Often when you first begin teaching STEM courses, you are tasked with researching an extraordinary amount of resources and technologies that you can buy to create a good hands-on STEM learning experience. However, these choices do not have to be overwhelming. With a variety of ways to be cost effective, while still creating a great opportunity for your students, you can create a STEM program without breaking your budget.
In this post, we will explore how to do just this.
Be a Smart Shopper
One of the best ways to stay on budget when shopping for STEM technology is to compare each type of technology with those that are similar to find not only the best deal, but also the best fit for your classroom. It is important to search for items that have the most value. Determine which items have the most functionality and usability for their price. Certain technologies, such as robots or circuit kits, can be used for multiple lessons. At the end of the day, you want to get the most for what you’re willing to pay.
Look for Grants
Additionally, there are a variety of offerings for the funding of educational STEM projects, ranging from the federal and state governments to local organizations. Utilizing grants will allow you to get the technology you desire for your classroom without going over your budget. Whether they cover the entire project or just a portion, any extra funding will give you more opportunity to buy new classroom technology. Grants make the goal of staying on budget much more achievable.
Aim for the Middle
While having at least one type of high-tech equipment in the classroom is important for developing certain STEM skills, there are plenty of low-cost options that will help you stay within your budget. While more cost prohibitive STEM tools allow for systems thinking and computer-aided design, basic objects you can likely already find around your classroom are also incredibly useable. Consider utilizing blocks, wooden dowel rods, and pipe cleaners for projects. By offering an equal balance of high tech and low tech making tools, students will get the proper hands-on learning experience they need to be successful.
Incorporating STEM into your classroom doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. By exploring your options and balancing your purchases, you can meet your budget while still providing a healthy learning environment for students.
Get more details about weighing the options of a STEM purchase in this resource: Justifying a STEM Purchase. Learn more about where to find these grant opportunities by checking out Finding Grants for STEM Educators.