What is the best way to introduce science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through literacy lessons in kindergarten?
—Y., New Mexico
To young children education is a single entity—they don’t make distinctions between disciplines until adults get involved! I think teachers of young children can easily capitalize on their innate curiosity and willingness to experiment to incorporate science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or any combination of them into almost any other activity.
A wonderful way to integrate the subjects is through solving engineering problems. Many excellent children’s books include all manner of scientific phenomena and topics. Check out NSTA’s Learning Center for dozens of ideas for kindergarten. NSTA’s Picture Perfect series provides amazing resources to use with some popular children’s books.
For example, after reading a story about birds a simple activity like, “Let’s build a bird’s nest” can inspire young students to think hard as they experiment with materials to keep eggs safe. Use the engineering design process to get students to analyze their creations and propose improvements. Reporting on what they have tried, their conclusions about different materials, and a description of the design they ended up with will be a excellent ways to teach communication, physical properties, measurement, gathering data, research, drawing, and more. They can compare their crafted items with real bird nests and propose why they are the same or different. Along this journey they communicate with their team members, learn new vocabulary, and work on fine-motor skills.
Hope this helps!
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