STEM teaching young kids real-life problem-solving skills

February 02, 2018 04:31 PM

LOUDONVILLE - Teaching kids STEM at an early age is thought to be a way of getting them excited about becoming scientists and engineers. When the lessons have possible real-world connections, the kids eat it up.

Third-grade students at St. Gregory's School in Loudonville were given a task to rescue trapped zoo animals during a disaster. It's all part of a STEM exercise called "Project Lead The Way."

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"It's very hands-on. They're applying science content and concepts to real-world problems and that's a wonderful way for them to see how what they're learning in school can be used for the rest of their life," explained Kristin Dinkels, the science teacher at St. Gregory's.

"We drew it first and it took about two days," noted Rishab Arvind, a student.

In fact, their sketches line the walls.

They worked in teams and then they problem solved.

"It was good, because I probably wouldn't have been able to come up with everything by myself," acknowledged Annabel Conway, a student.

Then, the young engineers got busy building a machine that demonstrates the use of magnets and force.

This commitment to STEM begins when the kids are very young.

"We start in kindergarten. They view STEM as play," pointed out Dinkels. "So they are putting these projects together and then afterward focusing on the problem they would like to solve."

This real-world problem -- rescuing animals, has played out over and over following the many recent disasters. So, the students are definitely on the right track and pumped about doing this when they grow up.

"I would want to be an engineer and make a lot of big things," noted Annabel.


WNYT Staff

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