STEM / STEAM
STEM is a Culture, Not a Class!
STEAM is a Culture, Not a Class!
This section of my website provides teachers and administators with multiple resources on STEM and STEAM Education.
STEM education fully engages students in learning Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics using an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to learning that provides hands-on and relevant learning experiences for students. STEM teaching and learning goes beyond the mere transfer of knowledge. It engages students and equips them with critical thinking, problem solving, creative and collaborative skills, and ultimately establishes connections between the school, work place, community and the global economy.
STEM education helps students:
- make technology integral to their learning
- use a hands-on approach to learning
- engage in evidence-based learning
- adopt a learn-from-our-mistakes philosophy
- understand – and then apply – math and science concepts across the curriculum
Each of thee skills is a foundation for success in college and future careers.
Teachers planning to transform their classrooms into STEM environments may find the 5E Model of Instruction helpful in planning instructional units that engage students, support exploration, explain concepts, extend learning to other curricular areas, and evaluate progress throughout the unit.
Components of the 5E Instructional Model
ENGAGE: The purpose for the ENGAGE stage is to pique student interest and get students personally involved in the lesson, while pre-assessing prior understanding.
- Students first encounter and identify the instructional task, then make connections between past and present learning experiences, setting the organizational ground work for upcoming activities. Students become curious and begin asking their own questions about the concept/topic.
- Teachers assess the learners’ prior knowledge and help students become engaged in a new concept through the use of short activities that promote curiosity and elicit prior knowledge.
EXPLORE: The purpose for the EXPLORE stage is to get students involved in the topic; providing them with a chance to build their own understanding.
- Students explore or experiment at this point. They engage in observations, use science tools and materials (manipulatives), collect data, and record data.
- Teachers set up the investigation and guide students in inquiry, asking probing questions to clarify understanding.
EXPLAIN: The purpose for the EXPLAIN stage is to provide students with an opportunity to communicate what they’ve learned so far and figure out what it means.
- Students verbalize their understandings from the "explore" phase, look for patterns in their data, and describe what they observed. This can be done in small and/or whole groups
- Teachers ask probing questions that encourage students to look for patterns or irregularities in their data.
EXTEND: The purpose for the EXTEND stage is to allow students to use their new knowledge and continue to explore its implications.
- Students expand their learning, practice skills and behavior, and make connections or applications to related concepts and in the world around them.
- Teachers provide learning opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and to gain a deeper understanding. Activities can include reading articles and books, writing, designing other experiments, and exploring related topics on the Internet.
EVALUATE: The purpose for the EVALUATION stage is for both students and teachers to determine how much learning and understanding has taken place.
- Students answer questions, pose questions, and illustrate their knowledge (understandings) and skill (abilities).
- Teachers diagnose student understanding through an ongoing process. Assessment can be both formative (ongoing and dynamic) and summative (end-of-lesson final test or product).