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STEM as a "special"?? | Posted in STEM

Beth and everyone,
You might also post this question on the STEM, earlychildhood and elementary email lists/listservs run by NSTA. You will add to the conversation and reach even more experienced NSTA members. The responses come to email instead of being archived on a platform but the conversations are just as helpful.

My experience is with children ages 2.5-5 years old--also a wide developmental range : ) I haven't taught in your situation but over the years I've heard from others who have.
They say that organizing the materials for 5 classes a day of children in grades K-8 will make your teaching time more productive.
Think about what materials can be left out for subsequent classes. For example, having high shelves where I can quickly move trays of materials used by the 4/5s when the Twos come into the room is essential.
Think about projects that can involve multiple ages at different levels, such as gardening. While middle school students are examining cell structure using microscopes, Kindergarten students can be planting seeds. The NGSS Appendix E-Progressions Within the Next Generation Science Standards can help us make decisions about what to teach when.
In keeping with research that shows children learn over time, plan to teach a concept over weeks and months, not just one week, especially the K-2 students.

I hope your colleagues in the grade level classrooms can meet with you to see how you all can collaborate so science-technology-engineering-math doesn't become isolated from the rest of the children's learning.
Best wishes for a successful program!
Peggy Ashbrook


Margaret Ashbrook

STEM and Fairy Tales | Posted in STEM

I think that is a great way to integrate reading into STEM. Last year, my 2nd graders were learning about the five regions of Georgia. So I used a lesson plan from the Busy Librarian regarding the Fourth Little Pig. The problem was the students had to determine the best region for the 4th little pig (cousin to the Three Little Pigs). Students had to explain why they chose the region for their pig and build a house of various classroom materials (tissue paper, construction paper, clay, tape, foil, popsicle sticks, straws, etc.). The materials were priced and they could not go over their budget. One part of the room was set up with the materials called STEM Depot. The only constraint on the STEM activity was that they had to stay within their $20 budget. Afterwards, students built their houses as a group. The writing piece came in when they advertised their house via Power Point or some other multimedia. Then the Big Bad Wolf attempted to blow their house down (blow dryer). The kids loved this activity!


Wanda McRae-Jones

Gardening at school with young children | Posted in Early Childhood

I love the idea of teaching gardening to young children. I have worked in preschool and every summer we made a garden and grew all sorts of vegetables. One year, I decided to make a "greenhouse" for them to grow carrots in, they were SO excited to do this. We simply got two medium clear tubs and taped them together on one end (so we could open it still), and then used toilet paper rolls and put dirt in them and then carrot seeds. The kids participated in it all and helped to water them often. When the time came we planted them outside and watched them grow (and then ate them of course). But if you worry about growing in the cold, make a greenhouse and grow whatever you want. It is a great experience for young children. Good luck!


Nicole Kunzler

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