Smart Start Early Childhood Teachers Explore STEM Concepts

By on August 24, 2013 in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education, Teacher Training Workshops

Last Saturday I spent the day introducing close to 60 Early Childhood teachers from Smart Start Centers in San Jose, California to STEM#STEMTEACHERTRAINING education practices and content. What a fantastic day it was. We started off the day discussing how STEM investigations make perfect sense to incorporate into the early childhood classroom, and actually many early childhood teachers are already implementing STEM content in block building and construction centers. Teachers were then introduced to reflective journaling at the early childhood level, we progressed outside to explore patterns and shapes in nature and in man-made designs on the beautiful campus of the University of San Jose. We spent about 30 minutes outside making observations, drawing, making rubbings, collecting specimens, using a variety of technological devices such as Nabi Jr, Leap Frog Ultra Tablet, iPads, etc.. to take photos and videos of the STEM walk. We continued the session exploring the following concepts: building 3-D structures with common materials, materials science (think nature of matter), building with blocks, floating and sinking and more. Connecting early childhood literature to explore STEM concepts was integrated throughout the entire training. Iggy Peck the Architect, Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale,¬†Architectural Shapes,¬†were just a few of the books teachers incorporated into their hands-on explorations throughout the day. Throughout the day teachers were given time to write and draw in their STEM journals, and discuss with their peers the actual implementation of STEM philosophy (Engineering Design Process, the 4C’s) within their own early childhood classrooms. As the session closed, teachers left with arms full of 3-D structures, models, specimens, their STEM journals, and most important, transformed. I look forward to seeing the innovative STEM explorations that will be incorporated into the Smart Start classrooms in San Jose, California this coming school year. A big thank you goes out to the all the staff of Smart Start, San Jose for organizing my visit too.