As we settle into the new school year, we’re excited to share our top tips for returning to your classroom and establishing effective learning goals. Make the most of your STEM classroom for you and your students! Check out the following list of support tips, including some from former educators on the EiE team:
- Set learning objectives for your students beyond topics that they can just Google — like critical thinking and literacy.
- Build cross-curricular connections with STEM-based stories and tackle real-world issues, like spaceflight and water filtration, to encourage increased engagement among your students.
- Make a “creation station” or “Makerspace” in your classroom, tailored to the age of your learners, where students can tinker and work through lessons with their hands.
→ Boost problem-solving skills by creating engineering challenges with whatever materials you have on hand — from Legos to popsicle sticks.
- Provide students with specific roles and goals during group learning to ensure all learners contribute to the task, discussion, and learning. (ex: project manager, supplier, builder, tester, scribe, etc.)
→ By sticking to their specific role in the group, students are able to practice social emotional skills like self-awareness and management, social-awareness, and relationship skills.
→ For best results, ensure that every student has a chance to fulfill every role.
- Establish a failure-positive culture in the classroom providing students a safe space to learn through trial-and-error, and to explore alternative methods to solve a solution.
→ One of EiE’s Habits of Mind is for students to “persist and learn from failure”. Engineers fail all the time and learn how to make technologies even better as they improve on a failed design.
- Allow your students to take leadership in learning. Ask students to help facilitate learning of topics they are interested in to continue engaging their interests and allow other students different learning opportunities.
If you have any other tips for a successful return to the STEM classroom including setting learning goals, let us know in the comments!
Special thanks to EiE team members and former educators, Mallory Schmidt and Barb Meredith for their contributions to this blog post.