Engineering in Early Elementary Classrooms Through the Integration of High-Quality Literature, Design, and STEM+C Content
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The PictureSTEM project consists of instructional units for grades K-2 that employ engineering and literacy contexts to integrate science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computational thinking (STEM+C) content instruction in meaningful and significant ways. The PictureSTEM project utilizes picture books and an engineering design challenge to provide students with authentic, contextual activities that engage learners in specific STEM content. Four components differentiate the PictureSTEM units from what teachers are currently implementing in their classrooms: (1) engineering design as the interdisciplinary glue, (2) realistic engineering contexts to promote student engagement, (3) high-quality literature to facilitate meaningful connections, and (4) instruction of specific STEM+C content within an integrated approach. Examples from research data on the PictureSTEM unit, Designing Paper Baskets, conducted in kindergarten classrooms, will illustrate how the four foundational components of this integrated STEM curricula play an important role in designing meaningful and contextual learning for younger students.
We would like to thank the teachers, students, and researchers that helped make this chapter possible. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EEC—1442416, IIP—1519387, and DRL—1543175. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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