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STEM Guidance for a first year teacher

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Bernardo Vega Bernardo Vega 590 Points

Hello, I am a Dominican University senior in search of input. As a first year elementary education teacher what is the best tool in building confidence in teaching STEM content and what are the best resources for guidance as to how to effectively implement and integrate STEM within their classrooms. 

Angela Magnelli Angela Magnelli 840 Points

Hi Bernardo, you posed a great topic and question about how to effectively integrate STEM content into classrooms as a first year teacher. Although I haven’t had much experience with this myself (since I am still studying to become a teacher as well), I have found some resources that might be useful. One of them is an article, linked here, about the value of incorporating STEM kits and tactiles into science lessons. STEM kits can be filled with legos, manipulatives, and other materials of the teachers choice. These bins/kits are a great way to spark student interest and engagement in STEM content. Another idea is to create STEM-based activities that allow students to build and construct their own prototypes. As a soon-to-be first year teacher like you, I plan to collaborate often with other educators in the designing and planning of these activities. Collaborating and partnering with other educators on this endeavor will definitely be a priority for me, especially in my beginning years. I hope some of this is helpful!

Faranica Reynolds Faranica Reynolds 230 Points

Hi Angela, 

As an inspiring teacher myself, I found your reply to Bernardo very informative. I'm currently in graduate school, studying the STEM/STEAM content. Although it may seem intimidating, there are lots of resources and kits (as you shared) to aid in integrating STEM/STEAM. As you mentioned, 'Collaborating and partnering with other educators on this endeavor will definitely be a priority for me, especially in my beginning years.' I agree collaborating with other teachers, will provide the best insight and input, for a first-year teacher. 

Maxwell Milller Maxwell Milller 10 Points

Hi Angela! My name is Max Miller, and I am currently a fourth-year elementary education major at Wartburg College. Your response to Bernardo was extremely informative. I love your idea of using legos in STEM, as a person who used to build with legos all of the time, it's strange that I didn't think of having some in my classroom to use for modeling. As for your idea of building prototypes, I am currently working on a unit design featuring the engineering design process and building prototypes. However, I have similar concerns to Bernardo, I sometimes still lack confidence in my own work, even though I have a lot of great ideas to facilitate student learning! What would be some advice to build up my confidence as an educator, and what are some resources to use for a lesson about the engineering design process?

Brandon Redina Brandon Redina 1465 Points

Hi Bernardo,

Oneof my favorite ways to engage students with science is a website called it has a lot of great topices and 'mystery doug' videos that keep students involved with topics that will keep a variety of elementary level students engaged! Wish you the best in your teaching journeY, here's a link to the website:

Mystery Science


Annelise Gruppi Annelise Gruppi 323 Points

Hi! Thank you for the tip! It is so nice how organized they are. We can find the lesson and also the link to buy with the material.

Annie Dietz Annie Dietz 715 Points

Hello Bernardo, my name is Annie Dietz. I am a preservice teacher at Wartburg College, studying to become a high school Biology teacher. When it comes to building your confidence in teaching STEM content it is important to have confidence in yourself! One thing that I have learned throughout field experience and teaching lessons of my own is the importance of having confidence in yourself. Also, being enthusiastic when teaching STEM content will help to keep students engaged. They will be interested in the topic if you are!   

Lauren Cramer Lauren Cramer 2025 Points

Annie I wholeheartedly agree with your post here. This is great advice!!

Lily Aulwes Lily Aulwes 735 Points

Hello Bernardo, I am a preservice teacher at Wartburg college currently taking Scientific Methods where we focus a lot on STEM in schools. I think the best tool to build confidence in teaching STEM is through trial and error. The more you can practice teaching STEM the better you will be at it. This may be tough at first because you may fail but that’s what makes you better. You can learn from those experiences and change the lesson to fix what didn’t go so well. Another thing that I think will help you build confidence in teaching STEM is being prepared. If you are prepared for your lesson, you will head into it with more confidence than if you weren’t prepared. It is better to be overly prepared, especially at the beginning! I think that the best resources you can find for teaching STEM maybe those on this forum. We are all teachers or preservice teachers who are trying their best to incorporate STEM into our busy schedules. Asking questions here will allow you to get the resources to be successful. Good Luck and I hope everything runs smoothly for you!

Cindy Hasselbring Cindy Hasselbring 125 Points

Hi Bernardo, I am sorry for my very late reply. This is a great question and good for you that you are willing to ask it so early in your career!  I agree with what some of the others have said. One thing about being a new teacher that you might find helpful is surrounding yourself with others who you can bounce ideas off of, feel comfortable asking questions, etc. I think it is easy to expect a lot of yourself and sometimes, it takes a few tries for lessons and activities to run as smoothly as you want them to.  If you are looking for a community of educators to swap ideas with and find STEM activities that are engaging for students, I would encourage you to join NASA's community of practice for educators,  This community gives you access to NASA's many STEM resources, including lesson plans and activities that are easy to use and will engage your students. 

Kalleasha Collins Kalleasha Collins 950 Points

Hello Faranica,

  I agree with your response to Angela. 

Another guideline I would give is at the beginning of a school year is an opportune time to establish Standard operation Procedures (SOP) before labs and hands-on activities. Taking the time to get students acclimated to the SOPs makes for a more efficient learning environment. Middle-grade students can be very active and impulsive guidelines help minimize potential accidence. Teachers' classroom management impacts how well students will adhere to the SOPs. 

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