STEM education stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It is an interdisciplinary approach to learning that is becoming increasingly important in today's world.
Here are ten benefits of STEM education:
- Develops critical thinking skills: STEM education encourages students to think logically and solve problems systematically. These types of challenges put kids in a position where things can go wrong, and they have to figure out what to do about it. STEM education teaches students to identify problems, analyze data, and develop solutions.
- Promotes creativity: STEM education helps students be more creative and innovative by providing opportunities to design and build their own projects. This gives kids a chance to connect the background knowledge they’ve been building to things like roller coasters, Sphero tractors, rockets, and more.
- Improves communication skills: STEM education requires students to communicate their ideas and findings effectively, which enhances their communication skills. When students work in teams they have to figure out how to share their ideas and listen to the ideas of others. Many adults struggle in this department. Projects break down when communication breaks down. Being a good communicator has benefits that last a lifetime.
- Prepares students for the future: STEM education prepares students by equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world. STEM activities help students operate out of their comfort zone. The rapid pace at which technology changes will make it hard for people to keep up. Having the courage to dive into something you don’t understand and then successfully figure it out is a skill that people will need as the pace of innovation increases.
- Encourages teamwork: STEM education encourages students to work in teams, which helps them to develop social skills and learn how to work collaboratively. I wonder how many brilliant people throughout history were held back by their inability to work collaboratively.
- Fosters lifelong learning: STEM education helps students to develop a love of learning and encourages them to continue learning throughout their lives. Learning is an active process. People are much more comfortable consuming information, ideas, and media because they spend so much time doing it. STEM education promotes tinkering, building, and creating. Society needs more creators, we already have plenty of consumers.
- Encourages Tech Use: If you know a young person, you know that they pick up how to use technology quickly. They are masters of finding ways to use it as entertainment. STEM education helps students learn how technology works and how to use it in “real world” settings. This knowledge can be applied as technology becomes a more integral part of the workplace in the future.
Here’s a list of my favorite STEM activities I’ve used in my teaching career.
- Build a rollercoaster/amusement park ride
- Mousetrap cars
- Bridge building
- Tower building
- Scribble Bots
- Sphero Tractor Pull
- Rocket Building
- Build a calorie meter
- Egg drop parachute
- Student created podcasts
- Student movie making
- Scratch coding
- Generate electricity with a wind turbine
- Rube Goldberg Machines
- Exploravision competition
- eCYBERMISSION Competition
Here are a few STEM activities/challenges I’ve shared on this site before.
- Sphero Battle Bots Stem Challenge
- Forces and Motion: Model Rocket Challenge and Newton's Laws Investigation
- Using Spheros in Science Class
- Forces and Motion: Sphero Tractor Pull Investigation Part One
- Forces and Motion: Sphero Tractor Pull Investigation Part Two
- November 8th is National STEM Day | Use These 12 STEM Resources to Celebrate
- End The Year With Engaging STEM Challenges - Free Mousetrap Cars and Paper Bridge Challenges For Teachers
STEM education offers benefits to students of all ages. It helps develop critical thinking skills, promotes creativity, and encourages teamwork. It also prepares students for the future and fosters lifelong learning. The benefits of STEM infusion make it an essential tool in the teacher toolbox.