As educators of the 21st century, it is necessary that we equip our students with the knowledge and the skill set which will ensure a successful and fulfilling career path. Therefore it is important that we support a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) approach to learning. Presenting children with real life situations and offering them opportunities to develop their critical thinking skills, make decisions independently, and collaborate with one another to find solutions to problems, are the key goals of a STEM approach to learning.
With Global Warming being one of the high ranking problems in our world today, we recently posed a question to our Grade 3 students. The answer to the question required a STEM approach to problem solving. We asked them to identify and construct ways to integrate green spaces into a crowded urban cityscape. Applying their knowledge of Science in Plants, Stability and Structures, students designed a simple building within a limited space. They also devised methods to accommodate adequate greenery on the structure while also maintaining its stability.
Using their rapidly evolving technological skills, students compiled presentations illustrating the process of seed germination. The germinated seeds were the plants that they used on their structure. The Mathematical component of the project included measuring the sprouted seeds and graphing the results. Through trial and error students had to experiment with a variety of seeds that would sprout easily and also maintain a steady growth. They had to source out the most effective materials that could be used to build their structure and sustain the sprouting seeds. The end results of this STEM project were nothing short of masterpieces!
Thriving in an economically driven, global environment requires more than just a multidisciplinary skill set. The STEM approach to learning develops much more than a student’s problem solving, decision making and critical thinking skills. It shapes our students into persevering, committed and patient people who will embrace tomorrow’s challenges with flexible and open minds.
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