This pandemic isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Schools are working towards creating an environment where students can learn at home by equipping them with the necessary technology to make the “virtual classroom” a reality. Unfortunately, STEM learning doesn’t appear to be a focus and it needs to be.
Of course, we know STEM education is important. Principally, STEM learning helps students develop vital 21st century skills such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. In the long term, those in STEM careers traditionally earn more money than those who do not work in the STEM field. The growth of STEM jobs is phenomenal so there is a clear need for skilled graduates. With so much work available, there are just not enough trained workers to fill them. Additionally, there is a lack of diversity in the STEM fields and many groups are underrepresented. This includes underrepresentation in higher education and producing STEM graduates, as well as in the in the overall U.S. workforce. We need to work towards closing these gaps.
Obviously, STEM teaching and learning needs to happen regardless of the circumstances. Yes, this seems easier said than done, but Boxlight MimioSTEM has designed simple solutions to meet STEM learning needs in any environment – in-class, remote, and hybrid.
- Design Challenges (using 3D modeling) with MyStemKits.com
MyStemKits.com is our curriculum platform that houses over 350 standards-driven lessons, as well as design challenges, for K-12.
The great skill set represented by the A in STEAM is art + design, which fits perfectly into the skill set of 3D modeling. Fundamentally, 3D modeling is a design skill that calls for creativity, mathematical thinking, engineering know-how, and more. It is an important skill set for every student that will boost problem solving skills and the ability to think ‘outside the box’. Imagine a world where kids look at objects, wonder why they were built that way, think about if they could be built better, then actually create a solution. That is magical!
Facilitating design challenges with students is relatively simple while distance learning. Set up a Tinkercad classroom as a teacher then invite your students to join the class. Next, download a lesson from MyStemKits.com and assign it to the students to complete. It’s fun, easy, and incredibly creative. If the teacher has access to the 3D printer, they can slowly print each student’s designs or save them and wait until school returns to 3D print them. The real skill is design thinking which is completely enhanced with the MyStemKits (mystemkits.com) lessons and activities.
- Labdisc Portable STEM Lab
At home science experiments can also be accomplished with Labdisc. Labdisc is an all-in-one portable STEM lab device which allow experiments to easily be done at home. The device includes access to hundreds of lesson plans to help facilitate different science and math experiments. Each student can have an entire science lab at home with these portable STEM labs. They will also understand the practical application of STEM in their lives. For example, students can use the PH sensor from the Labdisc to measure the different PH levels in waters and soda, then come up with a hypothesis about which is the best for our health. This experiment helps open their eyes to real choices they might make every day. What a great way to incorporate STEM learning from home in a fun and useful way!
- Coding and Robotics with Mimio MyBot
Most students may not have a robot at home, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t code! The Mimio MyBot system encourages students to think creatively while learning computer science literacy, an extremely important skill for the 21st century. While in a live virtual class, choose students to take control of the sessions and build code. The educator in the physical classroom, or any space the lesson is being facilitated, can point the webcam on the robot. The student builds the code and sends it to the robot while the rest of the class watches the robot move. What a motivating way to keep students engaged and interested in this skill. This is a sure-fire way for students to want to build and code robots.
Distance teaching does not mean a hard-stop to STEM learning! The value of continuing STEM education is vital, especially as we consider the future of STEM in the 21st century. Help students keep the pace and incorporate STEM with these high-quality Boxlight solutions.
For more information on STEM solutions for your classroom, in-class and virtual, go to mimio.boxlight.com/stem-education.