Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are integral to a child’s education. Introducing STEM into the curriculum starting as early as kindergarten helps to improve students’ STEM literacy and comfortability in these subjects. As educators, it is important to create strong, capable, and passionate STEM learners who can go on to pursue STEM degrees and careers. With STEM jobs rising faster than any other workforce, adding STEM into the classroom curriculum is becoming more essential than ever.
Whether this is a devoted STEM lesson or a cross-curricular approach, it is important to include Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as part of your curriculum and practicum. This can sometimes be a difficult task for educators when creating a curriculum plan for the upcoming school year. STEM Sports® created this article to provide guidance and tips on how to easily and effectively integrate STEM into the classroom.
Integrating STEM Curriculum
Adding STEM lessons to the curriculum does not have to impact teaching style or approach. It can start with simply changing the way you frame questions to include key STEM terms, such as observation, experiment, hypothesis, or analysis. By making this simple change, students are improving their STEM vocabulary. This will set them up for success when they are working through future STEM lessons and on standardized tests. If you are looking for words to integrate in your classroom, reference the STEM Sports® Glossary.
The key to successful implementation is to ensure that everyone, educators and students, have the resources needed to work through the lesson. Whether or not you have STEM supplies available, there are ways to engage students in STEM learning. If you do not have the typical supplies to implement a science experiment or major group activity, there are other ways to get students thinking critically about science, technology, engineering, and math.
One example of how to integrate a STEM curriculum without any additional supplies is to use a sports season to teach key STEM concepts. For example, you could do a longer lesson that spans over March Madness. Students can use player statistics as a real-world example when calculating percentages and probability. This exciting and engaging lesson allows students to improve their math skills while witnessing what they learned applied to the world around them.
If you are interested in learning more about how to create a sports lesson plan, read the STEM Sports® step-by-step guide for parents, educators, and facilitators!
Tips for Integrating STEM Into the Classroom
Below is a list of tips for integrating STEM into the classroom. Regardless of your comfort level with STEM subjects, these tips were created to help you successfully implement STEM with your students.
- Pick reading materials that are about STEM subjects. This does not have to be a textbook. For example, a book about the animal kingdom or ecosystem can be used to introduce students to STEM.
- Use hands-on learning activities. This has been proven to increase student engagement and retention.
- Use real-world examples. Real-world examples give students the opportunity to make connections to things they already know and see why what they are learning matters.
- Use varying topics. By switching up our approach, we can keep students engaged and active in lessons. For example, STEM Sports® uses sports as a way to facilitate STEM learning. The sports tie-in gets students active and allows them to learn through doing rather than seeing.
- Utilize technology. When applicable, technology is a great way to enhance STEM learning. It also gets students acclimated to using technology in daily life, which will help them succeed in the future.
- Create pre and post assessments. This allows educators to gauge student comprehension to determine additional learning support and focus on the curriculum.
- Don’t give up if the first lesson doesn’t go well! Nothing happens perfectly the first time. Even if the lesson does not go well, continue implementing with students and there will be an improvement for everyone.
STEM Curriculum by STEM Sports®
If you are an educator looking for a supplemental STEM curriculum for your K-8 students, go to STEM Sports® to see our curricula offerings. Using sports as the facilitator, the STEM Sports® turnkey curriculum takes students through eight (8) science, technology, engineering, and math lessons. Each module includes pre and post assessments and step by step instructions, known as 5E, on how to implement the lesson. This makes it easy for educators to integrate into their curriculum plan and engage students in standards aligned STEM learning!