November 2022 – STEM Field Day
STEM Field Day
8 Reasons STEM Challenges are Beneficial
- New Challenges
Each engineering challenge gives students something new to solve and more than likely, it is a challenge they have never tried before.
- Critical Thinking Skills
Students aren’t just scanning a passage for an answer or solving math problems with a step-by-step process. They are coming up with a brand-new solution. They can’t just copy an answer or guess. They must manipulate the materials and THINK!
With STEM engineering projects, students are DOING science, not just reading about it, or answering questions about it.
- Lots of Right Answers
This is especially great for your struggling students who sometimes struggle to get the one right answer. This is also great for your perfectionist students who feel most comfortable with only one right answer. It gives them practice being uncomfortable and looking for other possibilities.
- Builds Background Knowledge
STEM activities give your students background knowledge that you can refer to later. For instance, if students are creating a newspaper tower, they will naturally learn that they must balance and distribute the weight. Later, when you are reading the textbook chapter, you can say, “Hey, remember when we built the newspaper tower…” and you can build on their knowledge.
- Safe Failure
STEM engineering challenges give students a safe place to experience failure and to learn from attempts that don’t work. When their first prototype doesn’t work, they just create a new one, and they learn that it is ok to mess up.
Students learn to compromise, share tasks, and work together to meet the challenge within the designated time and material constraints. They quickly learn that if they do not work together, they will not finish their challenge in time. Having a completed project is great motivation!
- Bang for your Buck!
Don’t mean money, but time. Science time is precious and scarce. STEM engineering challenges can practice a whole lot of essential skills (measurement, creating a hypothesis, conducting an experiment, using science tools, thinking like a scientist, and more) in a short amount of time.