out to solve a problem that has always haunted math teachers: knowledge transfer. Every teacher has seen students ace a worksheet and then freeze when they see a non-routine problem or a routine problem in a new context. The sad truth is that many students enter adulthood incapable of applying their math skills in daily life. It’s these students we hoped to reach with our curriculum elements.