How to Build Effective STEM Classes With Little-to-No Experience
In recent years, the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) track has taken the education industry by storm, acting as the poster child for the world’s future innovators, movers, and shakers. Regarded by most as the stepping stone for the next Albert Einstein or Charles Babbage, the STEM track has achieved an icon-like status for providing opportunities for children to become so much more.
Every teacher in schools with STEM programs, regardless of experience or position, is tasked with creating STEM classes in their respective schools to usher in a new age of learning. In the midst of pursuing greater opportunities for education, however, a greater problem arises: the majority of teachers designing STEM classes are doing so with insufficient knowledge or support.
Oftentimes, most people forget that the STEM track is a fairly new introduction in the world of education, causing even more problems along the way for educators that are pressured into creating quality classes. First-time STEM educators continue to face the task of developing lesson plans and experiences that are in the calibre of time-bound professional work. As the demand for STEM classes continues to rise, the majority of sudden STEM teachers face an all-important question: what can be done to ensure class quality without the necessary experience?
A few tips to follow
Should you find yourself standing in front of the STEM gun with no other choice but to adhere to the task at hand, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
STEM Teacher Tip #1: Integrate all four STEM subjects
Generally, STEM subjects aren’t taught as other classes are. Many are subject to various interpretations and executions according to a wide variety of needs and capabilities. Every STEM teacher is entrusted with the task of applying science, technology, engineering, and math in the most efficient way possible to provide conducive opportunities for learning. The incorporation of the four STEM subjects aids in producing meaningful learning experiences with real-world applications for students to get them on the right track. It’s important to note that your application of the four STEM subjects should be coupled with opportunities to apply what your students learned in class.
STEM Teacher Tip #2: Apply the engineering design process (EDP)
The engineering design process entails the integration of math, science, and technology to achieve a sense of synergism. Every part of the EDP is merged together to solve STEM-related problems and capitalize on opportunities for innovation.
When the EDP is applied, children learn to conduct research, define problems, develop multiple solutions, develop prototypes, test, evaluate, and redesign. Just think of it as a more elaborate scientific method that’s geared to real-world application!
STEM Teacher Tip #3: Create problem-solving opportunities
Realistically speaking, the task of getting students to work together as a productive team to solve various real-world problems and tackle engineering challenges is never going to be easy. Fortunately, getting everyone to work together is possible with constant reinforcement and a consistent stream of team activities.
Creating valuable high-quality opportunities for children to learn with STEM classes presents a wide array of challenges, especially considering the responsibility of preparing them for the real world. With these three tips, however, it will be much easier to navigate the challenges of creating effective STEM classes even with less-than-desirable experience.
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