Understanding K-12 STEM education

a framework for developing STEM literacy

Garry Falloon*, Maria Hatzigianni, Matt Bower, Anne Forbes, Michael Stevenson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In recent years, arguments have signalled the value of STEM education for building discipline knowledge and an array of capabilities, skills and dispositions, aligned with the needs of young people functioning productively and ethically in dynamic, complex and challenging future work, social and political environments. This combination has been termed STEM literacy and positioned as a desired outcome from STEM education programs. However, knowledge is limited on ways this can be developed in K-12 schools. This article introduces a framework that conceptualises the integrated nature of the characteristics of STEM education. It identifies and maps key characteristics of STEM education, recognising different entry points, curriculum designs and pedagogical strategies for school programs. The framework provides practical guidance for planning and implementing STEM education in schools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369–385
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Science Education and Technology
Issue number3
Early online date26 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020



  • STEM
  • interdisciplinary
  • integrated
  • discipline
  • STEM literacy
  • school
  • K-12

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