STEM Education in Rhode Island

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STEM Education in Rhode Island

Information on the importance of STEM Education for ALL students in Rhode Island, including methods of STEM integration and details on STEM initiatives in Rhode Island Pre-K through 12 schools.

RIDE is committed to increasing access to high quality STEM educational opportunities for all students. An understanding of STEM concepts and development of STEM-related skills is needed to prepare future generations to make informed choices and increase the number of qualified candidates for careers in Rhode Island’s growing STEM industries.

Stay Informed of STEM Opportunities!


The Rhode Island Department of Education will be collaborating with the RI STEAM Center to celebrate STEAM Month 2023 in November! The purpose of RI STEAM Month is to celebrate opportunities that RI schools offer students in STEAM areas as well as highlight the importance of learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art+Design, and Mathematics areas.


Family Events for STEAM Month

STEAM Month provides a great opportunity for families to connect with local organizations that offer experiential STEAM learning.  We invite families to join our community organizations to celebrate STEAM Month with a family outing.  Events take place a locations around the state throughout the month of November.  You can download the Family Event Calendar  to get all the details!


2023 RI STEAM Educator Awards 

The Rhode Island STEAM Center and the Rhode Island Department of Education will be recognizing recognize one elementary (Grades PK-5) educator, one middle level (Grades 6-8) educator, and one high school (Grades 9-12) educator who have demonstrated success in designing and facilitating student-centered Integrated STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts+design, Mathematics) learning that engages the next generation of innovative thinkers.

Applicants are full-time PK-12 teachers, employed in a public school in Rhode Island, with at least 3 years of experience teaching. Each awardee will receive a $1000 classroom grant and $500  from RI Energy

Full Details and Criteria can be Found HERE!

Awardees will be announced on November 30th!

STEM student
Photo by Allison Shelly/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

What is Integrated STEM?

  • STEM education integrates knowledge and skills from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to engage students in collaborative, problem-based learning experiences that are relevant to their lives.
  • Content-specific knowledge and skills acquired in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics courses are the foundation of STEM education. Conceptual understanding in these areas is deepened by applying the knowledge and skills to think critically and solve problems through integrated STEM activities.
  • STEM education can be supported by the principles of art and design, becoming STEAM education to leverage creative thinking. STEAM education bridges the arts with technical subjects, engaging more students.

Why is STEM Education Needed?

  • STEM education integrates knowledge and skills from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to engage students in collaborative, problem-based learning experiences that are relevant to their lives.
  • Content-specific knowledge and skills acquired in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics courses are the foundation of STEM education. Conceptual understanding in these areas is deepened by applying the knowledge and skills to think critically and solve problems through integrated STEM activities.
  • STEM education can be supported by the principles of art and design, becoming STEAM education to leverage creative thinking. STEAM education bridges the arts with technical subjects, engaging more students.


