STEM… I’ve heard the term but am not sure what it means, yet I’m supposed to incorporate it in my classroom? If these questions and uneasiness are worrying you, have no fear. You are not the only one! At our school, STEM is not a model used regularly in the classroom, but near the end of the school year, all elementary grade levels participate in a school-wide dedication to STEM projects. These look different in each grade level, but all include similar components and follow a similar progression. This type of learning allows students to be engaged, take more ownership of their learning and practice valuable skills through student-driven inquiry.
The acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The goal of STEM activities is to connect to all four areas in a focused and intentional manner. The thinking and problem-solving skills accessed and practiced in STEM projects are valuable in preparing students for the future. These skills will guide students to success in the real world. So, though it may push educators a bit outside their comfort zones, the practice of STEM projects in the classroom supports student leaning and prepares them for the future, all in one activity.
As STEM week approaches each year, I have always had a bit of dread in trying to plan what each day will look like. The difficult parts are knowing students drive the learning (which often feels uncomfortable for teachers) and coming up with an activity that accesses STEM areas of focus, while also engaging students in working toward a common, desired goal. This is the place where teachers need help! We don’t have time to spend house online searching for the perfect project, and also don’t have the energy to create a project from scratch. Enter STEM Escape Room Games!
Whether your district is requiring STEM practices or not, student learning benefits from inquiry activities. As the fall moves into winter, what better way to ring in the holidays than with a Christmas Around the World Escape Room Game- Cracking the Classroom Code?
This product takes the time needed to search for or create STEM work off your shoulders. The entire activity simply requires some direction reading and material preparation. When following the provided directions, students enjoy worthwhile skills practice, and their teachers are thankful for the easy to prep materials. STEM activity teachers love seeing the meaningful, inquiry-based learning the product brings.
When students work through this STEM Escape Room, they focus on how Christmas is celebrated in countries around the world. The final challenge requires students to create a sleigh and ramp so that Santa can move from house to house in the quickest way possible. The STEM engineering skill is used in the sleigh and ramp plans, construction, and use. The student work session is timed by their teacher, a suggested 60 minutes. This element of competition makes the work that much more engaging. The project also includes movement around the room as students solve clues that lead to more clues, until the final goal is reached. Some projects can last days, but this 60-minute run time product easily fits into your schedule. The best part, aside from student engagement, is that the holiday-themed tasks are truly grounded in STEM work. The use of the product is meaningful, purposeful, and aligned with grade level content standards. For these reasons and more, this holiday STEM Escape Room is the perfect addition to your pre-winter break plans!
Beth Olsen, 3rd Grade Teacher