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Last month we highlighted a documentary about why STEM is important for children with disabilities, the use of books to explore STEM learning, and how to incorporate STEM into daily play opportunities. This month, we continue the STEM series by featuring easy STEM activities to incorporate in the classroom, a video series about inclusion, and a blog post about fostering the technological aspect of STEM through honing higher order thinking skills. 

Engaging Preschoolers in STEM 

There are fun, easy ways to introduce STEM to preschoolers; this blog post highlights a number of preschool STEM activities which can engage young, curious thinkers. The author recounts how teachers in a preschool classroom noted how interested their students were in the wind. They built off the children's interests and engaged the class in an activity that explored how the wind moves different objects. A follow-up activity saw the children building cars with sails to see how they would fare in the wind. They then read books about the wind and the children partook in an engineering challenge. 

If you use personas or short vignettes in your course, have students describe or discuss how they might modify, adapt or provide special instruction so that their persona could more actively participate in the aforementioned projects.

Inclusion Video Series

STEMIE recently released a series of 3 videos on why inclusion is important. These videos are based on Dr. Phil Strain's keynotes, A brief overview of 40 years of inclusion research at the 2019 OSEP Leadership Conference. In the first video, you will learn what the literature tells us about high-quality inclusion. The second video touches upon key characteristics of high-quality inclusive education. Finally, the third video explores the social outcomes of inclusion.  

Consider asking your students: what characteristics of high-quality inclusive education do you observe in your classrooms? What further characteristics can you incorporate? 

The T in STEM

This blog post provides tips on ways to get started practicing higher order thinking and early coding foundational skills without any technology. The development of these skills can be honed though block play, read-alouds, storytelling, art, and game design. The post also provides resources to use as you look for classroom activities to support higher order thinking and coding skills.  

Relevant NAEYC Standards

This newsletter covered STEM concepts which has relevance to the following NAEYC standards:
  • Standard 2 (Curriculum): The program implements a curriculum that is consistent with its goals for children and promotes learning and development in each of the following areas: social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive.
  • Standard 3 (Teaching): The program uses developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches that enhance each child’s learning and development in the context of the curriculum goals.

DEC Recommended Practices

The DEC Recommended Practices includes a domain on instruction.

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