Texas Early Childhood Teachers Explore STEM Practices and ContentBy Diana Wehrell-Grabowski on January 25, 2017 in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education, Teacher Training Workshops
I had the pleasure of introducing early childhood educators of the Texas Panhandle to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) practices and content during a day-long workshop. Teachers were introduced to STEM practices which include teaching via inquiry-based methods, project and problem-based learning, engineering design process, incorporating 21st century skills, incorporating technology, and more.
We started off the session with focusing on the basic foundational principles of STEM which include: striving to develop a student-driven classroom, teaching via inquiry-based practices, incorporating 21st century skills, and developing STEM lessons that make connections among all 4 disciplines, as well as incorporating the engineering design process, incorporating children’s literature and more.
Young children are natural born scientists and engineers thus, incorporating STEM explorations in the early childhood classroom makes perfect sense. It’s never too early to incorporate opportunities for young children to explore the STEM disciplines and careers.
Teachers were actively engaged in conducting hands-on-minds-on inquiry-based STEM explorations which included: conducting mini engineering design challenges such as building structures with readily available materials (clothes pins, craft sticks, and binder clips), and building ramps with paper and insulation tubing. Additionally, teachers were introduced to a wide-array of meaningful technology that can be incorporated into the early childhood classroom such as: which included: magnifying lenses, digital microscopes, simple pan scales, levels, rulers, tape measures, magnets, tweezers, pipettes and more. Teachers were also introduced to a couple new coding learning toys that are on the market to introduce young children to the basics of coding. Two of the coding toys teachers were introduced included: Fisher Price Code-A-Pillar and Click and Go Mouse by Learning Resources. I give both of these introductory coding toys a thumbs up for a method of introducing young children to the “basics of coding skills”.
It was a great training session, the teachers had a wonderful time exploring STEM practices and content. I am certain that the attendees will be incorporating STEM experiences within their early childhood classroom shortly, as well as re-thinking some of their current teaching strategies. For more information about the science and STEM teacher training and interactive keynotes Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski provides nation and worldwide contact her via the contact page on this website. The following photos provide snippets of the STEM teacher training session for early childhood teachers.