STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math has become a buzzword in education. It used to be that when people thought STEM, they thought high school....or at least middle school. But STEM can happen in primary classrooms and it's so important, too! Here's why you should be building STEM into your primary classroom:
1. Children are born scientists. They experiment, play, & work to learn more about their environment. Research shows, however, that children lose that excitement and curiosity by 4th grade. STEM activities in primary classrooms help keep that curiosity and enthusiasm alive.
2. It opens doors for children later in life. When they continue that natural drive to experiment, children are more likely to retain and acquire skills that will enable them to move into STEM careers.
3. Flexible thinking and creative problem solving is strengthened through involvement in STEM activities in the classroom.
4. STEM activities allow for meaningful connections across disciplines: projects naturally connect multiple subjects.
5. Increased ENGAGEMENT!
We've done several STEM activities in my 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Grade Mulit-age classroom. I love how excited my kidlettes get as they work through a problem....make a plan...try it out....adjust their thinking. And they are so excited to SHARE! Here are a few of the activities we've done:
Save Fred! Given just three paper clips, teams have to work together to get 'Fred', a gummy worm, into his little gummy lifesaver life vest. No hands allowed. Without any guidance at all from adults....each group was able to complete the task. There was lots of great problem solving, reflecting & changing plans, and teamwork going on during this fun activity!
We built towers using just marshmallows and spaghetti noodles.
Yesterday, we built catapults using wooden craft sticks and launched candy hearts. Super engaged....and so much learning going on!
We found the plans for this project on Scholastic. They're a FREE download! Just click the pic below to go check them out for yourself!
Interested in finding more terrific STEM project ideas? I've got a whole pin board where I've been collecting them....click the graphic below, stop by, see what interests you, and pin away!