I know you have been hearing about it for some time, or maybe you have tried a STEM project in your classroom before, but STEM is all the rage and it is here to stay for a very good reason. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. I am going to share some Simple Steps on How to Implement STEM in Your Classroom.
So what is all the hype about? This thoughtful approach to learning the different curriculum has many benefits to students.
- Children who learn STEM concepts throughout their educational journey are more prepared for professional expectations in this technology heavy world.
- STEM education builds resilience, problem solving skills and growth mindset. Throughout the process students will see the benefits of failure and how it helps their approaches and creativity to develop.
- STEM education teaches real world skills. Learning a new skill and being able to apply it immediately in a variety of scenarios is extremely motivating to students.
- STEM education promotes teamwork and brings it to a whole new level. Kids with different abilities, unique backgrounds and experiences all come together and have valuable contributions.
So… maybe you’re still a bit scared. Maybe it seems overwhelming, chaotic and unorganized… Well, I got past all that and I know you can too! Prepare yourself to be involved in what could be one of your favorite teaching experiences as an educator. STEM lessons have brought my students, own children and I so much joy! Have an open mind and be flexible with how things will go. It might feel loud, and it can get messy but just listen in to their conversations and watch their creativity in full swing. It is so worth it!
Ok so here are Simple Steps on How to Implement STEM in Your Classroom
Make sure to have some ground rules. These are some that I like to use…
- Everyone gets to share and try out ideas. Work as a team.
- Have growth mindset, making mistakes is how we learn and stretch our creativity.
- Limit the amount of each material kiddos can take so there is enough to go around or have a process of fair selection.
- Teams that use materials inappropriately might lose them, etc.
- Provide helpful and positive feedback to each other.
- Have fun!
Step 2: Collect a Variety of Materials
I am constantly collecting things and have them in a bin in my classroom and home for my own kids. I know look at recyclables and containers in a new way and so do my kids and students. (Side note.. that’s a win for the environment)
I also have a parent/guardian letters and material list that I send home to help round up material donations from my families. I typically send these home a week in advance or more if you want. You will be surprised at the fun things that come in! I have a different letter for each STEM unit I do even though many materials are the same.
Another one of my Simple Steps on How to Implement STEM in Your Classroom is to be organized. I set up my STEM components like centers. Here’s how I typically do it:
- TEMPLATES- STEM planning worksheets. This has my students brainstorm different ideas on how to solve the problem. As well as list materials they might need.
- TEACHER- After students have completed their planning worksheet they come to me and explain their idea. This is a perfect time to implement some discussion style questions with them.
- MATERIALS- After they have had their initial plans looked over, I send them to the materials center. I have like-materials separated in bins (copy paper lids work great) Then they begin building in their designated team areas.
- REFLECTION- Once they have gone through the engineering process and have come up with a final design they go to the reflection center to grab the last template to reflect on the process.
I hope these Simple Steps on How to Implement STEM in Your Classroom helps you make the leap or gives you ideas on how to modify your approach. Most importantly remember to have fun and get ready to watch those nuggets get creative!
Want to learn more about my specific STEM Units? Read my blog post about my “How to Catch a Turkey STEM”, check out my ultimate STEM Bundle or my NEW Digital STEM, and definitely don’t miss out on these FREE STEM Posters to help support your learners.
(Click on the images below to check them out!)
Have a great week friends and always feel free to reach out with questions or ideas you want to share!