Sunday, March 1, 2015

Engaging Young Learners through STEM

STEM and/or STEAM seem to be the popular trends in schools now!  It was actually a little over a year and a half ago that several awesome colleagues from my school presented our whole staff with the term STEM.  Sure I had been doing aspects of STEM for many years in my classroom, but I loved the way that the whole STEM approach pulled everything together and gave opportunities for students to problem-solve, collaborate, create, and more in an engaging, structured, meaningful way!  Since learning more about it, I've been trying to incorporate it on a more regular basis with my second graders...and they LOVE it!

As a grade level team we immediately saw the value in STEM, and we found many free STEM lessons and activities on-line, but we knew that we would need to get our hands on a lot of supplies!  So, we built a STEM lab in our workroom, through donations of supplies from our classroom families!  Here's a FREEBIE copy of a sample STEM supply list to give you an idea of how to start building up your supplies at school too!

As a team, we then decided to host a STEM Day last year, to introduce the process to our students and parents!  Each teacher took on planning 1 STEM project, and our classes traveled from room to room throughout the day to participate in 4 different projects!  The kids ENJOYED every minute!

This year, my team has taken on STEM through planning together and participating in our own classrooms independently.  My class has already worked on a Georgia Regions and Settlement STEM, marshmallow shooters STEM, and a few other projects.  However, my kids and I agree, that our favorite STEM project thus far has been creating Marble Tracks to demonstrate what we learned about force & motion!  My kids truly blew me away with their designs this year and as a teacher, I can't think of a better victory than a collective "NOOOOOO!", when telling a class they need to stop learning, working, and talking to go to recess!  Another reason I love this particular STEM project, is that you probably have almost everything on hand to put this into place immediately! Check out the pictures of our STEM Tracks below!

If you are at all thinking about incorporating STEM into your classroom--DO IT!  Take on one small STEM project and get it into the hands of your kids!  They will grow, learn, and be engaged and you will reap the rewards of having planned a truly "hands-on" experience for your kids! 

Here's the link to my How Slow Can You Go?  Marble Track STEM project in my TPT Store!

Hootfully Yours,


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