Why Elementary Needs STEM Integration

Post by ETT Instructor Shawn O’Neill

As educators we know that incorporating STEM into our elementary classrooms has benefits that reach far beyond just science and mathematics.(1)  When we provide our classroom with hands-on STEM activities, students are not only learning about science, technology, engineering, and math; they are learning many important skills that will continue to benefit them in all aspects of their lives. Skills that include problem solving, teamwork and collaboration,  critical thinking, resilience, perseverance and most importantly, creativity.

By including STEM activities, such as engineering challenges, hands-on experiments and coding, into our curriculum, we are giving our students the opportunity to develop these crucial skills, whether they choose to pursue a career in the STEM field or not. Incorporating STEM practices into our classrooms provides students with opportunities to experiment, use their creativity and more importantly, fail safely and learn to try again. 

STEM occupations are projected to grow faster than any other job field, jumping an estimated average of 10.8% between now and 2031.(2) These careers are in high demand, however, only about 11% of these jobs are held by men and women of color.(3) Women are also grossly underrepresented in this field. So how do we change these statistics? Many would argue that this change begins in our elementary schools. Offering these opportunities to our youngest learners is easier than you may think, and leads to a more equitable, inclusive classroom, allowing all students to thrive.   

  1. “Making STEM Accessible to All”. Edutopia. 9 July, 2018. Making STEM Accessible to All | Edutopia
  2. “STEM Day: Explore Growing Careers”. U.S. Department of Labor Blog. 4 Nov. 2022. STEM Day: Explore Growing Careers | U.S. Department of Labor Blog
  3. NSF, 2018 Our Impact

In Shawn O’Neill’s summer course (included in the Summer Learning Pass) you will learn that Integrating STEM into your elementary curriculum is far easier than you might think! In this engaging session, teachers will learn about the importance of incorporating STEM in the classroom. Participants will be creating STEM based activities as well as have access to an activity folder provided by the instructor.

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