Tips to Add STEM into Your Classroom
When schools begin to integrate STEM into the classrooms, teachers naturally wonder — how will I accomplish that? Here are a few tips to address that simple, yet compelling question.
- Ask “what” not “why” questions. If you ask questions like, “Why is the sky blue?” or “Why do leaves fall off the trees?” you are implying there is a right answer. And, if your students do not know that answer, their confidence wanes, as does their interest. By asking “what” questions, you are leading them to observe something and then describe it in words, drawings, or actions. They can communicate what they see or feel, which increases their confidence while building early STEM skills of inquiry, critical thinking, observation, and communication. Ask questions like, “What is happening to the leaves?”
- Introduce vocabulary to help students begin to understand STEM–related words associated with scientific inquiry. When young learners are in different classroom stations like block play, for instance, use words such as “design,” or “construct.” At the sand and water table, mention & “experiment,” “test,” and “observe,” to help students understand those words by hands–on learning what they mean. Use terminology that links what they are doing with how they are learning. By starting to use those words with early learners, the next time they hear them, those words will be more familiar and will reinforce prior exposure. When relevant, carefully craft these additional words into your lesson: analyze, collaborate, conclusions, evidence, data, inference, innovation, predict, and solve.
- Classroom set up is important. Look around your classroom. Are there ways to reconfigure desks for different types of activities? STEM learning often centers on hands–on activities in small groups, and having a flexible environment is key. This encourages teamwork and communication in addition to the work of the actual project. Can students desks be easily moved into groups so that they are all facing each other with workspace in the middle? Or do you have higher tables (or height adjustable tables) for groups to stand and actively participate in an experiment or activity?
- Technology is a necessary component in 21st century learning. Do you have a way to access the internet? Do you have equipment for students to present their projects or solutions? Students can use websites to gather data and research topics. Slideshow programs and document cameras help students develop skills to present their projects, conclusions, or solutions — much like they would in a business meeting as adults. Check out Twist, Zoomy and Luna for effective classroom technology for you and your students to use.
- Give kids a challenge. Early learners are naturally curious. They like to investigate with their hands and their minds follow right along. Pose questions to them. During what would otherwise be open–ended play, challenge them with an idea so they have to figure out solutions. They can work together to set up trials, test them out, find what works best — and conclude why it works best! Sand and water tables are great for open-ended challenges. So is our Tumble Trax — how fast can you make the marble descend using 5 runs of track?
About Learning Resources
By unleashing their imaginations, children learn problem solving and practice real–life skills, helping them grow up to be creative thinkers. At Learning Resources® our mission is to provide high-quality and innovative products that provide fun and engaging learning opportunities for children as they explore, discover their world and develop their creative side. Our award–winning educational toys, learning toys, discovery toys, and teaching tools are designed by educators and have been beloved by teachers, parents and children for over 30 years.
Give the little learners in your life more than a toy. Learning Resources toys are designed to foster the development of key skills for children of all ages. Our extensive selection of learning toys & games is perfect for promoting hand–eye coordination, early numeracy skills, letter recognition, critical thinking and imaginative play.
Learning Resources is an international company headquartered in Vernon Hills, IL.
- English Language Arts
- Geography/Social Studies
- Early Childhood
- Imaginative & Role Play
- Discovery & Exploration
- Games & Puzzles
- Critical Thinking
- English Language Arts
- Classroom Kits
- Skill Development
- Learning Styles
- Autism Spectrum
- Teacher Resources
For Your Classroom
- Classroom Activities
Tips for Your Classroom
- 10 Tips for Making Science Cross-Curricular
- 10 Tips for Using Reading Games
- 10 Tips to Organize Classroom for maximum Efficiency
- 5 Ways to Liven Up Student Response
- Overcoming Common Core Fears
- Demystifying Informational Text
- Cross-Curricular Math Tips that Rock
- Start the Year Off Right
- Build a Strong and Successful Common Core Classroom
- Tips and Tools to Help Your Students
- Tips to Add STEM into your Classroom
- Strategies to Support the Autism Spectrum in Your Classroom
- Starting Out With Math Manipulatives
- Setting Up for Classroom Success
- 6 Tips to Support Self Esteem in your Students
- 11 Tips for Spelling Success
- STEMify Your Speech. STEMify Your Class!
- Simple Technology Activities
Learning At Home
- Ready, Set, Learn!
- Bored No More
- Making the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences
- Getting Involved
- Getting Your Child Ready For School
- Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits
- Traveling with Kids?
- Cool Summer Learning
- Progress Check
- The Power of Imaginative Play
- Teacher Gifts that Keep Giving
- The True Value of a Toy
- Personality Presents
- 10 Tips to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions Strong All Year Long
- Making Memories
- Family Game Night
- Discover STEM
- Top 10 Product Picks for Kids with Autism
- Top Picks for Summer Learning for Kids with Special Needs
- Outdoor Learning, Outdoor Fun
- Plan for Summer Learning
- Tips to Help Kids Start the School Year Strong
- 5 Questions to Ask at Open House
- Halloween Treats
- Science Fairs: Simple Steps to Success
- Halloween Costumes
- Halloween Party – Mad Scientist Mania
- Parent-Teacher Conference: 7 Questions Moms & Dads Need To Ask
- The Present Personalizer: A Guide to Picking Gifts By Personality
- Special Holidays, Special Needs: 10 Tips for Moms!
- Thinking About Critical Thinking
- Autism in the Classroom
- Tips for Intervention's "First Responders"
- Decorating Your Classroom
- Using Manipulatives in Reading Intervention
- Help ELLs See the Big Picture
- Research on the Benefits of Manipulatives
- Embrace Technology for Assessment
- Blaze New Paths to Understanding
- What is STEM?
- Product Information
- Product Videos
- Bonus Content
- Activity and Coloring Pages