The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to STEM

Howdy there you scientific overachiever!You are reading this post, which means you are like me and don’t even know where to begin with this STEM business. You know it’s important, and you care about your students’ success, so you want to use STEM in your classroom. There’s only one issue, you have no idea how to even introduce STEM in your classroom. Here it is, made super simple for ya!Start with STEM ConceptsThe most basic idea surrounding STEM is building. Begin with just that. Have your students build and design things. The sky is the limit. They can dream and imagine all sorts of things. After they have drawn their designs, have them create using legos, building blocks, trash, whatever you’d like. Here are some examples from Pam’s kiddos:

stem-blog-post-1Top left, a girl is creating a ceiling for her house.  Top middle, the boy is building a skyscraper with a catwalk.  Top right, a boy is designing a helicopter.  At the bottom, this boy is creating an entire theme park!

As you can see, most of the design details here are theoretical.  The key is getting students to think both creatively and strategically.Incorporate Realistic ElementsSome of Pam’s students created machines, for lack of a better term, that had functional purposes. See below:
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Left is a boy who wanted the ball to roll down the ramp and hit the top block.  The middle student rolled the cylinder down the ramp to hit the two blocks below. Right picture is Student #1 moving the ramp closer to the block in order to succeed at hitting it. This is a great way to get their feet wet with STEM. You can even have them document each trial using our FREE scientific method interactive notebook by signing up for our newsletter below:Full STEM MadnessAfter you and your students are comfortable with STEM ideas, it’s time to put your knowledge to use. The two main components to a STEM project are a) building something, b) an objective to complete. Often it’s creating a bridge to hold something, or boat to carry something, etc. The STEM Laboratory has an entire site dedicated to STEM materials and ideas. She created straw bridges to hold a cup of 100 pennies. Have your students complete all steps of Scientific Method for each trial in the construction process: Observations, Hypothesis, Prediction, Experiment, Conclusion. For each new trial, use the conclusion from the previous trial as your observations. Students are building on their knowledge each time they build something new or tweak what they’ve created.Need an Easy Head Start?We’ve created an easy guide for your class to build straw bridges that includes an interactive notebook page for each step in the Scientific Method. Just sign up for our newsletter below and have it delivered to your inbox!

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STEM Interactive Notebook

That is it!Hope you enjoyed these basic STEM tips. Have an awesome week and we’ll see you later.

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