A variety of methods for teaching STEM exist, including project-based learning, flipped learning and the 5E model, and it can be difficult to know how to construct your lesson when you are new to the subject. Read on to gather a few pieces of advice to include in your STEM lessons to make sure your students get the most out of what you are offering.
Don’t Punish Mistakes
The heaviest focus in STEM education is hands-on learning. One of the most important things to remember when constructing a lesson is to accommodate for mistakes and failure in the grading system. The goal is for students to take chances and try something new when creating. However, the fear of being penalized often makes students less inclined to do just that. To encourage a healthy learning environment, it is important to make a flexible grading scale that is designed to grade on effort rather than if the project turns out perfectly. Typically when a more effort-rewarded system is in place, you will see better results from your students.
Make Opportunities for Creativity
STEM lessons should be driven by creativity. The ideal situation is to have students constantly “making” when they are in the classroom, whether they are creating a prototype of their own engineering or they are coding a robot to 3D print a cool design. Often projects like this already have opportunities to be creative built in. However, sometimes lectures are necessary for students to fully understand the project’s needs. When lecturing, ask students to participate in creative notetaking, like sketchnotes. Not only does this offer students an opportunity to be creative, but they are also more likely to get more out of the lecture than they would through standard note taking techniques.
Keep Examples Inclusive
When you are inevitably giving lectures or doing demonstrations in your classroom, keep examples gender-neutral if possible. Often STEM tends to include a male bias, and working to break that trend is crucial to encourage more female interest. If an example must be skewed toward one gender, be sure to include another example that is geared toward the gender previously not included. Strive for balance.
Try applying these guiding tips to your own teaching style, and your STEM lessons will be in great shape for your first STEM class.
For more tips on how to design an effective STEM lesson, download and read this resource: Constructing a Successful STEM Lesson.