National STEM Day inspires kids to pursue and explore their interests in science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM is all around us and shapes our everyday experiences. The best time to build this mindset and spark an interest is during their early education experiences.
STEM learning is increasing in popularity, and schools are implementing it into their curriculum. This is vital because there is also a gender gap and recognizing STEM in the classroom is even more significant for girls. STEM jobs have been continuously growing at higher rates than other occupations. There is a vital need to emphasize STEM in today’s classrooms due to the millions of STEM-related positions unfulfilled. STEM is a wave of the future.
What is National STEM Day?
National STEM Day is on November 8th and celebrates science, technology, engineering, and math throughout the United States. This day is an opportunity to focus on helping students develop interest and advance in these fields. Creating understanding around STEM is a popular topic today and needs skilled teachers in those subjects. The need for STEM-oriented job skills is skyrocketing. Educating our young people and celebrating National STEM Day enables the next generation of innovators.
Introducing young children to STEM can vastly improve their development in crucial areas such as critical thinking and everyday social and emotional skills. More and more careers will require STEM skills, and introducing and fostering a love for these areas is essential. STEM education is a blended learning environment that shows students how the scientific method can be applied to everyday life.
Teachers should accentuate the importance of STEM education for the global digital economy. Teachers realize they are inspiring the next generation of engineers, artists, and innovators. Most of what we use today would not exist if it were not for the brilliant minds of some innovators. Students learn to embrace and utilize new technologies as this world is more technology-centered than ever before.
As a teacher, immerse yourself in STEM engaging activities and how to incorporate these learning opportunities every day in class. Students remember 90% of what they do according to The Learning Pyramid model. They will know how to apply the skills to real world situations. They will adapt and apply the skills taught, and it is a great way to motivate them to learn.
Ways to Celebrate National STEM Day in Your Classroom
Project-based learning helps reinforce important concepts and is essential to engage students’ interests. A few examples of this are allowing students to discover fossils, exploring stars, discovering basics of creating an engine, and building a robot.
Allowing students this freedom fosters ingenuity and creativity. Incorporating STEM activities in class increases and builds resilience. Students are encouraged to think outside of the box and can make mistakes. There is an essence of risk-taking, experimentation, and teamwork. Students will always remember this type of learning and the classrooms where this is encouraged.
Extracurricular Activities and Competitions
These ideas teach the value of creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving. Creating opportunities like this make learning relevant and more engaging. A great focus is on real world problems and pushing for student-led initiatives. For example, this year would be a great time to host a mock election in class. This type of learning experience is beneficial for so many endless skills.
An example of an extracurricular activity would be to create and promote a robotics club. This combines the fun of an extracurricular activity with competition, including various age levels. They learn about all aspects of STEM and develop their skills in problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and socialization.
STEM Movie Night
A great example of a STEM movie is Hidden Figures, which depicts the true story of the women mathematicians that helped launch the astronaut John Glenn into orbit and inspired the world. This is a practical way to encourage inspiration, increase socialization among like-minded peers, and enjoy entertainment.
Visit a Museum or Have a Virtual Field Trip
Visiting museums is a great way to change your perspective and place yourself in others’ shoes. Museums instill a love for exploration and curiosity. The lessons in humanity, inspiration, society, serenity, tourism, support of the arts, and fun are among just some of the benefits. These types of experiences enrich our lives and make the world a more enlightened place.
If you can’t facilitate in-person experiences, virtual field trips are an excellent option. Your students can explore museums like the Smithsonian, visit Ellis Island, or even take a trip to the Great Wall of China.
Incorporating the Scientific Method
There are innumerable experiments and activities for the classroom involving the scientific method. A few examples of science experiments are using craft sticks and duct tape to create a bridge, and making launchers using pom poms, paper cups, and straws. Legos and other manipulatives for science experiments are enjoyable and educational. Students can make water bottle rockets, marshmallow towers, or study video game physics. Another great classroom idea is having a recycling bin and discussing the importance of recycling.
All of these are great ideas to utilize students’ minds and energy for productivity. The hands-on activities make lessons more fun and they retain information easily. They enjoy the creativity and teamwork too.