The Maryland state board of education just approved the following seven Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Standards of Practice for use in schools and many other states are working to create similar standards of practice for their school systems. These practices give guidance to the need to educate our youngest learners to live in a world where the job they will have as adults doesn’t even exist yet.
1. Learn and Apply Rigorous Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics content
2. Integrate Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Content
3. Interpret and Communicate Information from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
4. Engage in Inquiry
5. Engage in Logical Reasoning
6. Collaborate as a STEM team
7. Apply Technology Strategically
My colleagues and I recently attended a great conference on STEM and Early Childhood. We learned more about the need for STEM in young children’s education and strategies for childcare providers and early childhood educators to incorporate STEM into their curriculum. Young children are ready at an early age to have STEM experiences. Kids like mysteries and have a spontaneous interest. Play is essential but it should be planned experiences to be most effective. The presentations at this conference got my colleagues and I thinking about STEM and the Library. On the trip home, with our brains full and excited with the new learning we acquired that day, we began to brainstorm how to incorporate STEM into our Library programs, Storytimes and Learning Spaces in the Library. A few ideas we had for Learning Spaces that that focus on STEM are: 1) including 3-4 Large Foam Dice to encourage counting and adding 2) a block center to encourage engineering and shape recognition 3) Hop Scotch Rug to encourage number recognition, counting and gross motor skills as an added bonus 4) Magnifying glasses with samples of plants and bugs to encourage natural curiosity, exploration and observation and 5) Large Abacus to encourage counting, adding, subtracting. We have added some of these centers in our Library already and they were instantly popular with kids of all ages. What seven Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics ideas do you have for your Library?