Regardless of the approach, elementary schools need to find as many way as possible to capture the science interest of students. Having built out programs in many elementary (and middle) schools, here are some bits of advice:
Get teachers on board. It often takes only a few short conversations to embark on a new idea, with early adopters ready to jump on board and take flight. It is easier to light a fire under someone’s spark and have them take the idea and run with it.
Get the parents on board. Once there are a few teachers ready to design a MakerSpace or explore a new curricular program, find key parents who can provide support. In some situations, resources may be needed and parents often sit on committees like School Site Councils or foundations that can help prioritize the funding.
Find the quick wins. As a new program is in the design phase, share the early wins. Are the kids excited? Are conversations at home about what is taking place at school? If so, share those stories! And then share them some more. Let the positive energy and attention promote the work.
Celebrate along the way. Program implementation and change can be difficult. As the fruits of the team’s labor become evident, share at PTA meetings, in district newsletters, with the newspaper, in public service announcements at the movie theater, and more.
Gather the data. As implementation takes place, what can you measure to show evidence of success? Consider both the qualitative and quantitative approaches to tell the story of the impact on student achievement, interest and engagement.
STEM has been around for years, but there is nothing in looking forward that says it will become a thing of the past. Our nation needs strong thinkers and the foundation students can obtain in elementary school can transcend their years in public education and the rest of the subjects they encounter.
STEM is here to stay.
Reposted from my blog - May 4, 2016.