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Key Methods to Boost Engagement in K-12 STEM

K-12 STEM
Date Feb 14, 2022

STEM education at an early age is vital to preparing students for the modern world. It can shape how kids get interested in dynamic career paths and promote more diverse and constructive interests. But STEM education prioritizes more than just teaching science, technology, engineering, and math. While those subjects have been taught in the past, STEM education encourages techniques that boost engagement in the learning process. As these subjects are implemented in K-12 learning, engagement methods need to be employed as well. Here are some ways to boost engagement in STEM education.

 Hands-on learning

 STEM stands out because of its emphasis on hands-on learning. Students are taught how to conduct their science experiments, work on projects, and construct things. As a result, students are interested and invested in their studies. Hands-on projects have several advantages: they connect the lesson to real-world applications, they provide students a sense of success by providing a physical product of their classwork, and they allow students to work independently and find their solutions rather than relying on a book. These advantages will help youngsters retain knowledge, motivate them to be more engaged in these areas in college and beyond, and provide them with the tools they need to construct their projects.

 Give pupils control over the tools they will utilize

Because hands-on projects are so crucial in STEM, it might be beneficial to get kids acquainted with the instruments they will be using in several projects. Allowing people to design, control, or alter the tools themselves can help them become more invested in their job. They can walk away from their STEM projects with a concrete outcome, such as a measuring or construction tool, a coding environment or IDE for programming, or a cheat sheet for arithmetic or computer science. Giving students these materials allows them to continue working on their projects rather than just leaving them with the finished output.

Teach stories about people

 If STEM subjects lack personality and relatability, adding lessons that concern real people and their achievements can help. STEM thrives on real-life connections, and that extends to more than just the objects that can be created with science and technology. Some students may not relate to the more abstract concepts of STEM, but they can connect to the people who have achieved great things. Incorporate lessons about famous scientists and inventors and why they became interested in scientific fields so students can have the same realization and relate to them. When possible, recreate famous experiments and achievements performed by people like Galileo, Newton, and Einstein. 

 Encourage creativity and independence

 Especially in their teenage years, students are trying to express themselves and become independent from their parents. STEM educators can tap into this by allowing students to have more say in their education and make meaningful choices. Letting them choose project subjects in STEM classes is one way to accomplish this. Hands-on projects like the one STEM encourages are much more open to adaptation and creativity than textbook and test-based assessments. More creativity will boost engagement and enjoyment from students. 

 Reward teamwork and communication

 Working in groups helps kids learn to exchange knowledge, solve issues, and improve their social skills. These abilities are critical for kids pursuing STEM professions. It’s also an excellent technique to increase student involvement in a class by making them work hard to defend their decisions to others and achieve a solution. This will also teach kids to appreciate tasks that cannot be completed by one person alone and require cooperation, which will motivate them to seek out on their own to establish project teams and organizations.

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