STEM design 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.

Design 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 design challenges included in this book will help you teach STEM

fluency 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.

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