How to Make the Most with STEM Materials

The number one, absolute, most-asked question I receive from my readers and those interested in STEM resources have the same topic.

MATERIALS! Where do I get materials? How much will this cost? What if I do not have the right things? What if my kids ruin things? What if I do not have enough?

Well, let me help you with this a little! (Or a lot) I mean, I don't think you can become an expert on using STEM materials, but my experiences in a real STEM lab just might save you some time- and money!

The number one, absolute, most-asked question I receive from my readers and those interested in STEM resources have the same topic. MATERIALS! Where do I get materials? How much will this cost? What if I do not have the right things? What if my kids ruin things? What if I do not have enough? Well, let me help you with this a little! My experiences in a real STEM lab just might save you some time- and money!


Is the Engineering Design Process Really Important?

As a teacher, I am sure you have been overwhelmed! The last week of school, the first week of school, right before report cards go out, parent conference week, during an observation, and so many more occasions are when we all get that feeling that it's just too much.

That is the exact situation I was in a few years ago when I left the regular classroom to take on a STEM Lab position. I spent the entire summer decorating and organizing the lab and then started gathering resources.

Now, let's talk about those resources! I had practically nothing and most of the idea books I had were too difficult for my age group.

There was, however, one thing I began to see in those resources- over and over.

It was the Engineering Design Process and I began to think that this little process might be important for STEM.




How to Get Your Money's Worth with STEM Resources

I like big bundles.....

I could not resist that opening, sorry, but this could be the truth. We all like bargains and saving money. And that is the reason for the larger bundles of items you can purchase at Teachers Pay Teachers. Before we get into that I need to give you a little bit of background...

You may already know this story - if you have been reading my blog for a while. But this story is what led me to start creating resources for teachers (including bundles).

One day my principal announced we would have a STEM Lab the following school year and I knew I wanted the job. I love teaching science and I'm a pretty good engineer #problemsolver

So, I applied for the job, interviewed for it, and snagged it. Yay! Well, except for the part of discovering I had no resources. ZERO.  A local hands-on science program lent me some idea books, but they were all way too complicated for elementary students and 45-minute class sessions.

So, I started searching for ideas. I found a source that claimed to have 50 STEM Challenges in it. Sounded great to me so I purchased it. And it did have 50+ challenges, but many of them were just variations of the same challenge and the most dismaying part- there were no directions.

Y'all I am a directions reader. I need the basics of how to do things and as a new STEM teacher, I will freely admit that I had no clue what I was doing. How could I take a basic list of materials and a one-sentence directive and teach a class?  Well, I couldn't, so I started developing my own resources. The things I include are the things I needed when I first started my STEM journey:
  • Details, details, details, and directions for how to do things!
  • Photos and samples
  • Tips for what works and what does not work
  • The Engineering Design Process



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