There are tons of articles about including and promoting STEM to our students. I decided to add this “STEM: Role Models & Activities” lesson and project into my child development class. I want my students to not only understand what STEM is, but why it’s important to expose and encourage it with young children.
- Show students the YouTube video “Wishes PSA“. Ask what they would wish for.
- Discuss the acronym referred to as STEM and ask what it stands for?
- iPads or Laptops
- Projector & Screen
- Empty Tissue Box Cubes
- String or jute
- Scrapbook Paper
- Wax & Warmer
- Smoothie Ingredients (optional)
- Students read the article Kids in STEM and answer the assigned questions and sketchnotes.
- Divide students into small groups of 2-4 and give each group an empty tissue cube. Show them how to add and secure a string so it can be hung as a mobile. To do this, thread the string into a needle with a large eye. Do not knot the end(s). Send the needle down through the center of the bottom of the cube and then back up through the base about 1/2 inch from the first hole (this will now be the top of the mobile). Then remove the string from the needle and knot the ends together so you have a loop to hang from the ceiling.
- Students share their STEM examples as a whole class before hanging from the ceiling or displaying around the room.
- Explain to students that if we want to encourage young preschool and early elementary aged children to learn about STEM related activities and potentially STEM related fields and careers, we need to provide them with role models and experiences that will do that.
- To illustrate this, we read the Scholastic Choices article “She’s Saving Our Oceans” (May 2019) and students complete the questions (see below). If you don’t have a subscription to that publication, you can substitute a similar article such as this one and adapt the questions to fit.
- In the article, it says that we can opt for paper straws or skip them altogether. So, I demonstrate and/or show a paper straw making tutorial. Students then use their STEM skills to make their own paper straw. We then prepare a healthy beverage, such as this smoothie in class to try them out.
- As a final project, students must select a role model who worked in and/or influenced a STEM related field (ex. Sally Ride) and then create a digital magazine about a curation of theme related STEM activities based on their selected role model. See the guide sheet for more details.
- If you want a project that’s a little less rigorous and time consuming, you could have them create rings of Stem Challenge Cards or Stem Tub Challenge Cards (TPT freebies) geared to younger children.