Integrating STEM in Service-Learning is Easy
H2O for Life will be launching more curricular connections for schools in the fall. STEM education is a hot topic. Let’s not overthink how STEM can be integrated. What can be more STEM related than water: construction of water wells, learning about aquifers, learning about filters, mathematically graphing and collecting data….the list is endless. As you create your H2O for Life service-learning project, please don’t hesitate to call us to ask for help. With more than 800 school projects under our belts, we have ideas to share!
Below are a few tips:
1. STEM programming does not require STEM experts. Remember, a good facilitator’s role is to be a role model for youth and to cultivate curiosity and engagement. Instead of providing expert answers, STEM role models say, “I don’t know the answer. How can we find out together?” Water is essential to life and is a natural resource of global concern. Water “fits” into many curricular areas through great books about water, social justice in countries around the world, and scientific investigation that require math skills, and more.
2. Science programming does not only mean conducting science labs. Remember, STEM programming can be integrated into many disciplines or approached from many angles. Interpreting observations and using evidence in an argument are great examples of scientific habits of mind that are applicable across many disciplines. (Gathering and comparing data, researching issues related to water, writing reports and more.)
3. Tape, rulers, paper, and other supplies are all over the place. Youth are out of their seats, moving around, and talking loudly with one another. Remember, what looks chaotic, messy, and loud can also be a sign of highly engaged youth working together to solve a problem!
4. STEM programming has real-world applications. Remember, connecting STEM programming to real-life careers helps youth channel their out-of-school interests into future aspirations.
5. STEM programming is an excellent way to build persistence in youth.
Submitted by : Anna Padget Crocker, Project Associate: Afterschool and Community Initiatives at the Franklin Institute Science Museum. (Adapted by H2O for Life)