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Top Tips for Back to School Success

Posted by EiE Team on Wednesday, August 10, 2022

As elementary educators, you know the importance of being prepared, especially as you prepare to teach STEM. To help you get ready for the coming school year, we’ve gathered our top quick tips for teachers returning to the classroom.

Get a head start on supplies — Take a detailed inventory before class starts and stock up on extra essentials to keep your lessons engaging and moving without interruption. Don’t forget extra graph paper! 

→ Or, you can leave the planning to us and use our fully stocked TryIt! Kits to make sure you have everything you need for hands-on STEM activities. Each Engineering is Elementary Try It! Kit includes all of the materials each student needs to complete the mini-design challenge, with instructions in English and Spanish. 

Read, Read, Read— In addition to textbooks and school reading lists, encourage your students to visit their local library, take turns sharing favorite stories with friends or look for pictures of animals and write and share a short story about them! Expand children’s vocabulary and science knowledge by encouraging them to read about real-world topics such as space exploration or animal care. 

→ Plus, you can inspire exploration and encourage cross curricular connections with our read-aloud STEM storybooks

Venture out— Whether kids are taking a trip to the local zoo or visiting the beach, lots of learning can be had right outside your classroom door. Host scavenger hunts, learn about your local environment, plan a field trip and encourage kids’ natural curiosity by visiting somewhere new. 

→ Hint: Virtual field trips can be a great alternative to visiting new locations in person. Local zoos, aquariums (and even the Museum of Science!) have digital options for exploring anytime. 

Encourage experimentation — Talk out problems around a table and encourage creative experimentation to find solutions. Young learners struggling to pick up after themselves? Create a pulley system or sorting categories to help make tidying up fun. How can you amplify the sound on the stereo or from your phone or computer without turning it up? Practice the steps of the scientific process by encouraging your kids to think outside the box and solve everyday problems with modern solutions.

Try new lesson plans — Keep things interesting for you and your students by trying out new, standards-aligned lessons this year. Whether you’re starting  a whole new curriculum or swapping out a few old lessons for new attention-getters, everyone in your class will benefit from keeping things fresh. 

→ Explore Engineering and Computer Science Essentials™ and see how science, math, engineering, and computer science practices work together to help learners build problem-solving skills and resilience. Essentials promotes access, equity and excellence through fun, engaging classroom lessons.   

Prepare an icebreaker activity — Build classroom collaboration and set the tone for your new year with STEM icebreakers sure to encourage team building and encourage hands-on learning this year. Encourage computational and creative thinking with STEM games and activities. 

→ Find our recommendations for free online activities for learners of all ages or play skill-building games like Yahtzee, Go Fish, or Dominoes to practice math and strategy.

Bring Learning Home – Encourage learning outside the classroom with free activities and resources for at-home and on-the-go STEM learning from our new EiE Families site. Quick activities designed for families with kids 4 - 11 can support STEM learning and collaboration in any environment.

→ Plus, explore new videos, activities, discussion prompts, and more on our Learn.EiE.org platform. With topics like Incubating Ball Python Eggs, Vaccines on Dry Ice, The Science of Light, and Animal Adaptations, these free, STANDARDS-ALIGNED videos and activities can easily supplement any science lesson and encourage students to get to know each other. Sign up for this content and more today!

  1. Go to Learn.EiE.org.
  2. Sign up to create an account, or login if you already have one.
  3. Explore free content, including videos and activities!

Let us know your Back to School tips and tricks in the comments!

Written by EiE Team

Topics: Out-of-School time, EiE Resources for Teachers, Early Childhood STEM Education, Classroom Organization, EiE Teaching Tips, Digital Storybooks, Engineering in Elementary STEM Education, Afterschool, Create a Generation of Problem Solvers, Learn.EiE, EiE Families

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