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Innovation event model for STEM education: A constructivism perspective

Academic Editor: Ergun Gide

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  • STEM education aims to cultivate innovative talents by improving students' ability to comprehensively apply interdisciplinary knowledge in solving practical problems. This paper first develops an innovation event model through the analysis of 50 historical innovation events that can be traced back to whole human history. The model divides the realization process of those innovation events into four steps: 1) pointing out a problem, 2) proposing solutions to the problem, 3) concrete implementation of those solutions, and 4) iterative modification process. And then, the relationship between innovation event model and STEM education is established from the perspectives of subject integration and constructivism of STEM education. Based on this model, we can understand some key issues in the implementation of STEM education from a top-down view, including the nature of STEM education, the knowledge integration model, and the relationship between subject-specific education and integrated education. This will help to gradually improve our cognition and understanding of STEM education, so as to achieve its initial goal of integrated and innovative education. This article will contribute to a holistic rethinking about how to renovate STEM education in different levels of schools and colleges, equipped with such an innovation event model.

    Mathematics Subject Classification: Perspective.


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  • Figure 1.  The Innovation Event Model

    Figure 2.  A schematic diagram of the structure of knowledge

    Figure 3.  Design STEM curricula around students' life experiences

    Figure 4.  The mind map of "The Crossroad"


    Order Invention Driving problem
    1 Kay Shuttle technology [4] To improve efficiency of working
    2 Jenny's Loom [4] To improve efficiency of working
    3 Microscope [4] By accident
    4 Barcode [4] To collect product information automatically at checkout
    5 Television [4] To transmit images electronically
    6 Internal combustion engine [4] To improve thermal efficiency
    7 Ultrasound diagnosis [4] To detect the pathological changes of organs in the human body
    8 Mercurial thermometer [5] To measure the patient's temperature accurately
    9 Fahrenheit [5] To get the temperature exactly
    10 Echometer [5] To improve the method of auscultation
    11 U-shaped mercury manometer [5] To get the patient's blood pressure
    12 Compass, quadrant, spinnaker [5] To solve the problem of positioning in navigation
    13 Watt steam engine [5] To improve performance of older steam engine
    14 Using steam engines in manufacturing [5] To improve performance of that field
    15 Steam driven vessel [5] To improve performance of that field
    16 Steam Locomotive [5] To improve performance of that field
    17 LD process [5] To improve performance of that field
    18 Cotton gin [5] To improve performance of that field
    19 Music box [5] By accident
    20 Typewriter [5] To page a book automatically
    21 Edison's Light Bulb [5] To improve performance
    22 Telegram [5] To realize long distance communication
    23 Telephone [5] To realize long distance transmission of sound
    24 Radio [5] To transmit information wirelessly
    25 Movable type printing(Bi Sheng) [5] To improve efficiency of printing
    26 Movable type printing (Gutenberg) [5] To improve efficiency of printing
    27 Penicillin [5] To kill bacteria
    28 Fessenden oscillator [5] To detect underwater objects
    29 Aniline violet dyeing technique [5] By accident
    30 Porcelain glazing technology [5] By accident
    31 Fiberglass [5] To make glass threads
    32 Plastics [5] By accident
    33 Maxim's machine gun [5] To load the bullet with the force of the gun after firing
    34 Radiotelegraph Communication (Marconi) [5] To send a telegram by wireless
    35 Radar (Watson Watt) [5] By accident
    36 Aspirin(Felix Hoffmann) [5] To relieve his father's pain
    37 Plane [5] To fly like a bird
    38 Transistor [5] To overcome the limitations of the vacuum tube
    39 Google [6] To improve efficiency of finding information in the Internet
    40 The internet [6] To share the computing resources
    41 WWW [6] To connect information from different computers
    42 Computer [6] To compute automatically
    43 Integrated circuit [6] To reduce the size of the circuit
    44 Disinfection of drinking water [7] To effectively curb waterborne diseases
    45 Ice market [7] To explore new market
    46 Artificial ice making technology [7] To make ice cubes to help patients cool down
    47 Freeze preservation technology [7] To keep the taste of food
    48 Three-point suture [19] To achieve vascular suture?
    49 Artemisinin (Tu Youyou) [20] To treat malaria
    50 Apgar Score [21] To reduce neonatal mortality effectively
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  • [1] J. KyereJ.M. BreinerS.S. Harkness and C.C. Johnson, What is STEM? A discussion about conceptions of STEM in education and partnerships, School Science and Mathematics, 112 (2012), 3-11. 
    [2] Schumpeter, J., Backhaus, U. (2003) The Theory of Economic Development. In: Backhaus J. (eds) Joseph Alois Schumpeter. The European Heritage in Economics and the Social Sciences, vol 1. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/0-306-48082-4_3
    [3] Balmer, R.T. (2010) Modern Engineering Thermodynamics. Academic Press.
    [4] Chisholm, H. (1911) Encyclopedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature, and General Information. Cambridge University Press. 1911: 173
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    [12] L. Huang and X. Pei, Thoughts on STEM Education in the Perspective of Scientific Rationalism:Knowledge Consilience, International and Comparative Education, 6 (2018), 23-33. 
    [13] Yang, K., Dou, L., Li, B., Gong, P. (2020) The Dilemma of STEM Education and the Way out of It. Modern Distance Education Re-search. 32
    [14] S. Chen, Phenomenon Teaching: A New Mode of Educational Reform of Finland in 2016, Education and Teaching Research, 30 (2016), 13-22. 
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    [16] National Core Curriculum for Basic Education (2014) National Board of Education. Finland.
    [17] L. Sikma and M. Osborne, Conflicts in developing an elementary STEM magnet school, Theory into Practice, 53 (2014), 4-10. 
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    [19] MLA style: Alexis Carrel Biographical. Nobel Prize.org. Available from: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/1912/carrel/biographical/.
    [20] MLA style: Tu Youyou Biographical. Nobel Prize.org. Available from: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/1912/carrel/biographical/.
    [21] Virginia Apgar. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available from: https://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/spotlight/cp/feature/biographical/.
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