To be honest, there is not a particular order for all these reasons I am listing. They do work together though. Like a lot. And that is one big reason to love STEM! So, here we go!
10 – Kid’s sketches are spot-on.
If you read my blog often you know I talk about the Engineering Design Process. One part we follow consistently is the planning step and part of that step is to sketch an idea for the project.
“Aha!” I said, “And that is why you need to make sure your ideas and plans are well thought out and ready for anyone to try.”
Truth: Kids really want to just dive right into a project and invent on the fly, but I insist on following the correct procedures. We think like scientists and engineers! (cause that is what we are!)
11 – The science is necessary.
One of the very first challenges we tried was a paper airplane. I had kids build and fly planes and keep a data table of their flight distances. But, I very quickly noticed something! They had no idea how to conduct an experiment and control the variables. They were changing their planes right in the middle of the test. So, we had to back up and learn about controls and variables and procedures.
Now, we make sure the science is part of any activity where it seems necessary.
Below you can see kids analyzing their data before they move on to the experiment or building. I want them to learn to use test results to make informed decisions!
12 – Real life projects bring the world a little closer.
There is a place for silly challenges like building spoon towers (yes, it’s a tower with a spoon at the top)! But, sometimes we build something with a purpose in mind. One of the very first challenges I tried with fifth graders was to build a device to keep food off the ground while you were camping. They loved this type of challenge so, of course, I have invented more of them!
13 – Try and try and try again.
Perseverance. How do you teach that? How do you get kids to just keep working? The very nature of STEM challenges will help with this complicated trait!
14 – It’s FUN!
Just the other day I heard this: “STEM is the only reason I like coming to school.”
Why is that? I have to think that the fun we have is part of it. We do some really neat challenges that involve building the very things kids love so much.
15 – Kids are amazing.
This is perhaps the best reason to try STEM. Your students will astound you with the things they will think about and try. Take a look at the photo below.
16 – The finished projects are terrific.
The finished projects are often just precious. I love watching kids embellish their structures with all the extras.
The car above has seats and a steering wheel. It also had a car tag with the word “STEM” on it!
17- Sharing is the best part.
This is the part we never skip. We share at the end of class. Kids cannot wait to show off their finished structures and talk about them!
Above is a volcano that has “lava” flowing and this was an exciting share time. We all gathered around one table and tested one volcano at a time. First, the team talked about how they built it and then improved it. Then we made the lava flow. Lots of exclamations and groans if it didn’t work as expected.
18 – Free Challenges (you gotta love that!)
I have challenges that are FREE. That’s a great reason to try STEM soon!
The three challenges pictured are all in my Teachers Pay Teachers store and the links are below!
TRUTH: I promise. Cross my heart. Your kids will love completing a STEM Challenge!