How to use the Engineering & Design Cycle in STEM activities for kids

“The Engineering and Design Cycle? NGSS?? First Common Core, and now this new stuff. I can barely cover all the things I need to as it is, how am I supposed to fit in another thing? And Engineering?!? I can’t teach that, I wouldn’t even know where to begin!....”

If you’re like me, you might sometimes feel a sense of overwhelm as you’re asked to do more and more in the classroom, often with less resources. But I have great news: NGSS (short for Next Generation Science Standards) may be a new abbreviation to learn, but the Engineering and Design Cycle (also known as the Engineering and Design Process) is actually something most of you are already doing in your classroom. Rather than seeing it as a list of things you have to accomplish, NGSS can be reframed as a unique way to build classroom culture that embraces STEM education. It’s a way to teach students to work together, challenge themselves, take risks, and learn from their mistakes.

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STEM Activities for Children: Tips and Tricks for Adult Mentors

After ten years of research on STEM education for preschoolers and elementary students, we've got a lot to say about the importance of block play for young children as well as the importance of STEM mentors. In fact, our research shows that mentors (teachers, parents, grandparents....) aren't simply important—they're critical in helping children feel confident and capable in STEM.

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The What, Why, and How of STEM in Elementary Education

If you’re like a lot of general education teachers, you've heard a lot about STEM education lately. Maybe you've been asked by your K-5 principal to be the school's STEM teacher but aren't sure exactly where to start, or you're just looking for ways to incorporate it into your classroom curriculum.

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Go beyond the buzzword with Kid Spark.

At Kid Spark Education, STEM isn't a buzzword: it's a powerful way to nurture students' natural curiosity; build confidence and skills in science, technology, engineering, and math; and foster abilities in collaboration, problem-solving, and communication. You, their teachers, are our most important partner in achieving our mission of preparing all children for a lifetime of learning about science and technology. The Kid Spark Blog is written by educators, for educators to be a resource in your toolbox so you can feel confident and capable in teaching STEM to your elementary students. 

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