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Is STEM a Viable Alternative to a Gifted Program?

STEM Alternative

STEM has become an alternative in some U.S. school districts for gifted programming. In order to understand the reasoning behind this decision, our chat first focused on whether or not school districts should be required to offer a gifted program at all. Most people agreed that it was necessary, but also reasoned that the program must be funded and properly administered by knowledgeable faculty and staff.

Strong opinions were voiced concerning the need to provide all students what they need to meet their potential at any level. The concept of mastery-based education was introduced as an alternative for education which in part could eliminate the need for special academic programming. However, it was pointed out that STEM programs do little to address the social and emotional needs of gifted students.


‘Is STEM a Viable Alternative to a Gifted Program?’ Many present felt it was not an alternative but should be a component part. Some had good experiences when STEM programs were combined with Ability Grouping. The addition of ‘A’ (arts) was welcomed by all.

The discussion then turned to finding some positive attributes of STEM programming if it is the only option available. Here are some of the responses- It was noted that a well done STEM program can increase a student’s appreciation for mathematics; offer a challenging curriculum which gifted students need; and provide increased interaction with professionals through mentoring & job shadowing.  Enhancing STEM programs by integrating communication, verbalization and writing skills as well as incorporating passion-based and project-based learning would improve these programs for gifted students. A more collegiate atmosphere in STEM courses could stimulate creative thought. A full transcript may be found on our Storify Page.


Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:


Gifted Education: Full STEAM Ahead NJAGC Annual Conference 2015

Gifted Children and STEM 

STEM: Meeting a Critical Demand for Excellence

Statewide Public High Schools for Advanced Students

National Consortium of Secondary #STEM Schools

STEM – Its Importance and Promise for Gifted Students (pdf)

Cultivating Talent: Gifted Children and STEM

STEM Resources for Educating Gifted Students (pdf)

STEM and Gifted Education: Questions and Answers for Parents (pdf)

STEM ming the Tide: Colorado Response to National Crisis in STEM Education (pdf)

STEM is Gifted Education

Partner with STEM to Enhance Opportunities for Gifted Children

STEM to STEAM Education for Gifted Students (Amazon)

Relationship Between #STEM Education & #Gifted Education – Part 1

Relationship Between #STEM Education & #Gifted Education – Part 2

Putting Art in #STEM

Energizing Your Gifted Students’ Creative Thinking & Imagination (Amazon)

Why did ‘nerd’ become a dirty word?

K – 12 Summer Programs from The Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented

Google Science Fair 2015

Is Your Gifted Student Being Supported in Public School?

Cybraryman’s STEM/STEAM Page

STEM vs. STEAM: Why The “A” Makes All The Difference

Partners Create STEM Hubs in Ogden Schools

The Value of STEM Education Infographic


STEM Graphic: Courtesy Lisa Conrad

Photo: Courtesy of Pixabay.

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