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STEM Education and the Elementary Student Author: Tim Rhine, Elementary Principal
My grandmother was born in the late 1800’s and went home to be with the Lord just shy of 105 years later. Just imagine the number of innovations she experienced in her lifetime. When she was born the fastest method of transportation was the train. In 1898, if she boarded a train, it would take her anywhere from 3-5 weeks to get to California. But, by the time she passed away 104 years later the same trip, in an airplane, would have taken only a few hours.
These changes happened because of problem solvers, the driver of innovation. Unfortunately one of the direct results of problem solvers making life easier is that life is far more comfortable making us less likely to see a problem and try to find a solution to fix it. Think about it this way parents; your son or daughter is hungry, how easy is it today for you to provide an immediate response to their hunger? Just think of the choices. Too often students come to a bump in the road and quit or ask mom or dad to fix it. We must get back to training our children to be problem solvers and not rely on others to do if for us. We need to foster critical thinking through problem solving. “Teaching STEM in the elementary grades opens the door for teachers and students to become tomorrow’s movers and shakers” (Importance of STEM Education in Elementary School, n.d.).
Elementary teachers are instructors of all content areas providing them opportunities to integrate STEM lessons across the curriculum. For example they could study a character in a story that faces a problem and before the students get to the end of the story they could work together in teams to design a solution to the characters problem. “The principles of STEM – critical thinking, asking good questions, observation and exploration – are truly at the heart of every discipline” (Expert Tips and Tricks for Elementary STEM Education, 2013).
God made man with the ability to think, reason, and learn. I am excited about impact STEM will have on IRCS students, even in the elementary school. Studies have identified the elementary years as the period when students form their interests in STEM identities and careers—much earlier than many people probably believe to be the case (McMurrer, J., 2008). Join IRCS as we work together, school, parents, and community to prepare our children to grow into the men and women God wants them to be, “thoroughly equipped with every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17, New International Version).
References: Expert Tips and Tricks for Elementary STEM Education. (2013, May 20). Retrieved from https://www.weareteachers.com/stem-its-elementary/
Importance of STEM Education in Elementary School. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://education.fsu.edu/importance-stem-education-elementary-school
McMurrer, J. (2008). Instructional time in elementary schools: A closer look at changes for specific subjects. Washington, DC: Center on Education Policy. Retrieved from http://www.cep-dc.org/displayDocument.cfm?DocumentID=309.