STEM challenges are not recipes to follow, step-by-step
instructions that guide students in creating identical
projects, or processes that lead them to the same
outcome. STEM is about allowing students to apply their
content knowledge, creativity, critical thinking, and other
skills as they work to solve a problem and create
a solution.
STEM challenges will take time, so plan accordingly.
Squeezing it in or treating STEM practices as “extra”
may communicate that the skills and practices are not
valuable. Our attitudes and beliefs are important as
teachers; who we are informs who our students become.
According to Hoffer, “If we model optimism, confidence,
and courage about STEM in our classroom each day,
students will absorb those” (2016, p. 3).
It is our hope that the STEM challenges included in this
book will help you teach 21st century skills and STEM
thinking, that these practices become a natural part
of your classroom, and that STEM becomes a way of
thinking and planning for you.
© 2019 Region 4 Education Service CenterSTEMulating Design Challenges in Science, Grades 3–5
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