Skip to main content

STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

  • Chapter


According to Sanders (2009), the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the 1990’s began to use the acronym SMET, as a “… shorthand, for ‘science, mathematics, engineering, and technology”’ (p. 20). SMET was perceived to sound too much like “smut” and STEM, became the acronym of choice. While this may explain the modern label, …interest in education involving the study of the STEM subjects began in the colonial era …” (Salinger & Zuga, 2009, p. 4). They further note that the U.S. federal government has offered continual support for career and technology education though legislation such as the Vocational Education Act of 1917.


  • Education Reform
  • Instructional Approach
  • Technology Teacher
  • Science Education Reform
  • Technological Design Problem

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-94-6209-497-0_92
  • Chapter length: 2 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-94-6209-497-0
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout


  • Bybee, R. (2010). What is stem education? Science, 329, 996.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • DeBoer, G. E. (2000). Scientific literacy: Another look at its historical and contemporary meanings and its relationship to science education reform. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37(6), 582-601.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Marcuccio, P. R. (1987). Forty-five years of elementary school science: A guided tour. Science and Children, 24(4), 12-15.

    Google Scholar 

  • Roberts, A. (2012). A justification for STEM education. Technology and Engineering Teacher.

  • Salinger, G., & Zuga, K. (2009). Background and history of the STEM movement. The Overlooked STEM Imperatives: Technology and Engineering.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sanders, M. (2009, December). STEM, STEM education, STEMmania. The Technology Teacher, 68(4), 20-26.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tsupros, N., Kohler, R., & Hallinen, J. (2009). STEM education: A project to identify the missing components. Intermediate Unit 1: Center for STEM Education and Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach, Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2014 Sense Publishers

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

McComas, W.F. (2014). STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In: McComas, W.F. (eds) The Language of Science Education. SensePublishers, Rotterdam.

Download citation