There are several important things to keep in mind when selecting an integrated STEM lesson and preparing to engage students in integrated STEM education. When selecting an activity keep the mathematical objectives in mind. It is important that grade level mathematical topics can be used and that they are aligned to the mathematical objectives. This can be done by anticipating possible student solutions to the tasks. If students do not use the all the intended mathematics, teachers can share additional ways of thinking about the task and make connections to students’ ideas. It is also important to consider if students will understand the problem context. If the problem involves an unfamiliar realistic context, this could hinder students’ work. If teachers are new to integrated steM education, another important point is to select classroom-tested lessons. These may also include possible student solutions to help with anticipating. Students can be supported to productively engage in integrated STEM education with messages before participating, while participating, and after participating in integrated steM. Teachers can share the following messages with students to prepare them for the work they will do. - There is more than one right answer to this problem.
- There is not one type of person that can only do integrated STEM. Everyone can contribute.
- Make sure everyone in your group understands your solution.
- Use multiple ways to demonstrate your solution; pictures, graphs, tables, symbols, words, and/or equations.
While students are working, teachers can monitor the groups to see what ideas groups are using. Teachers can also provide feedback to ensure groups work well together. The following messages are important to reinforce while groups work. - Keep in mind what the problem is asking you for.
- Make sure everyone in your group understands the solution.
- Check if your solution makes sense in the realistic situation.
- Try to improve your solution
- Make sure your mathematics is correct.
When the time for groups to work is complete, students will be interested in hearing how other groups solved the problem. Teachers can let students know to listen for connections between the ideas. Students can also be given time to reflect on what mathematics they used, how well they understand it, and how well they did working in a group. In summary, it is important to carefully select tasks by anticipating possible student ideas, utilizing cooperative learning, supporting students with important messages about integrated steM education, and having whole class discussion on students’ ideas
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## Micah StohlmannChristian, author, and professor of mathematics education. ## Archives
September 2020
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