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Why STEM for All?
 
Jobs in STEM span a wide range of career and educational paths.  Opportunities exist for high-school students in this field of study regardless of whether they complete a specialized training program, or earn an associate, bachelor, or advanced degree.  Therefore, it is essential that we as educators find ways to include reluctant and struggling students into STEM.  Teachers, whether at the elementary, middle, or high school level, can engage students in purposeful learning.  Now that you have been back to school for a few weeks, you have an idea who will actively participate and who tries to blend in without an active learning role.  Here are some considerations for increasing the engagement of all. 

Confidence is Key
 Confidence and learning go hand in hand.  Students who struggle are more likely to participate when they feel a part of the process.  Learning each student’s strengths and utilizing that to encourage participation is one way to promote the voluntary inclusion of even the reluctant learner. Engagement increases as students build their confidence in their abilities to navigate new material through discovery, questioning and collaboration.  As students build confidence in their ability to contribute, they develop a sense of agency, which is sense of pride and enthusiasm from having had direct participation in the learning process.  
 
Benefits of Using Visual Tools
Include visuals when introducing content to the class.  Related videos, infographics, photos, and illustrations reinforce concepts visually that may not have been initially understood in written or verbal form.  This more comprehensive approach to learning serves as an effective way to build confidence in all students.  Additionally, support students in making curricular connections by having them illustrate how they visualize a concept and explain how they relate their visual to the lesson.  This contributes to greater sense making and deeper comprehension. 
 
Incorporating Varied Teaching Approaches
While STEM often requires collaboration, communication, and working with others, occasionally there are students, for a number of reasons, who are more productive working independently. Support these students in making positive contributions to the team through roles such as researcher, videographer, or editor.  Additionally, verbal and non-verbal students alike, can collaborate and communicate via a variety of apps that allow real-time sharing. Two of those are Padlet or iBrainstorm.  Each allows instant communication between groups.  In fact, iBrainstorm allows collaboration of words and illustrations in real time.  This allows for interdependence while maintaining personal space and individual thinking. 
 
STEM for All
 STEM opportunities exist for a wide range of student abilities and interests.  Every student needs to feel they are confident of learning as well as capable of pursuing the post high school education and training required for a career.  Consider how you can identify a student’s strengths; use visual aids and incorporate varied learning approaches to engage even your reluctant learners. Their future success may depend on it.
 
Professional Development Opportunities

Online Courses for K12 Math Educators
Information on courses beginning September 2016 now available.

10 Session STEM Instructional Leadership Training
Currently accepting new teams to participate in iSTEM:  an in-depth, 10-day, instructional leadership experience for STEM educators preparing to understand and implement engineering practices as identified in the South Carolina Curriculum Standards and national standards documents. 

8 Session Cognitive Coaching Seminar
Inquires are being accepted for Cognitive CoachingSM,  a research-based 8-day foundations training seminar.  Participants meet once per month starting in September 2016.  The mission of Cognitive CoachingSM is to produce self-directed persons with the cognitive capacity for excellence both independently and as members of a community.  Cognitive CoachingSM is recommended for anyone within an educational environment from teachers to superintendents.

Take a Bite Out of Science:  Teacher Enrichment Program
September 14, 2016 4:30pm - 8:00 pm, Columbia, SC
Registration is required as space is limited.
A free interactive event.  Bringing together middle and high school teachers with leading scientists and/or engineers.


Seeking STEM Mentors for the 4H Youth Science Team Program
STEM Mentors will form an adult team and will be trained by the program coordinator. Once trained, the STEM Mentors will meeting twice a month with a group of high school students.  Groups forming in Greenville, Spartanburg and Gaffney.


Register Now for Fall Conferences (registration closes Sunday, September 18th)

September 26 - 28, 2016 (3-Day Institute)
The Next Steps Institute:  "Next Steps for STEM Learning and Leadership In and Out of School"
Charleston Convention Center, Charleston, SC
 
September 26, 2016 (1-Day Event) – Focused on the Every Student Succeeds Act
The Next Steps Institute:  "Next Steps for STEM Learning and Leadership In and Out of School"
Charleston Convention Center, Charleston, SC

 

Visit STEM Linx to learn about more STEM events and opportunities around the state.
Strategy of the Month
 
is a strategy that is used after students have had opportunities to learn about a concept or topic and gives learnersa creative and unique way to visually represent their understanding.  Use of the strategy may also bring misconceptions or incompleteunderstanding to light.  Students are presented with a question and must design a drawing with no notes or labels that describes their thinking and answers the question. Learning is supported in at least two ways: 1) when students plans and create the actual picture, and 2)
when students describe and explain their representations to others.


For more, visit the S2TEM Centers SC Disciplinary Literacy Virtual Library.

What S2TEM Centers SC clients say about their Professional Learning Experience...


" We will implement the STEM project we created today throughout this school year."
Jill Piers, Teacher
Kinard, Clover
STEM School Support Project (3SP)
 
"It really helped me to think of ideas that i can use in my classroom to implement the new standards."
Michael, Teacher
Ware Shoals Middle School, Greenwood 51
SEPs and the 2014 Science Standards

"Today's information will thoroughly drive my instruction throughout the year."
 
Teacher
Townville Elementary, Anderson 4
SEPs and the 2014 Science Standards
 

Copyright © 2016 South Carolina's Coalition for Mathematics & Science at Clemson University, All rights reserved.




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