My STEM Story

The upcoming year will be my fourth as a STEM teacher. In that time it has become my favorite thing to teach. I love the way students get totally engaged in STEM lessons and the way we can incorporate STEM into all subjects. For two years I taught it in my third-grade classroom. Last year I taught it as a block (specials) class to K-5. This year I have been assigned to Kindergarten, so I'll be teaching STEM to the little ones (and I'm thankful I had a year of that last year!). No matter what my official title is I think of myself as a STEM teacher now.

So how did it all start? With an idea that kept jiggling around in my brain. I had been reading about STEM and thinking that I should do something. At the time I was teaching third-grade math and science to two classes, so STEM seemed like something that would fit in perfectly. When I decided I wanted to give it a try I determined to have a lesson once a month. That way, I reasoned, I'd have time to collect any needed materials and plan.

I think our first STEM day was late September or early October. I don't even remember what we did, but I do remember that my kiddos - both classes - absolutely had a blast. We did another lesson in November and after that, they started begging for more. Soon we were once a week and then I became more proficient at incorporating engineering into my science lessons on a more regular basis. I also learned about Model Eliciting Activities (MEAs) and began to use them in math class.

The next year I started right away. Late in the year, I found out I was going to be able to teach STEM lab as a block class for the 2016 -2017 school year. It's my dream job! Unfortunately, last spring my school was not given that position in the budget. This year I will be a Kindergarten STEM teacher. It was sad to lose the dream job, but K STEM is a lot of fun too. I'll be incorporating activities into literacy for sure!

In the next couple weeks, I'll be sharing what I think is a huge challenge for a lot of teachers who want to STEM their class. I hope to share things that will help any of you who are starting out and encourage those who have not taken that step to move toward it. After all, we are all STEM teachers!

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