  • My PBLWorks from Buck Institute: To help schools and districts visualize high-quality PBL in the classroom, the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) has videos showcasing PBL projects from K–12 schools nationwide, including several STEM-themed projects. The projects employ BIE’s research-based Gold Standard PBL model, which emphasizes student learning goals and the incorporation of Essential Project Design Elements (a challenging problem, sustained inquiry, reflection, critique and revision, student voice and choice, and a public product). Teachers can view videos of successful PBL projects that feature teacher interviews and actual classroom footage and highlight projects from a range of grade levels, settings, and subject areas, including STEM.
  • National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP): The NGCP brings together organizations throughout the United States that are committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The goals of NGCP are maximize access to shared resources within projects, and with public and private sector organizations and institutions interested in expanding girls’ participation in STEM, strengthen capacity of existing and evolving projects by sharing exemplary practice research and program models, outcomes, and products, and use the leverage of a network and the collaboration of individual girl-serving STEM programs to create the tipping point for gender equity in STEM.
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Resources for STEM Education: NSF research and development projects have produced a rich array of principles, materials,and practitioner insights that are helpful guides to improved preparation and professional development of STEM teachers. The following examples illustrate the range of ideas and products available from that work.
  • Spark101: Students learn how real challenges are addressed in business, government, nonprofits, and academic institutions. Professionals from our employer partners guide them to develop solutions and understand the careers. Spark 101 is a program of the 114th Partnership, a national non-profit organization that ensures productive partnerships between educators and employers that connect classwork to professional pathways so that all students graduate from school prepared for college and career.
  • Stairway to STEM: Stairway to STEM is an online resource for autistic students, their parents, and post-secondary STEM instructors. Our mission is to help autistic students realize their capacity for success as they transition to college environments and beyond. We support student confidence, resiliency, and self-advocacy. The goal of the project is to produce tools and events designed to build awareness of academic and employer-based STEM programs among autistic individuals as well as promote existing evidence-based practices to an expanded community of educational institutions, autistic students, and their families and employers.
  • Start Engineering: The goal of Start Engineering is to inspire and engage children from elementary school through high school about engineering. Books and learning resources aim to teach children about the crucial role engineering plays in their lives. They work to engage the larger community of people from academic institutions, companies, foundations, and non-profits working to get kids excited about engineering.
  • STEAM at Work 4 Kids: A collection of profiles of professionals in STEAM fields. Each one includes background and links to videos and resources that are related to the person’s field. This is regularly updated.
  • STEMWorks at WestEd: STEMworks is a searchable online honor roll of high-quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs. STEMworks helps companies, states, and individuals make smart investments in their communities by evaluating and cataloging programs that meet rigorous and results-driven design principles.
  • STEM Pathway Endorsement Council Designation certifies that a student has accomplished deep learning in a chosen area of interest and is prepared for employment or further education in a career path. To earn a Pathway Endorsement, students must successfully complete coursework, work-based learning, and application of skills demonstrated through the performance-based diploma system (i.e. senior exhibition, capstone project, etc.). More information on pathway endorsements is posted on RIDE's Diploma System page.
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) is designed for individuals who are interested in entering the workforce and/or preparing for careers and who want to take advantage of post-secondary education and/or training opportunities. Options include a choice of schools, career paths, work-based learning experiences and extracurricular activities, all leading to opportunities for individual advancement and acceleration. There are a wide variety of STEM-related CTE programs offered in Rhode Island, such as Engineering, Biomedical Science, Green Technology, Computer IT, Forensic Science, among others. For more information, check out RIDE's CTE page.
  • Computer Science for Rhode Island (CS4RI) is a comprehensive statewide computer science initiative. CS4RI combines national initiatives with local expertise to increase and broaden participation in quality computer science education and professional development to ensure that CS learning opportunities and access are available to all students. In 2020, RIDE awarded Computer Science for Rhode Island (CS4RI) High School grants to expand computer science pathways in Rhode Island. The CS4RI grants, supported through a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, will provide $20,000 each to 20 high schools, as well as professional development for teachers and opportunities for additional computer science coursework for students.
  • The PrepareRI Internship Program is a “work-based learning experience” for public high school students who have completed their junior year in high school and are planning for college or a career upon graduation from high school. Work-based learning helps student link learning with classroom instruction, leads to high graduation rates, gives students ownership of their learning and career exploration and helps students develop critical soft skills. The PrepareRI Internship Program provides students opportunities to explore a number of STEM careers via workplace learning experiences through paid summer internships. Past interns have been placed in STEM-related companies such as FM Global, Amgen, AstroNova, and others.
  • Middle School Career Exploration is offered through JA Inspire. JA Inspire is a coalition of educators and industry leaders, led by Junior Achievement of Rhode Island. All students participate in classroom curriculum before and after the event, a Career Exploration Fair, which features careers and education programs that are available, many in STEM fields. The program provides extra resources to help create a pathway to high school, college, or career.
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLCs) are federally funded, high quality after-school and summer programs that provide children and teens with safe places to try new activities, develop new skills, have fun, and learn. They provide students with academic support, enrichment and school engagement. They complement students' regular academic program by providing enrichment activities in areas that grow students’ STEM potential. Enrichment includes hands-on science activities, math clubs, internships, job shadowing, and leadership development.
  • The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science & Mathematics Teaching (PAEMST) is awarded annually to mathematics and science teachers. Rhode Island Mathematics and Science educator applicants are selected to be finalists based on classroom performance, their effect on students, and their personal and professional goals. These finalists are screened at the national level to determine one awardee in each discipline for each state. This prestigious national awards program is intended to increase status and rewards for demonstrated professionalism, including leadership, in the areas of mathematics and science teaching so that individuals of high quality will be encouraged to enter and remain in the field of teaching. The program is organized and funded by the Executive Office of the President of the United States, nomination and application details can be found on the PAEMST website.
  • The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF) Program provides a unique opportunity for accomplished K-12 educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to serve in the national education arena. Fellows spend eleven months working in Federal agencies or in U.S. Congressional offices, applying their extensive knowledge and classroom experiences to national education program and/or education policy efforts. At the end of the Fellowship, educators are prepared to return home, equipped with access to a national network of education leaders and programs, a better understanding of the challenges and possibilities in STEM education, and a renewed passion for teaching, ready to make significant contributions to their schools and school districts. More information and application can be found on the Fellowship website.
  • STEM Connector: STEMconnector is a professional services firm committed to increasing the number of STEM-ready (Science Technology Engineering Math) workers in the global talent pool. They provide a platform to engage leaders in both public and private sectors who collectively are re-envisioning the workforce. Working with pioneering leaders across over 200 organizations, their overall goal is to inform, stimulate and connect leaders with a passion for and vested interest in growing a STEM-ready workforce.
  • STEM4Collaboration: A research-based document authored by Advance CTE, Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics, Council of State Science Supervisors, and International Technology and Engineering Educators Association in 2018. This document identifies and examines the three main principles to drive STEM education.
  • English Learners in STEM Subjects: Transforming Classrooms, Schools, and Lives (2018) was published by the National Academies Press to address the best practices to include and support English Learners as they are learning STEM concepts. This publication includes discussion of factors that determine access to STEM classes, the roles of cultural connections and language acquisition within STEM instruction, effective instructional strategies, connecting with families and communities, the need for educator preparation and in-service professional development, assessing STEM learning, and building capacity to transform STEM learning for English Learners. Free pdf download available.