Despite having so many talented minds, why does our country lack in the field of innovation? Also, statistics state that in the next decade over 40% of the skilled professionals will hit their retirement, so how are we going to fill the gap with the skilled workforce? One answer to all these questions is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)education.
STEM education is a version of having practical exploration and it offers a range of cohesive learning environment. Additionally, it helps in expanding knowledge in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
You might wonder why is STEM learning very significant and how can it bring in evolution in our education system. Certainly, STEM skills are vital for a future career, it opens the door to an extensive range of career paths including the most in-demand jobs and highest paid jobs when compared to the other fields. Also, these STEM skills are a great way to inculcate the 21st-century skills which foster in our little ones long-term interest in the STEM subjects. Children can develop these skills by solving practical and real-world problems. Another great benefit of building a good STEM learning environment is promoting life skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, perseverance, collaboration skills which will be effective for their lifetime.
Now the question is how to create an excellent STEM learning environment?
Do not underestimate the influence of creative thinking on children’s understanding of the surroundings. Creative thinking helps them to shape their perspective and form their understanding of the concept. What better way to teach the significance of STEM skills than letting them be creative?
Basically, parents and educators should not instruct the children towards a perfect solution when creating the STEM learning environment. Because STEM learning is all about exploring and trying out the concepts they learn in their textbooks. If they get a perfect solution without hands-on experience, they will never get any opportunity to explore the cause and effect of any concept. Hence, the ultimate goal of STEM learning is to provide a creative environment where children can be creative and provoke the problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Additionally, make sure to promote collaboration and communication in the environment.
Utilize STEM-based application
It’s high time for you to get shifted towards technology and electronic gadgets. It is not always battling to get your children away from electronic gadgets. Rather, embrace these gadgets to boost their love for learning. There are numerous STEM-related apps to download, which can be used to teach STEM concepts. Certainly, STEM subjects can be taught without the help of technology, but when appropriately used, these can be much more effective in teaching the concepts. It is good to incorporate tablets, laptops, or computers in the classroom, but if your schools have limited access to these technological devices due to financial constraints, then teachers can try bringing their gadgets to schools for few hours a week to teach children. You can also make research on the internet and make some assignments for the kids to complete. This could be an excellent start for creating a STEM learning environment.
STEM learning is aimed to offer a practical exploration of the theoretical concepts through hands-on activities. Hence, allocating an individual space for creative activities, or hands-on activities will be an effective method for creating a STEM learning environment. Starting from trying out the chemical reactions to exploring the electric circuits to building robots, you should provide children with a sense of discovering.
Give real-world exposure to professionals
The best aspect of STEM learning is to provide children with real-world learning and make them realize how learning can be put use in a real-world scenario. To make this happen, the best choice is to enlighten students with the presentations by industry professionals. The industry exposure helps the children to get inspired by the classroom influence and they can easily understand the job opportunities they may want to pursue in the future. The influence of the industry personalities will create promote networking among the students and employers. Ultimately, this will motivate students to get engaged in the curriculum.
Furniture Needs to be Ergonomic
The importance of ergonomics furniture in the classrooms is inevitable. All the furniture inside the classrooms starting from the desks, chairs, to the table, should be flexible enough to nurture the STEM learning environment. The creative thinking inside the classrooms is possible only when a child is comfortable inside the room. Hence it is always advised to have the remodeling of the furniture in the plans or you can have the furniture converted as group stations to enhance the children’s collaboration to build excellent STEM learning environments.
Another important aspect of the STEM learning environment is teamwork, it is proven that productivity increases significantly when children working in the team. To indulge the group activity, children should realize the importance of collaboration. Educators should teach the children to change the language accordingly, adapt to new learning techniques and match the expectations.
Here are some of the activities that can be assigned to promote teamwork among the children.
- Assign a task to the students that can be completed with a group of students
- Create a group desk for brainstorm purpose
- Arrange for some interactive projectors to take the discussions to the next level
- Make students work on some prototype and make some suggestions on the design improvements
Reconfigure the Classroom Often
Classroom set up is the next important aspect of creating a STEM learning environment. A stimulating classroom is a base on any hands-on experiments that will provide the ultimate learning experience for students. With proper research and insights from the experts and educators try to create a stimulating room with a change in the teaching routine. Ultimately, this will result in creating great learning spaces that support children to excel in their experiments and learning.
The basic focus of STEM education is to educate students to realize how STEM subjects can simplify their lives and implied in our daily life. Children motivated for the future and get excited to find new things and grow with their learning experiences.
The above mentioned 7 methods are a great way to create a STEM learning environment. If you want to promote the STEM skills, instill the purpose of STEM learning and encourage the students to be the next great innovator.