Student engagement is the key pathway for young learners to continually invest in their own creative curiosity and academic future. Not to mention, it’s always smart to have quite a few options in your teaching toolkit for fostering and strengthening engagement in your classroom or makerspace. Want to mix it up? Here are five ways to get your students involved with STEM.
1. Foster a close and positive classroom. Get to know your students each and every day. Maybe you greet each student as he or she enters the classroom, plan a daily ice breaker, or end the class with a discussion question or collaborative learning activity. You can bring STEM (and littleBits!) to every element of instruction, adding everything from moving posters and reading lamps, to backpack hacks and buzzing name tags.
2. Create curiosity. Besides having a “hook” or interest-based topic to your STEM/STEAM lesson, incorporate activities that keep your inventors on the edge of their seats. Curiosity increases student engagement, so add in elements such as mazes, puzzles, and other Bit games.
3. Mix in bursts of energy. Sitting in a chair for 40 or 80 minutes is the easiest way to guarantee a snooze fest. Instead, get your class up and moving. With our Bluetooth Low Energy Bit and Makey Makey Bit, kids can engage in powerful hands-on learning time, and it gets their brains thinking and bodies moving. Perhaps your next invention with be an instrument that gets them dancing!
4. Make the inventors famous. Feedback is a vital part of a successful learning experience. Take your praise to another level by displaying your students’ inventions, projects, and art work. Have a walk-through of these oh-so-innovative projects at the end of class or display them throughout the unit. And of course, don’t forget to upload any invention to our Inventions page for extra love. If the inventions are powered by Bits, don’t be afraid to play with and demo the creations!
5. Maintain a balance of student responsibility and initiative. Your inventors should always be aware of classroom expectations and guidelines, along with having clear standards of accountability. But at the same time, giving students some freedom and leadership roles will grow engagement by leaps and bounds. Assigning roles in group work, presentations, independent study, and other student-driven projects allows your clever engineers to take learning into their own hands.