Actions Educators Can Take to Foster STEM Foundational Thinking Skills

In order to guide the development of equitable STEM education as well as foster STEM foundational thinking for all students, educators must create experiences for students that allow learners the time and opportunity to see themselves as STEM students of color who collaborate, apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to address challenging issues.  These learning experiences need to be high quality, tailored to meet individual learner needs, focused on student learning, research-based, job-embedded, and aligned...

Fostering Greater Equity in STEM Education by Extending STEM Across Contexts and Cultures

STEM learning aims to “foster connections among people, settings, and practices” (Penuel, Lee, & Bevan, 2014, p. 2).  In fact, fostering diversity in STEM education promotes equity by (a) expanding access to STEM learning opportunities; (b) brokering continuing opportunities for participation in STEM learning opportunities; and (c) helping young people appropriate STEM practices to address issues they feel matter to their personal lives or communities (Penuel, Lee, & Bevan, 2014, p. 1).  This includes leveraging...

Importance of STEM Foundational Thinking Concepts in Education

  STEM foundational thinking is important for integrating content areas in a transdisciplinary approach to public education.  The foundational thinking skills that students learn through STEM education will help them throughout their education careers and beyond.  Specifically in the Elementary grade levels, Elementary-school students are most likely to gain STEM foundational thinking when they have opportunities to engage in in-depth investigations of phenomena around them worthy of their knowledge and understanding (Katz & Chard, 2000). ...

What is STEM Education?

As long as there has been education, from the ancient Egyptians’ library built by Ashurbanipal, the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (685-627 BCE), to Confucius during the Zhou Dynasty (551-479 BCE), to Hippocrates (c. 460-370 BCE), Socrates (c. 470-399 BCE), and Aristotle (c. 384-322 BCE), there has been debate about how it should be organized, managed, who it should be for, and how knowledge should be disseminated to people (Tokuhama-Espinosa, 2011).  Educators and critics have...

STEM Identities

Research indicates that very few students view themselves as STEM learners when investigating a question or problem in their community.  Whereas previous research indicates a lack of diversity in STEM education and careers and specific schools structures that support successful STEM integration, there is a greater need to research what elementary school structures support students of color in STEM curricular areas.  When researching mathematics education in working class Latina/o communities, Marta Civil (2014) feels that...

STEM Showcase

As a district STEM and Innovation coach, I have the fortunate opportunity to visit and see all things STEM.  So often, as teachers, we are only aware of our own classroom and what is happening within our own school building.  I would like to change that.  Periodically, I will be showcasing innovative things that are happening in our school district in what I am calling STEM Showcase.  For this first installment, I have a guest post...

Dents

  There have been a few things on my mind recently.  The first one deals with the above quote.   I have always admired Steve Jobs, but when I finished reading his biography, his drive to be innovative and create something the world has never seen, infected me.  I completely agree with the fact that we exist to do something.  Jobs felt that it was to do something great.  I am feeling a loss of purpose,...

When was the last time you believed that you could change the world?

I was ten years old.  Fifth grade.  I remember going out on the field for recess .  It was an incredibly windy day that afternoon; the kind of wind where you could almost lean forward into the gusts and you didn’t fall down.  Buster Keaton style.  I got this crazy idea that I would attempt to stop the wind.  I grabbed two sticks from the ground and climbed to the top of a large hill...

Collaboration

STEM is all about collaboration.  Collaborative learning experiences where students and teachers are working alongside one another toward solving real-world, grand problems that invite both play and risk (US Department of Education).  So, what exactly is collaboration? Collaboration is “when members of an inclusive learning community work together as equals to assist students to succeed in the classroom” (Powell). Friend and Cook (1992, pp. 6-28) explain that collaboration has six defining characteristics: (a) collaboration is...

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