An elementary program at Triple C School is using hands-on learning to introduce young students to science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM.
According to a press release, when the students in Gwendolyn Douglas’s second grade class have finished their regular class work, or their morning station rotation is STEM, they can take one STEM bin at a time, either to their seat or to a more quiet area, and have time to work on engineering projects.
The STEM bins are plastic school boxes filled with engineering objects of the teacher’s choice, such as Legos, pattern blocks, base 10 blocks, Unifix cubes, toothpicks and Play-Doh, or Popsicle sticks with Velcro on the ends. The boxes also contain small sets of task cards on metal rings that picture a variety of basic engineering structures.
The students use the materials to build as many structures on the cards as they can.
“Instead of being just ‘busy,’ students are engaged in creative, complex tasks and are encouraged to think like inventors,” notes the release.
“The kinesthetic learners, spatial learners, and logical learners love exploring the different possibilities for the building materials as they try to construct more challenging structures,” said Ms. Douglas.
“I challenge the students to draw pictures of their different structures along with their written component. Most of my second graders can ‘build, draw, and write’ with descriptive sentences or imaginative stories about their structures. The students’ written work is displayed in our STEM station so students can see examples of excellent written responses.”