Kindergarten and First-grade teachers were introduced to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts during a two-day teacher training workshop I conducted recently in Louisiana. We started off the two-day inquiry-based STEM training by discussing STEM philosophy, critical thinking in the classroom, reflective journaling, and the engineering design process. Teachers conducted numerous hands-on-minds-on inquiry-based STEM investigations throughout the two-day session. A key component of my STEM trainings are spent on conveying the need for teachers to design STEM investigations that are student-driven versus teacher driven. It’s not easy for teachers to release control of the classroom, especially at the Kindergarten and First-Grade level. However, the implementation of student-driven STEM investigations is a natural for the primary level classrooms. Teachers were introduced to the following concepts during the two-day teacher training session:
- Stem philosophy and practices;
- Critical thinking in the STEM classroom;
- Designing and implementing student driven vs. teacher driven STEM investigations;
- Reflective journaling in the STEM classroom;
- Identifying patterns and shapes in nature and man-made structures;
- Building 2 and 3-D structures with simple materials;
- Floating and sinking;
- Boat building and testing;
- Architectural engineering concepts;
- Blocks in the STEM classroom;
- Designing and building self-sustaining ecosystems to house backyard invertebrates;
- Reverse engineering;
- and Ramp science.
The photos below will give you a bird’s eye-view of how engaged teachers were during the two-day STEM teacher training session. Once again, it was a great group of teachers who left motivated and ready to implement STEM investigations within their own classrooms.