Generation Genius - November 2021


Forums / Elementary Science / What is STEM for K-5

Elementary Science

What is STEM for K-5

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Kathy Renfrew Kathleen Renfrew 35238 Points

Well, I think science instruction based on NGSS, gives us a good start. But I want to hear about it from experts and classroom teachers. All ideas are welcome. I just watched a short interview that I decided to share.

Teaching Engineering Resources


Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 88173 Points

I didn't find the interview very helpful, Cathy, but there are gobs of resources on engineering design for elementary students in the NLC. Here are a few of my favorite NLC resources on this topic:
Taking Engineering Design Out for a Spin
Core Ideas of Engineering and Technology
First Grade Engineers

Adah Stock Adah Stock 101510 Points

Kathy: I am not a spring chicken anymore and I seem to remember not having all these fancy electronic gadgets (toys) to entertain me. So for fun, since our TV time was limited, we use to take things apart to see how they work or build things to make something that worked (like my brother's erector-set.) The breaking apart and putting it back together was a problem solving approach because we didn't have instructions. That to me is what engineering is all about especially in the younger grades. Now we have given the right to explore on our own a term called STEM because kids today don't have that option. Last weekend we were waiting out turn for a table at a restaurant. The family before us had a 3 year old. When they left to be seated the little child was holding her iPad. Why explore when you have this wonderful (expensive) tool to entertain yourself even if you are only 3. I say limit electronics to the very young so they can go back to exploring like many of my generation used to do. So in short to answer your question, STEM for K-5 should be exploration and discovery. I will get off my soap box now. Adah

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

I agree that kids should spend time exploring on their own. My three year old grandson learns a lot by just playing with cars on a wooden ramp or playing with safe kitchen gadgets in a bowl of water. A lot of the things I remember from my childhood were experiences like these. Electronics are okay up to a point, but there should be lots of natural exploring times too.

Wendy Goldfein Wendy Goldfein 2240 Points

We have been gathering ideas and resources as well as writing STEM lessons for teachers. You are cordially invited to explore Get Caught Engineering, a resource site to help teachers and parents connect “classroom learning” with real life applications in STEM: science, technology, engineering and math. Our goal is to provide lessons, blogs, ideas, and resources for hands-on engineering experiences that excite and challenge elementary children. Website: And “like” our Facebook page to get continual updates on great engineering resources : Our Pinterest page is also filled with ideas! We are looking forward to having time this summer to add lots more lessons and resources to our collection. Check us out! Wendy and Cheryl Get Caught Engineering

Kathy Renfrew Kathleen Renfrew 35238 Points

Thank you for sharing Wendy! I think it is important that we share as many resources as possible whether it is science, engineering or mathematics. Kathy

Debbie Rexing Debbie Rexing 270 Points

Thank you for the great web site locations on engineering. It saved me time and effort.... LOVE IT!

Rachel Legerski Rachel Legerski 5545 Points

Thank you for sharing. I will be joining a new school that is currently being designed. This school will be dedicated and built around STEM principles. I am eager to get my hands on as many resources as I can!

Sarah Perkins Sarah Perkins 3165 Points

Those are some great resources. I am a student teacher and have been assigned to teach the students about STEM careers! These resources will defiantly help me!!

Destiny Huggins Destiny Huggins 10040 Points

Thank you for sharing. I keep hearing more and more about STEM and am very interested in introducing it to my classroom.

Tommy Jerome Baxter Tommy Jerome Baxter 3645 Points

Considering the science and the engineering components when teaching science in the elementary grades has been an approach that is used by many. However, there has been some degree of resistance to the concept. As we move into the future, science, technology, engineering and mathematics integrated as one will be the approach that provides the necessary foundation for the students to become prepared for the uninvented careers of that future.

Margaret Stout Margaret Stout 3400 Points

This franchise exists - I plan to investigate it as a possible field trip for my students next year. Engineering for Kids: Don't know if anyone else has heard of it.

Adah Stock Adah Stock 101510 Points

Hi: I would like to know who is sponsoring this 'for profit site' and what their credentials are. I notice that it says Lego doesn't support this site on their home page. There are several other reputable sites such as the one from the Boston Science museum. Engineering is Elementary Check this out. I have seen their curriculum and I know it is classroom tested. I am not sure that the site you mentioned is purely for entertainment. Adah

Margaret Stout Margaret Stout 3400 Points

As I work with elementary children and they are special needs I use a couple approaches. My simple definition of an engineer is someone who makes/creates things to solve real world problems. Engineers also invent as inventions are just solutions to problems people don't they have. For my twice exceptional children (gifted/autism; gifted/behavioral) I found the Maker Faire and specifically Young Makers Being able to show my students how other kids their age are making things to solve their problems is very enticing. In fact the White House just hosted a Maker Faire These faires show kids the real world results of STEM/STEAM based instruction and thinking.

Kathy Renfrew Kathleen Renfrew 35238 Points

I am currently taking the MOOC the Art of Tinkering the Art of Tinkering and I see some great opportunities for engineering for ALL children there. We are use circuit boards, the same ones they use at the Exploratorium. I am enjoying the class and I am currently thinking about integrating it into my energy unit 4th grade,

Margaret Stout Margaret Stout 3400 Points

Hi Adah, Just to follow up on your question as to the "for profit" site concerns. If you go to the tab under about and you'll see she is a former high school engineering teacher turned entrepreneur. This is not about curriculum per se, rather it is an opportunity for young children to explore problem solving and engineering in a fun, interactive environment. From the programs page it says: "At Engineering for Kids, our programs: *Help children build problem solving skills *Encourage kids to discover how things work *Increase kids' desire to explore engineering as a career option *Motivate kids to learn math and science concepts by engaging them in real-world engineering problems" Hope that helps.

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