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):
The drive for integrating more hands-on STEM activities and lessons that tap into and sharpen students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills is high. Educators are trying to find and/or design lessons that students will be motivated by and further their interest in STEM learning. But with limited time and resources, this can also be one of the bigger challenges, and STEM is often limited to what is ‘left over’ after language arts and mathematics has taken the bulk of the focus.
Believe it or not, this generation of young people is interested in data – likes, shares, comments. They sometimes use this data to create content, even apps, to address what they perceive as needs observed. How can this translate to STEM learning in the classroom? When problems are addressed within real-life contexts, this generation of students – digital natives who are accustomed to using technology to find answers and research information – are more likely to be engaged in the learning process.
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.
March 18th is Global Recycling Day and this year’s theme is ‘Recycling Heroes’ to recognize those who demonstrate the critical role that recycling plays. This includes what these recycling heroes do to help keep the environment clean and balanced. By recycling, we help decrease the need for collecting and processing non-renewable resources like coal and oil, and raw materials like trees. All these activities contribute to the pollution of our air and water, as well as increase greenhouse gas emissions thus affecting the climate. Recycling saves energy and reduces the hazardous effects of greenhouse gases such as the continued rise of global temperatures, melting ice caps, and the increased danger of wildfires. Really, we all could be recycling heroes by the actions we take. Here are activities to try with your class, even in a hybrid learning environment:
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.”
I don’t know about you, but my activity levels have definitely decreased this past year. I find that I’m spending more time in front of my PC for work and recreation (video chatting with family and friends, going on virtual tours, streaming channels for shows and movies, etc.). With many children in remote or hybrid learning situations, their activity levels are also decreasing as it has become easier to move from one place to sit to another place to sit (i.e. chair to sofa). Besides allowing for more physical activity during breaks (run outside for 15 minutes, 5-minute stretches every hour, 60-minute lunch and recreation break sans devices), learning should also incorporate more movement. In addition, with the push for more hands-on STEM integration, students having to school at home need a viable option for STEM learning besides online games and interactive worksheets.