It is critical that elementary school students get STEM education early and consistently. As the University of Nevada reports,
“In addition to developing an interest and knowledge base for STEM and enhanced inquiry skills, experts say that science instruction improves abilities in subjects outside of STEM, including literacy, language-learning, math, and executive functioning”. STEM programs and STEM kits can help elementary school students succeed in a technologically-driven world and utilize the skill sets in all areas of their lives, while encouraging problem-solving, collaborative thinking, and experimentation.
At Kid Spark Education, we support STEM learning during this important time with our STEM labs through our programming. Through our Foundational Fluencies and STEM Pathways programs, we inspire collaborative learning and a lifelong love of engineering thinking. Having the opportunity to learn hands-on and in the classroom provides the tools needed for students to grow throughout their lives and provides teachers the resources to truly act as STEM mentors. However, for teachers and administrators alike, we know it’s difficult to really see the value of adding STEM kits without understanding how they work in the classroom. With that in mind, we’ve created this guide to our elementary school programs and the value they bring to the classroom.
For students in Pre-K through the 1st grade, Kid Spark Education focuses on helping young students develop necessary competencies that prepare them for a lifetime of STEM learning. While many children get the opportunity to learn these fluencies at home, this program helps fill in critical gaps that may exist, especially for underserved and underrepresented students.
All children are natural designers, but they need to become familiar with the foundations of STEM learning in order to think like engineers and scientists. Regardless of their age, all children must acquire these basic fluencies to make sense of more advanced STEM learning opportunities, and to be successful in a technologically-driven world.
Foundational Fluencies STEM Lab
At Kid Spark Education, we help Pre-K - 1st Grade students learn and absorb these concepts with our Foundational Fluencies STEM Lab. The carefully curated materials in the lab are designed with collaboration in mind by being child-friendly and unintimidating. With the lab, even the most inexperienced students can quickly and easily build sophisticated prototypes, and increase their confidence in STEM. This lab also serves up to two students.
The STEM kit includes:
- Engineering Materials- 45 large-scale building components, 50 small-scale building components
- Printed Curriculum Booklets- Includes teacher preparation materials, unit overviews, lesson plans, project building plans, and unit assessments
- Case with Transparent Lid- Includes inventory & organization guide to easily locate and manage materials in the lab
With four units of instruction included with each kit, the STEM kit includes a unit overview, four lesson plans, and a unit assessment. Lessons average 30 - 35 minutes and include opportunities for students to apply what they have learned through creative challenges.
2nd - 5th Grade
In Kid Spark’s 2nd - 5th Grade STEM Program, students experience real-life engineering as they explore applied mathematics, mechanical & structural engineering, and robotics & coding.
Having already built a foundation of understanding STEM fluencies, students focus on concepts such as how to make things strong, how to make things move, how to measure, how to use a design and engineering process to solve a challenge, and how to design and program robotic systems. As students progress through the program, they gain confidence in their ability to author with technology to solve real-world problems and design new solutions.
STEM Pathways Lab
The STEM Pathways Lab covers a broad range of technologies and curriculum for students in 2nd - 5th Grade. Students get hands-on learning as they explore concepts in structural and mechanical engineering, applied mathematics, and coding and robotics.
Each lab is designed to accommodate students working collaboratively in teams of 2 - 4 students and includes:
- Engineering Materials- A large assortment of structural building components, articulating components, and robotics and electronic components.
- Spark:Bit Robotics Controller- At the heart of the STEM Pathways Lab is Spark:bit, a Micro:bit-based robotics controller that can be combined with sensors, motors, and other Kid Spark engineering materials to create interactive, robotics systems. Students with little to no coding experience start with simple drag and drop coding and can transition to text-based coding when they are ready.
- Case with Transparent Lid- Includes inventory & organization guide to easily locate and manage materials in the lab.
With five units of instruction included in each kit, STEM Pathways includes a unit overview, multiple hands-on lessons, and a unit assessment. All lessons follow Kid Spark’s convergent to divergent learning format, which allows students to learn new content and then apply what they have learned through creative invention challenges.
Ready to Add PreK-5 STEM Labs at Your School?
Of course, this is just a quick overview of our STEM kits and elementary school programming. If you’re interested in learning more about adding Kid Spark Education programs at your school, we’d be happy to talk to you about this further.
With Kid Spark, students learn to see like designers and think like engineers, so that they have the skills to change the world. Ultimately these experiences help students develop a lasting interest in STEM for years to come. Learn all about our Elementary and Middle School STEM programming here. If you would like to bring Kid Spark Education to your classroom, purchase programs here.