GOT STEM? A blog series

STEM. The hot new 'word' in education. Do you use STEM? Does your school?
I have been at a STEM school for the past 2 years. Last year, we had the honor of completing the process and becoming the first STEM certified elementary school in the state of Florida. 

It has been an interesting journey filled with learning and growth. This is the first in a series of posts as I share my knowledge and answer your questions on STEM. I am by no means an expert, but I will definitely be honest on the ups and downs and the journey I've been on. 

This week's focus is on the What....

First, let's start with what is STEM. More than likely (unless you have been living under a rock) you already know it is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. There are variations- STEAM (adds art into it) and STREAM (which is what my school utilizes) adds reading/writing and art. There has been a major interest and push for STEM education in the past couple of years to prepare today's child for the world and jobs of tomorrow.  It isn't only about preparing students for jobs that focus in math/science/engineering, but it's creating students that can collaborate/critically think/problem solve. 
Young students are natural scientists and engineers, so the STEM process can, and does, work quite easily for most students. 

STEM curriculum has many benefits:
-Highly engaging
-FUN.... yes I said the F word. These are still kids. They need to have fun while learning!...Heck, I need to have fun while teaching! ;)
-Full of natural learning opportunities
-It allows students to connect and apply concepts leaned to everyday experiences
-Students retain the knowledge, gain confidence, build self-directions, and learn to work both cooperatively and independently.

Things to keep in mind as the teacher:
-Be enthusiastic. This is a new challenge for you as well, and is more than likely taking you out of your comfort zone. Embrace it. Be enthusiastic. Have fun!
-Be flexible. Things aren't going to go as planned. (That's the purpose of STEM). 
-Get in there with them. Learn by doing, just like them. Have them talk things through with you (but remember you are only there for guidance and to ask questions). Cheer them on. And yes, sometimes, be the referee.

So, a quick introduction to STEM for you this week. Next week I will discuss the How? I would also love to answer any questions you have about STEM, so leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer them next week. 

teach. create. love life.

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