7 unique student engagement strategies for STEM classes : Fizzics Education


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7 unique student engagement strategies for STEM classes

7 unique student engagement strategies for STEM classes

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It is an undeniable fact that the future of the world will be largely driven by innovation. With resources shrinking at a rampant pace and the human population exploding, breakthroughs in science and technology will play an even greater role in the future. Having said that, excellence in the STEM-related fields will become far more indispensable. This explains why contemporary education systems are now proactively incorporating the dimensions of STEM learning.

For those who do not know, STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In fact, these should be looked at as the four pillars of the future of education, mankind, and the planet. It is intriguing to note that as per iD Tech, in the coming years, job opportunities in STEM fields will witness an 8 percent hike. In fact, as cited by Pew Research Center, between 1990 and 2021, STEM occupations have grown by almost 80 percent.

Moving forward, as a STEM educator, you understand the significance of STEM learning in the best possible way. Needless to say, you want each of your students to excel in this vertical of learning so that they can have a fair chance to script exemplary tales of success. However, it is also true that not every student is comfortable with the fundamentals of STEM learning. Hence, as a teacher, you may face some overwhelming challenges to engage students constructively.

However, as mentioned above, innovation is the perfect answer to each problem. This blog puts forth some of the most innovative ideas for driving high engagement in STEM learning. With these effective strategies, you can help each of your students to indulge in active STEM learning. Consequently, when your students join the league of leading scientists, entrepreneurs, or inventors in the future, you will be amply proud of yourself for sticking to these tactics. So, let us get going without further ado!

Inventive tactics for engaging students in STEM learning

  1. Promote inquisitiveness among students

    The more questions your students ask in the course of learning the greater will be the engagement. In fact, when students see their peers asking crucial questions, they too will feel inspired. Needless to say, STEM subjects are majorly practical with little theoretical explanation. Therefore, children will learn the best when they have a knack for questioning the logic of things. When it comes to STEM learning, a lot of students are going to have some genuine doubts. You ought to create a classroom environment wherein they do not feel any hesitation in expressing their doubts. What is more important is that teachers should not demoralize students even when they ask irrelevant questions. As an educator, you ought to model the right questions for your students. Lead by example to manifest great curiosity around STEM learning and see how your students respond.One of the greatest ways to entice students in new learning concepts is to encourage active inquisitiveness around them. Having said that, when you introduce your students to advanced STEM concepts, set them free to ask as many questions as they want to. Inquisitiveness is a key indicator of learning curiosity. Given that, you should have a wholehearted approach to encouraging prolific curiosity among your students when it comes to STEM learning.
    Observing leaf material under a digital microscope
    Digital microscopes during a school  plant incursion

  2. Blend virtual reality into classroom learning

    The colossal digital revolution that is taking over every sphere of life is rampantly changing things for the better. Speaking of the greatest technological innovations driving education forward, virtual reality has emerged as one of the most immersive ways to engage students. In fact, there are multifaceted ways how VR makes learning more engaging. So, why not utilize the great prowess of virtual reality to offer the highest form of practical STEM learning to your students?By integrating virtual reality in the classroom, you can give your students a hands-on learning experience. From the most complex concepts of physics or biology to advanced fundamentals of mathematics, VR can make learning fun and immersive for students. Here, it is also vital to pay heed to the great preference that students have for learning via virtual reality. As per The App Solutions, as many as 97 percent of students are keen on learning through virtual reality. To augment, 93 percent of educators are of the view that VR can entice great excitement about learning among students.Given the fact that the conceptualization of STEM subjects is based on practical dimensions, VR will offer students a highly pragmatic approach to learning. With VR, they will be able to rethink and reimagine the concepts of STEM in a more realistic way with 3D illustrations. Reading from the book may have a limited scope of understanding concepts like trigonometry, volumes, quantum physics, chemical reactions, and so on.

    However, with virtual reality, students can witness real scenarios occurring in front of their eyes in a three-dimensional way. Can learning get any more futuristic and advanced? For sure, we ought to be grateful for the positive changes brought in by virtual reality. What is even more imperative than being thankful is to utilize the great scope of technology in the domain of learning.

    VR has the charm to engage even the most disinterested students in actionable learning. It makes learning quite a mesmerizing experience for students and as a smart educator, you need to tap this great power VR has.

  3. Collaborate with students on STEM activities

    As stated above, STEM subjects are more about building practical knowledge than cramming from textbooks. Therefore, for cultivating an immersive learning environment, you ought to look beyond the textbooks. You ought to introduce various STEM activities in the classroom and collaborate with your students for the same. You already know that collaboration is one of the most fruitful active learning strategies. All that you need to do is apply the same to STEM learning in the classroom.

    For effective learning in STEM, students will feel more confident when they learn from each other and you in a practical learning environment. When they work with each other to complete various STEM activities and projects, the indulgence will be greater. It is a proven fact that students learn better when students learn in organized groups.To cite an example, let us pay heed to the inferences from a ResearchGate study. In a given sample size, 96 percent of students asserted that collaborative studies helped them in assimilating effective knowledge in statistics. This exemplification validates the fact that fostering collaboration can be the key to effective STEM learning in the classroom. The key is to find a perfect amalgamation of STEM activities that have a great scope of collaboration.

    Probing further, given below are some STEM activities that you can blend into classroom teaching.

    The above list of STEM activities is of course inexhaustible. You can think of as many innovative STEM activities as you can think of, subject to the grade you are teaching. Besides, you can even find more than a hundred STEM activities and projects on the internet. In fact, giving small projects linked to STEM activities for homework will be a good idea too. In this way, you can ensure that students indulge in STEM concepts even in their homes.

