You may have noticed on my Instagram I am often posting our latest STEM challenge. You may be thinking what is a STEM challenge? Why do a STEM challenge? Why does she love them so much?
STEM challenge stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It is a group challenge that is set that includes using aspects of these subjects aswell as cooperative learning and team play! Sometimes these challenges can be adapted to a STEAM challenge, this is when Art is added!
I have found STEM challenges have improved the ability for students to work together, problem solve, communicate clearly, encourage one another and most importantly work as a team. STEM challenges obviously help use their knowledge and skills in engineering, science, technology and mathematics in a practical way.
Basically they are given a task with a specific purpose, having a mountain fun and working collaboratively to solve the problem. Something we all have to learn to do when we join the workforce. Students are given a set time frame, and materials. They are able to use all materials or only some. At the end we look at who completed the challenge and what obstacles they found. We also have a team work discussion, talking about how we can improve our cooperation skills.
Some examples of STEM challenges I have completed with my class are:
– Creating a freestanding balloon tower with 10 balloons and a piece of masking tape.
– Creating a slingshot to send an army soldier the furtherest using 5 ice block sticks, a plastic cup, two rubber bands, tape and a piece of string.
– Creating a Tinfoil boat that will hold the most marbles without sinking with one piece of tinfoil.
– Creating an egg carrier for a running race.
The ideas are endless! Why not try one these school holidays with the kids?