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Strategies to keep kids engaged in STEM

Friday, July 3, 2020 11:24:44 AM America/New_York

One of the most effective instructional approaches toward the implementation of STEM in grade-level courses is through project-based learning (PBL). In this approach, instruction occurs through student-centered investigations focused on a specific topic driven by a set of objectives, culminating in a broadly-defined product or technique. Projects foster an environment of discussion, creativity, problem-solving, inquiry, modeling, and testing, and are applicable to students in all grade levels and subjects, but particularly within the STEM arena.

We recommend you to read: Why learn to code?

So, if you’re entering the STEM world, you might want to take these things into account.

  • The way you teach and facilitate STEM learning is vital. We need to create authentic classrooms for today’s students. 
  • STEM subjects must be integrated. A colleague recently told me about a group of college students who were assigned to look at some malfunctioning wind turbines and suggest solutions. These students had the math and science background they needed but were unable to combine and apply these subjects to solve the problem. That’s not surprising since most schools were set up to teach subjects as totally separate bodies of knowledge. Education innovators call for abandoning subject area silos. Instead, teachers of all subjects would work together to help students understand how language arts, technology, science, mathematics, communication, engineering, and other subject areas interact in real life.
  • Art plays an important role in STEM. Art requires a special mention since it’s often the first program to be cut during a financial crisis; yet, art is one of the most valuable thinking tools we have. Do you want to explain something to students? Draw them a picture. Want the class to understand something? Sketch or illustrate it. Want to see what type of device teams might construct as a solution for a problem? Ask them to sketch the design. Want to market something? Apply art design principles and make it attractive. Feeling down? Listen to upbeat music. Need inspiration? Listen to a powerful symphony. Nothing we do in life is devoid of art. If it sounds like I’m getting off the STEM track in making this stand on behalf of arts in education, then let me put it this way. STEM cannot exist in a vacuum. STEM must exist within a forward-thinking 21st century curriculum – an inclusive curriculum that values the arts.
  • All kids need STEM opportunities. Disadvantaged students and minorities face battles on many fronts, and access to STEM classes should not be one of them. 
  • Evaluate progress regularly. If you want your STEM classes to be effective, just keep asking (and answering) two questions: Is this STEM lesson working? How do I know? If you are fortunate enough to be working with a STEM professional learning community (PLC), you are in the best of all professional learning worlds. You have a way to plan, design, study and assess the impact of STEM on your students in collaboration with colleagues.

We recommend you to read: Why is STEM education so important for kids?

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Posted in News By

Edwin Tirado