Guest Post: STEM in the Classroom by Miss Tech Queen


This month, I am excited to bring back the monthly guest blog post! STEM has always
been one of my favorite ways to promote hands on and engaging learning in my classroom.
Today, Dena from Miss Tech Queen is sharing some ways to use STEM activities in the
classroom.
Hi! I am Dena from New Jersey. I am currently an enrichment/gifted & talented teacher
for grades K-4, which allows me to work with 360 students each week. I was a computer
teacher for three years and have also taught special education. Using STEAM activities
in my classroom allows students to demonstrate creativity while designing. STEAM
incorporates teamwork, fine motor skills, problem-solving, and more.

Setting Up:
Finding basic, reusable materials is the easiest way to go. Students can infuse their
creativity in multiple ways with materials such as: Magformers, Plus Plus Blocks,
Building Bricks, wooden blocks, and more. For an easy STEM station, provide students
with task cards that allow them to recreate items. Tie in geography to allow students to
build structures from around the world. Check out my winter themed task cards as an
example.  Provide students with various materials to build their sight words and numbers.
Students can draw or write about their creations, which makes it easy for you to check for
understanding!


Hands-on Learning:
Infuse hands on learning throughout your curriculum. Set a designated time for STEM,
such as Maker Mondays, Tinker Tuesdays, or Fun Fridays.  If your science unit is instructing
students to learn about animals, have students build a habitat. Provide STEM centers during
math and allow students to problem solve while building items they can measure, count, or
add up into equations. Create a STEM challenge after reading a favorite book! Be creative
and listen for an opportunity to create a building challenge for students that connects to the
book, such as stacking cups to form a cat’s hat. During Read Across America Week I always
create several building activities related to Dr. Seuss books. Tying STEM into multiple content
areas can be easy.


Technology:
Computer science is one of the most needed career fields and an important area for us
to expose our students to. Students can begin to explore coding as young as pre-school.
There are a wide variety of free apps that allow students to problem solve and learn that an
algorithm is simply a set of directions. My kindergarteners catch on so quickly and enjoy
using these apps! They are easy to use and allow students to drag arrows and provide
directions to various characters. Here are some of my students’ favorite apps: Code Safari,
Kodeable, Box Island, Code Karts. Hear more on these items in my Youtube video.
Another great resource is the Robot Mouse by The Learning Resources. This mouse can be programmed to follow directions. This is a great way to encourage teamwork in your classroom, as students work together to control the robot. The buttons and colors on the mouse make it easy for young students to click and explore. Students build their own maze and use direction cards to get their mouse through.
                   
I hope you are motivated to begin exploring STEM further in your classroom. The future
starts with our students, so let’s help prepare them! Please do not hesitate to reach out to
me through email or Instagram with any questions. A big thanks to Kristina for always being
so kind and helpful.

-Dena

Miss Tech Queen



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