The value of emphasizing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) is essential since it impacts just about every facet of our lives - checking the news on your mobile phone, using video conferencing software to facilitate meetings, or programming our home alarm systems are all everyday activities influenced by STEM innovations. When we can make connections between topics being learned and our own lives, the learning tends to stick in our minds longer. It seems reasonable then that the study of robotics is integrated into STEM education programs since robotics influences many areas of life – construction, defense, health, maintenance, security, and more. Of course, robotics also allows for learning beyond our general experiences such as space exploration.
This past year has reinforced the nation’s belief that, even with limited resources, teachers are incredibly resilient and able to meet a broad array of challenges such as school closures, distance teaching, and more.
School is wrapping up and most of us are thinking of ways to help our students maintain their progress over the summer in fun and engaging ways. The following resources are terrific for learning from home with or without parent and caregiver help. For the most part, the websites collated here offer free activities and content. So, take a few minutes, click through some of these resources and share them with your families for engaging summer enrichment.
Quite a few of teachers and students are in their last couple of weeks of school. Now is the best time to try activities that couldn’t be done because of challenges to time, planning, and navigating the learning environment whether remote or hybrid. So, as you wind down the year, try having class book groups and enjoy the richness of stories.
Pre-pandemic, the thought of incorporating flipped or blended learning, self-paced learning, video conferencing, and creating videos to teach key concepts or skills was seen as reserved mostly for virtual schools that catered to families that wanted an alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar schooling or for especially ‘high-tech savvy’ educators who could deftly handle quickly changing technology. Of course, the pandemic and consequent school closures changed all that, and educators, students, and parents had to learn to navigate online learning fairly quickly. For teachers who were comfortable with the tried and true, front-of-class style of instruction, switching to tech tools for creating, assigning, grading, and facilitating lessons was a steep learning curve. But here we are, over a year later, and many teachers have found that they have become incredibly adept at using these same tools if not more so.
Since the shift to remote learning due to pandemic-related school closures, the focus on science has suffered in comparison to the focus on core subjects such as math and language arts. While some students benefited from the increased flexibility of remote learning, others needed more hands-on investigations. As more schools are opening to in-person learning, the need to incorporate STEM is essential. Why? Research has shown that the call for STEM-related jobs has grown much faster, as much as three times more, than the call for other jobs. The investment of time and resources in STEM instruction now is an investment in the STEM workforce.
More and more schools are opening up to in-person learning, even as we get closer to the end of the school year. Regardless of if they have two months or two weeks left in the year, the excitement of being in their classrooms with their classmates and teacher can be overwhelming. We celebrate in-person learning and the effort it took to ensure everyone’s health and safety but after the initial frenzy of first day, first week, first recess, what can be done to get students focused and ready to learn?
Earth Day is on April 22 and this year’s theme is "Restore Our Earth" which emphasizes natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking to help restore the world’s ecosystems. Since its inception in 1970, the intent of Earth Day is to care about the natural world through proactive preservation measures and actions. Clearly there is more work to do but there are fun and easy activities to start with in the classroom. Here are seven of our favorite, and fun, Earth Day activities:
Hannah Olson, Co-Creator of the award-winning MyStemKits STEM Curriculum, recently spoke with Larry Jacobs from American Consortium for Equity in Education (ace-ed.org) on the topic of STEM education and careers, focusing on encouraging young women to explore what STEM has to offer.
If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that teachers are incredibly resilient, resourceful, and ready to move forward. Besides working through a pandemic, whether in-class with stringent safety precautions or remotely while also dealing with personal responsibilities, teachers have proven that they are willing to make the effort. Why? There’s a lot of heart in the teaching profession. Many teachers will attest to the joy they feel from seeing their students’ eyes light up when they understand a new concept or are excited by a hands-on project. Being in a classroom, teachers are able to work closely with their students, observe how they collaborate with one another, and celebrate achievements as a group. But with what seems like the unending concerns over health and safety, learning loss and closing gaps, and the social-emotional well-being of their students, teachers need more than a “Good job!” and “Keep going!” What can school principals do so that teachers feel like they’re being seen, heard, and supported?
Topics: teacher support