    Building bridges with three students working together
    Building bridges school STEM visit

  4. Discuss the great inventions and scope of STEM

    Storytelling is always a great idea to engage any kind of audience ranging from young students to baby boomers. In fact, people love to engage in stories and discussions on the future scope of phenomena. As a teacher, you can leverage the same for effective and immersive STEM teaching.You can always dedicate a small part of your lectures to conducive discussions on STEM inventions. You can share effective knowledge with your students on inventions such as IoT, AI, Robotics and how these inventions are overhauling the world. Let students discuss these futuristic technologies in the classroom. Furthermore, you can have interactions with your students about the future scope of STEM expertise and its implications.

    When your students feel fascinated about the greatest inventions in this domain and are eager to participate in discussions on them, the engagement in learning will be much higher. It is obvious that when they are awestruck about something, they want to explore more about it. STEM is indeed an engrossing field and with modern students being highly tech-savvy, introducing students to STEM inventions can be a great idea. You ought to be smart enough to tap the great familiarity they already have with technology.

  5. Diversify learning content for optimized engagement

    Do you think you can impart effective STEM knowledge simply through the textbooks? What is rather more likely is that students may feel monotonous reading plain textbook content on STEM. This, of course, will hamper their engagement in classroom learning in a drastic way. Therefore, you need an innovative and unique approach to the idea of knowledge sharing linked to STEM – for example, you could try role-plays or classroom pitchfests on their STEM designs

    Taking it further, one smart approach for making STEM learning attractive is to diversify your learning material. Why limit the expanse of knowledge sharing to one or two mediums when there is a great scope for diversification? In addition to written content in the textbooks, you can use realistic video tutorials and multimedia presentations explaining the practical implications of STEM.

    Going further – see design thinking in STEM

    A man with a glove above a liquid nitrogen vapour cloud

    To add, you can also play podcasts in the class to leverage the prowess of audio content. At least once a week, you can play podcasts from popular scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. Having your students listen to podcasts sharing elaborative knowledge on STEM subjects from domain experts will be a worthwhile way of inciting learning curiosity. What do you think of this idea? Seems worth a try at least given the ability of intriguing podcasts to engage audiences.

    The bottom line is that different students tend to engage in learning through different channels. Therefore, a diversification approach to study material will ensure that the classroom does not get monotonous and there is something in store for everyone. The greater your innovation in terms of burning diversification in the academic curriculum the greater will be the impact. As you would agree, innovation is all about bringing new strategies and tactics to the table. As a teacher, you can explore and innovate as much as you like.

    Create a catapult holiday science program

  6. Offer a flexible and personalized learning approach

    As a teacher, you know it best that students have different learning abilities and attitudes. To elaborate, each student learns at their own pace and there cannot be a fixed template of learning for everyone. Speaking of STEM learning, in particular, you will witness some major gaps in learning attitudes among students. This is for the simple reason that not all students are quick learners when it comes to mathematics, physics, chemistry, technology etcetera. Having said that, among those who are underconfident in these subjects, disengagement may be high. Therefore, as a teacher, whenever possible, you should offer additional support to students during STEM classes. Here, additional support implies greater flexibility and personalization in teaching methodologies to help students grasp effective knowledge at their own pace.

    To add, you can also arrange special doubt sessions once or twice a week for students who struggle to understand STEM concepts during regular classes.An exclusive doubt session offering one-to-one mentoring will give students a great opportunity to overcome their fear of STEM subjects. If students get a fair chance to learn in a style that suits them the best, why would they not take it? The greater the rapport they build with STEM subjects owing to your assistance the greater will be their curiosity and indulgence in learning. The gist of the matter is that STEM learning requires great personalization to complement students’ abilities to excel in this domain.

    Spaghetti and marshmallow tower on the ground in the shape of a cube

  7. Put students’ problem-solving skills to test regularly

    STEM learning has a lot to do with innovation and improvisation, isn’t it? Students love to engage in problem-solving scenarios because it gives them the greatest opportunity to express their opinions, creativity, and innovation. Having said that, to stimulate their improvisation skills, you ought to offer some highly engaging scenarios to them. Irrespective of whether these scenarios are real or hypothetical, they will give students the space to build on their cognitive abilities. Moreover, when students engage in active problem solving, they will also gain a greater sense of self-awareness. Probing further, as a ramification of this increased cognition and self-awareness among students, their learning engagement will be higher.

    To create a more conducive environment for STEM learning, you can test students’ problem-solving skills around STEM fundamentals. To cite an example, you can give the mathematical or science problems that relate to their everyday lives. They will tend to pay more heed to puzzles or questions that come with personalization. After all, for effective and engaging learning in STEM concepts, students need to be at the best of their problem-solving abilities. They will approach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with greater confidence when they are optimistic about their capabilities.

    Your role in helping students acquire optimism and self-belief will be crucial to their excellence. For that, introducing them to challenging situations in the classroom will be an idea worth investing in. The rest is subject to your execution of the ideation.

    A smiling child in front of her tower creation

To encapsulate, STEM learning is a crucial vertical of contemporary education and its relevance will get even bigger in the times to come. In fact, these developments should be seen in a positive light as STEM will revolutionize education to make it more practical and skill-oriented. After all, that is what is most imperative in gaining career success in this revamped world. As an educator, you ought to ensure that your students have the best of their indulgence while learning STEM subjects. This of course will be paramount to them for securing career success. To help you to excel in this pursuit as a teacher, the above tactics will be of immense value.

Happy teaching,

Jessica Robinson

Headshot of Jessica Robinson

Jessica Robinson finds her peace in penning down intriguing and captivating blogs for her readers. So, she has been creating the finest pieces of content for over a decade while working at ‘The Speaking Polymath’.
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