Looking to add a little excitement to your Science classes? Searching for some lesson plan inspiration to celebrate the upcoming 20th anniversary of Science Week (November 8th to 15th)? No problem. Apart from the brilliant Science Week website there is a veritable virtual smorgasbord of STEM resources available on the web covering all levels and offering detailed lesson plans, multi-media resources and printables; all with the aim of sparking students’ interest in STEM.
One of the better websites promoting STEM I’ve come across is Teachers Try Science. It’s a great resource for teachers looking to integrate STEM into their lessons in interesting and engaging ways by using a multi-disciplinary approach to learning; promoting creativity, collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking.
“A STEM integrated lesson will: stimulate critical thinking and apply inquiry skills; apply mathematical and technological solutions to engineering problems; may apply science concepts from more than one science discipline; recognize that more than one approach to problem solving may be valid; may require alternative measures of assessment; recognize that different students approach a problem or topic from different entry points; recognize that prior knowledge may determine the approach the student takes to the problem; and that sometimes the research question simply generates many more questions.”
Not just simply a list of lessons plans, the site also offeres “how to” tutorials, teaching strategies covering a range of subjects and an online community to connect with teachers globally, share ideas and find inspiration. One of the best features though is the search facility which allows you to filter you search for lesson plans by:
- Curriculum By Country/Region/State
- Contributed Content
- Target Grade
- Estimated Time Required
At present there are no lesson plans associated with the Irish primary or post primary curriculum.
There’s also an additional students’ space – Kids Try Science, a complete STEM experiment repository where all learning content is based on the US Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for K12, covering:
- Earth Sciences
- Social Sciences
- Medicine & Health
- Biological Sciences
- Space Sciences
- Physical Sciences
- Technology & Engineering
One of my favourite lesson plans is “How to Build Your Own Robot Arm” which can be adapted for all levels. Using only a list of readily available household items, teams are split into three or four students and given the brief together with available materials. They are challenged to design and build a working robot arm. This task is all about collaboration, problem solving issues and overcoming engineering and design challenges along the way. At the end the team is then asked to answer a series of reflective questions – a strengths/weaknesses analysis of their design and the design process. The whole lesson comes with additional supports including a PowerPoint presentation, video workshop and student worksheet.
Don’t forget if you’re organising an event for Science Week the events calendar is now open for registrations!