Teachers rarely have enough time to teach STEM in engaging and interesting ways and teach the required curriculum, so we are in the process of compiling some ways to help with that. Toys, games, and videos can all be used to accomplish the goal of connecting classroom STEM lessons to real-world application. The challenge is how to do that in microscopic amounts of time.
Welcome to our series called 5-Minute STEM.
Don’t we all look for ways to amaze and engage kids in under 5 minutes? In this series, we plan to give educators and parents all kinds of resources and applications to STEM…and all of them can be done in short spurts. The beauty of these applications is that they can be used in many ways:
- at the beginning of the class period as an introduction to a lesson
- in the middle of class to give kids a break from instruction
- as a reward after they have finished an assigned task
- as extra credit opportunities: have students explain the science behind a toy or an experiment in their own words by writing a report or recording a video; you can even keep an old mobile phone handy and allow them to “check it out” (library style) so they can record themselves or their classmates.
- as a fun project (design something that accomplishes some predetermined task)
I know the mistake I usually make is thinking I have to teach ALL the information. Kids usually just want the highlights, and these “lessons” are a great way to involve even the most apathetic and disinterested critic of STEM (you know the ones who claim to “HATE math” and wonder “Why do we have to learn this?!”…said with the most dramatic of eye rolls and other teenage gesticulations). These STEM activities are for those kids! Giving them bits and pieces instead of entire lessons will keep them engaged and coming back for more.