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What We’ve Been Learning About STEM This Fall

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under STEM

by Krista Galloway of School’s Out Washington

We’re presenting a series of STEM workshops this fall, based on the Click 2 Science skills and modules, and we want to share some of what we’re learned with everyone. The first workshop was held in September, and centered on selecting high-quality STEM activities. A Google search for “STEM activities” will turn up an overwhelming number of pages, and selecting something that will meet both the needs of your group and the goals of your program takes careful consideration.

The workshop group discussed successful STEM experiences they had had and listed the elements that made these activities work, as criteria for quality STEM activities. They watched a video showing some program staff considering a number of elements for their STEM lesson plan. They dug into the STEM PQA, the Exploratorium’s Criteria, and another list from Great Science for Girls. They kept adding criteria, until they had a comprehensive list.

Next, the group put their list to the test. They participated in a typical STEM activity, NASA’s Future Flight Design Challenge, involving paper airplanes. After experiencing the activity, the workshop participants took a look at their list of criteria, and considered how the airplane activity met the criteria, where it fell short, and how it might be improved.

Finally, the group took time to explore some STEM activity websites, and used their list of criteria to evaluate the activities on the websites. There are so many to choose from, and the list that the group developed helped them to think about why they might choose one activity over another, and what to look for in an activity (or how to change one to better fit their needs). We are sharing it with you, in the hopes that it will help you select high-quality activities, too.

If you are interested in participating in a future workshop, topics will be:

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