How to Engage Students in STEM Education

Engaging students in lectures can be difficult for educators, especially when the curriculum is centered around science, technology, engineering, and math. For most students, there is a level of discomfort surrounding STEM subjects. This can translate to a lack of active engagement and excitement around the curricula. 

With online learning on the rise, this has created another challenge for educators to overcome when trying to engage students. STEM Sports® created a guide for parents, educators, and facilitators on how to increase engagement around STEM for K-8 students. 

  1. Use Real-World Examples 

Giving students tangibles during lessons is key to answering the question of why the lesson is being taught. The real-world element can show a job that uses this skill and a relatable experience where the concept can be seen. Using this tactic in a lecture will increase engagement, comprehension, and retention. 

How STEM Sports® incorporates this into our curricula: By using the unique combination of STEM and sports, each of the STEM Sports® lessons connects to a real-life situation that students can use to understand the ‘why’. The science behind the sport is a great way to give students a tangible example that they can more easily understand. 

  1.  Utilize Hands-On Learning Methods 

Many students benefit from hands-on learning methods. This has been shown to engage multiple areas of the brain. This increased attention and awareness leads to a higher comprehension level and more excitement around the curriculum.

How STEM Sports® incorporates this into our curricula: At STEM Sports, we believe in the importance of keeping an active learning environment. Our kits utilize hands-on learning activities that allow students to learn through doing rather than seeing. 

  1.  Allow Collaboration 

Collaboration is key to an active and effective learning environment. By allowing students to work together, they are developing soft skills and keeping their brains active throughout the learning process. 

How STEM Sports® incorporates this into our curricula: Whether it be throwing the football to each other or helping another student measure the bounce of a ball, STEM Sports® lessons allow for student collaboration. 21st-century skills put a high focus on this because of its ability to prepare students for their future jobs.

  1.  Have Periodic Comprehension Checks 

Pre-and-post assessments are a great way to improve engagement and ensure that students are following and understanding the lesson. By conducting a pre-test, students are aware of what they don’t know going into the lesson. This allows them to put extra emphasis on that area. The post-test is key to doing a final check on where your students are and what questions still remain. While these are effective at helping students see their own comprehension, they are also a great tool for educators. 

How STEM Sports® incorporates this into our curricula: Every STEM Sports® lesson utilizes pre-tests and post-tests. They allow teachers to assess students’ comprehension from beginning to end, ensuring students can comprehend and apply STEM concepts by meeting the lesson’s objective and standards.

Teaching students is not cookie cutter. Each of these tactics may have different levels of effectiveness with each student. That is why it is important, as educators, to use multiple strategies and cater to the needs of each student. Engagement is key to student success and enjoyment in the classroom. 

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