A general belief is that incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) learning is crucial to help spark students’ interest in STEM-related careers where the demand is steadily increasing. STEM learning boosts vital skills such as critical thinking, perseverance, creativity, and problem solving, skills that are important for navigating life and its challenges.
We’ve got great news! The award-winning MyStemKits STEM curriculum, a Boxlight MimioSTEM solution, is now aligned with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Mathematics and Science. What does this mean? Teachers in Texas who are planning integrated, innovative, hands-on STEM lessons and activities don’t have to look further than MyStemKits.com to find them!
October is a great month for creating hands-on, engaging, and fun learning experiences where your students can get their hands dirty! Not only is the weather pleasant in much of the world, October has both National Fossil Day in the United States (October 13th) and International Archaeology Day (October 16th). All of these components make for a perfect opportunity for your class to really dig into learning.
The first Wednesday of October is National Walk and Bike to School Day! Even if you didn’t walk or bike to school with your students today, don’t worry – I've got you covered. Here are 3 activities you and your students can try today (and beyond):
Meredith Williams, an 8th grade science teacher at Freedom Middle School (Orlando, FL), always tries to set her students up for success right at the start of the year by facilitating a discussion beginning with three simple words, “What is it?” To encourage her students to think critically and creatively about problems through science exploration, she incorporates a variety of manipulatives so that her students have something hands-on to observe, analyze, and form ideas around. With manipulatives and discussions – both in small groups and as a class – she shows her students that asking questions is a key component of science, as was the case at the start of this year. For the hands-on portion of the activity, she incorporates models printed using her 3D printer and MyStemKits lesson kits.
Mechanical engineering is the discipline that applies the principles of engineering, physics, and materials science for the design, analysis, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is one of the oldest and broadest of the engineering disciplines.
Bob Wallace, a now retired high school biology teacher in Crawfordville, Florida, was resolute in his goal that his students graduate with a full range of academic skill sets and technical knowledge that would prepare them for a successful future. In his over 30 years of teaching, he found that textbooks alone could rarely explain important concepts that kept his students engaged and employed a variety of strategies to explain difficult science concepts to his students. He was consistently on the lookout for options that would keep his students engaged. He stated, “Over the years, I’ve used a lot of different things. I have done drawings on boards, still magnets, and I’ve used beads – the beads go bouncing all over the place and you end up losing all of them.”
Distance and hybrid learning environments are particularly tricky for engineering, design, and art teachers. Unless you can send packets of activity-specific supplies home with your students, you have to be flexible and work around the resources available in each student’s home, which can vary greatly. You can’t always rely on students having paints, construction paper, or popsicle sticks readily available. Even what were once household staples like paper-towel rolls may not be available in some eco-friendly households that only use reusable cloths. So how can educators provide a complete STEM course with these variables in mind?
If you want to learn modeling, MyStemKits STEAM Design Challenges are definitely the way to go about it. The activities guide you step-by-step through the process of creating a variety of objects, while equipping you with the skills necessary to build your own unique constructions. To supplement that collection of resources, MyStemKits has assembled a general “tips toolbox” of things to consider and strategies to employ for successful 3D modeling.
Neil Armstrong and landing on the moon. The space shuttle Challenger. The International Space Station. Pictures of ice from the Mars rovers. These are the different things that come to my mind when thinking of space exploration and education. These are topics that have probably been discussed, researched, and studied in classrooms everywhere. But how often is space exploration a part of student learning?