The quote above, in my opinion, encompasses a core value in STEM! STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is about using prior-knowledge to make sense of the world. It involves questioning what you already know to discover and learn more!
In the article “Improving STEM program quality in out-of-school time: Tool development and validation” from the Journal of Science Education, I learned how important having STEM in and out of the classroom. Plus, how to implement it.
The article highlights some important thing that is needed to have a successful and meaningful STEM program. Below I will list and describe the important aspects needed for success in STEM:
- Organization – Having organized and planned activities that are appropriate for the age group. Plus, having a teacher that is able to adapt to changes in the class.
- Materials – Having materials that will engage students. These materials should go along with the learning goals.
- Space Utilization – Utilizing the space given to make it easy to transition from one activity to the next.
- Participation – Participation is a way to keep the students engaged in the learning while allowing the teacher to assess the progress of the students.
- Purposeful Activities – Having purposeful activities are activities that create inquiry and questioning. Students should be able to understand the goals of the activity so that they know where the learning is going.
- Engagement with STEM – Student engagement with STEM will help students to “construct their understanding of STEM content.”
- STEM Content Learning – Learning relevant and accurate content about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to help students understand the world around them.
- Inquiry – Inquiry should be used to help students question, work through problems, collect data, etc. This should be done on a deeper level to help students create a better understanding of the material.
- Reflection – Both teachers and students should reflect on the STEM content they learned and how they applied it in real practice. It is a great way to make connections and dive deeper into the content.
- Relationships – There should be a positive relationship between students and the teacher and also between the students. This helps create a successful learning environment where everyone feels comfortable asking questions.
- Relevance – Having relevant STEM activities that are meaningful to the students’ lives and their personal experiences. This helps students connect to what they are doing and learning.
- Youth Voice – Students should feel that they have a voice in the classroom to help them express their ideas, concerns, opinions, and questions.
Implementing the points listed above will help create a classroom where students feel comfortable learning new things in STEM. They will be able to question their prior-knowledge to grow their understanding.
It is also important to encourage and possibly create an outside STEM program that can dive deeper into STEM concepts. If this is not possible, it is still important to create meaningful STEM activities in the classroom that students can relate to their lives and past experiences. These activities and experiences can help inspire students to go into the STEM fields. Who knows, maybe one of your students will be inspired to discover something the world did not understand before.
I would encourage you to read the article used in this blog post to learn more about adding STEM into students lives.
Shah, A. M., Wylie, C., Gitomer, D., & Noam, G. (2018, January 09). Improving STEM program quality in out‐of‐school‐time: Tool development and validation. Retrieved February 09, 2018, from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/sce.21327/full