Want to know the benefits of doing STEM? Here are 9 reasons why EVERY teacher should incorporate STEM into their classroom instruction WEEKLY!
I’m often asked what the benefits of doing STEM are. Most teachers are reluctant to do STEM because of time constraints, the cost of supplies, or because it’s difficult to tie in standards.
I want to argue that the benefits outweigh the risks! Here are the 9 benefits of STEM! If you’re worried about costs, get these FREE supply request forms!
1. The best benefit of STEM is that it will increase your student attendance!
It’s no surprise that students LOVE doing STEM! This is one of the best reasons why you should be doing STEM weekly. Students look forward to STEM because it’s highly engaging!
STEM is a great way to motivate your students to complete their work, be on their best behavior, and come to school. Doing STEM on Fridays is like rewarding your students each week with an educational activity.
Your students will not want to miss out on the opportunity to learn through a FUN activity!
2. A great benefit of STEM is that your students will exercise creativity!
Give your students consistent opportunities to be creative. Do this by giving them constraints with their STEM activities. For example, I challenged my children to create apple rafts. First, the raft had to hold 5 candy apples. Then, the raft had to hold 20 candy apples. Finally, they only had one apple to build the raft.
By giving them these constraints, they had to be creative about the size and shape of their raft. Even though they had the same materials, their rafts were completely different.
Try these STEM Boxes for early finishers or literacy centers. They are perfect if you’re just starting out or want to integrate STEM daily!
3. Students practice time management
When you give students a constraint on time, they will learn to gauge their time through self-regulation. This exercises the prefrontal cortex.
The prefrontal cortex is the front part of the brain responsible for planning, making choices, and self-regulation. This is especially important for children with ADD and ADHD to have opportunities to exercise this part of the brain!
When a child can self-regulate and know how to plan according to time, they’re less likely to show up late to work, miss deadlines, and feel accomplished.
Don’t have time for STEM?
4. Critical thinking skills are a HUGE benefit of doing STEM.
When students are given STEM activities, they start by identifying and analyzing the problem. This type of thinking assists them with developing a plan to solve the problem. Once they have executed their plan, they test the design and reflect on the results to improve their design.
There’s no question that STEM education integrates critical thinking! Not only do they use this process of thinking with themselves, but they must also use it with their peers when working in groups. These types of skills are necessary for the 21st century!
5. STEM builds GRIT
GRIT is similar to having a growth mindset. This is the ability to persist even after setbacks. Passion and perseverance are GRIT. Students who are passionate about a STEM activity will persist – even when it’s hard!
I’ll never forget the first time I played with robotics. I wanted to make music with the robots so bad (because who doesn’t love music), and I couldn’t figure it out. It took an entire week for me to figure out how it worked. And, when I finally figured it out, I was so proud! I showed everyone.
STEM teaches students to stick with hard things – even when they fail! It also teaches them how to respond to successes and failures.
Building GRIT is a lifelong benefit of STEM for students. Grab this FREE Growth Mindset Poster for your class!
6. A huge benefit of STEM is that it strengthens communication skills!
Reading and writing are at the core of STEM. This is because students must research to build background knowledge. They must write, or jot, their thoughts down to process the problem.
Not only that, but students must speak and listen to share ideas and present. Let’s not forget that students get a chance to speak publicly when sharing ideas or presenting. How cool is that?
7. Students learn how to be empathetic when working in groups.
When you see someone who succeeded in solving a problem, how do you respond? How would you respond if they failed? These are the types of situations we expose students to when doing STEM.
As our students grow to be adults, they have to know how to respond to successes and failures healthily. Being boastful when being successful might turn people off, like crying when failing might push people away.
Talk about empathy and how we can show it in diverse situations.
8. Another excellent benefit to doing STEM is that students improve their work ethic.
“Mrs. Barnett, Drake isn’t sharing the materials! He won’t let us build anything!”
Yes, this happens a lot with little ones, and even though it feels like nails scratching a chalkboard, your students need opportunities to learn how to share!
Is it fair that Drake took all of the materials or that he’s the only one building while everyone else watches? What can we do to make it fair? Can we create roles so that everyone has a chance to do something?
What other opportunities do you have in your curriculum to create real-world solutions like this? These skills are vital for creating integrity, respect, and citizenship.
9. Another great benefit of doing STEM is it builds students’ self-confidence.
I love doing STEM in my regular education classroom. There are TONS of benefits to doing STEM with children of all abilities. When I taught inclusion, I loved seeing my students of all abilities shine!
The students who had difficulty reading created some of the best marshmallow launchers. At the same time, students who had ADD or ADHD had some of the most creative sculptures. Our students who were autistic were some of the most detailed writers and held their groups accountable. Students who were gifted and talented were able to lead their groups in reading and math.
There are so many more benefits to STEM, and I’d love to know what other benefits you’ve seen with kids. Let us know in the comments below!
I have no doubt that every child in my club and my class left my room with more confidence. The benefits definitely outweighed the risks.