K-5 STEM: These simple ideas are helping our teachers see the relevance of STEM discussions and connections in their classrooms.
(Elaine Raby is an educator with 13 years teaching experience in the elementary classroom and has been a content developer in the areas of math, reading, and science for the past ten years. She is a content specialist on the Early Learning team at NWEA)
Reflection– Successful STEM educators reflect on what is already present in the classroom. One of the ways teachers are successfully becoming STEM educators is by recognizing that sometimes small, focused tweaks are what is needed to lessons, activities, and classroom questioning techniques.
Modification– Modifying questioning to include words like design, model, and experiment is one example of a small change that can lead to an environment that supports and encourages STEM learning. Primary grade classrooms are rich with opportunities to investigate and explore.
Engagement– The most important component of a successful STEM lesson is to begin with a rich task; one that students will be engaged in and that has a problem for them to solve. An inquiry-driven lesson that sparks student curiosity is one that will provide the best learning opportunity.
Collaboration– Teachers working together and sharing ideas through open source channels like Pinterest, where a search for the word STEM returns a plethora of ideas and activities, has become increasingly popular.