Boxlight Educator UK

Integrating STEM to Support English Skills Learning

Posted by Melizza Cuizon on May 18, 2021 11:00:00 AM

STEM and English skills

Teachers understand that education requires more than knowing how to read and answer questions about a text. A well-rounded education helps students build skills to fluently communicate ideas and thoughts, broaden their worldview by reading about other cultures, societies, and civilisations, and guide them in planning solutions to challenges faced by the world. Clearly, this can only happen through strong English and STEM learning. By integrating concepts and ideas from these key building blocks of education, students can reach for academic goals that will follow them through to adulthood and contribute to society.

Some may think that STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) needs to be taught separately from English, but the objectives of English generally include:

  • reading a variety of content fluently and with good understanding
  • write clearly and coherently, adapting language and style for a range of audiences, contexts, and purposes
  • explain understanding and ideas clearly through discussions and collaboration
  • make formal presentations and demonstrations competently

Scientists, engineers, technologists, and mathematicians need these critical skills to better identify, discuss, and design solutions. Incorporating STEM-related activities in English lessons and units can spark interest in STEM jobs, where there is a high demand for workers with expertise in STEM fields.

Some ways to implement STEM with English skills learning

  • Read STEM-focused books and create projects or conduct experiments based on the stories. For example, using the novel Island of the Blue Dolphins have students design a sea-worthy canoe. Or use books with clear STEM focus, such as these National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) ‘Best STEM Books’ winners: https://www.nsta.org/best-stem-books-k-12
  • Give students real-world problems to research and solve. For example, what can students do to create more green spaces in their metropolitan areas? Read this blog by Hannah Olson, co-founder of MyStemKits.com, which describes a virtual lesson on environmental change: Using Virtual Learning to Drive Environmental Change.
  • Students can write their own short novels using STEM-related themes or add a chapter to book or novel finished as a class, with a STEM slant.
  • Have students research famous people in STEM and present their findings. Encourage creativity! Presentations can take the form of a slide presentation, infographic, 3D model, video, and more.

 

To simplify the process of planning combined English and STEM lessons, use MyStemKits curriculum which can be used with STEM tools like 3D printers, sensors, and robotics systems. For example, use the Creature Features Kit and let students’ imaginations run wild with the creatures they can make. Then have students write the origin story for their creatures and share. This kit is adaptable for all ages. Or use the Home on the Moon Design Challenge to create a moon base. Students can write a fictional story based on the occupants of the moon base and create a rover that travels the area. Watch this video showing the simplicity of using robotics with primary students:

With rich and engaging integrated English and STEM lessons, students will not only strengthen key concepts and skills but possibly see themselves as future scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians.

 

To learn more about Boxlight STEM solutions, go to global.boxlight.com and select STEM.

Topics: STEM, English

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