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The best classroom management is often unseen. Hidden among engaging activities, quality management works in the background to promote positive behaviors. But how do star classroom managers achieve such a seamless framework? The answer is simple — set expectations and model appropriate behaviors through captivating experiences. STEM instruction does just that!
STEM instruction creates a supportive, organized environment for learners to grow and succeed, making it a powerful tool for establishing a strong classroom community.
Today’s learners are yearning for a structured, exciting classroom community. Luckily, no matter the environment in which you teach, this school year comes with a chance to revamp your classroom management.
PCS Edventures’ complete programs are the perfect way to assign structured tasks that allow creativity to flourish. Let’s take a look at products from Discover and BrickLAB collections that present learners with unique challenges that require problem solving and critical thinking strategies.
In this post, we’ll feature two outstanding products, Discover Robotics Duo - Programming & Physics (Grades 4-8) and BrickLAB Famous Architecture Around the World (Grades 4-6), to see how STEM and quality classroom management go hand-in-hand.
While immersed in these valuable experiences, learners practice the many management skills embedded into the curriculum.
STEM activities are undeniably engaging. Their hands-on approach motivates learners of all academic levels to participate. But STEM is more than exciting experiences. Each lesson creates opportunities to investigate, imagine and even learn through mistakes. A strong classroom community empowers learners to take chances.
As they puzzle out solutions to design challenges, learners soon realize that mistakes are unavoidable. Just as in life, problems need to be reevaluated and reworked as new information is learned. STEM programs like PCS Edventures’ Discover Robotics and Programming use manipulatives that help learners see and revise their mistakes first hand. These low-stakes problem-solving activities establish a supportive environment that welcomes failure in the pursuit of discovery. Encourage your class to see each mistake as an opportunity to grow and learn. In time, they’ll be willing to try new strategies and take more academic risks.
PCS Edventures’ design-build components also give educators the chance to provide authentic feedback. True growth occurs when learners can revise their work immediately based on meaningful comments (Sobel 2014). While working, they can actively change course and explain their thought processes. Thus, the ability to provide immediate and frequent feedback is invaluable.
Keeping learners on task doesn’t have to be a struggle. When you actively involve them in discovering content, it’s easy to achieve classwide participation and focus. STEM lessons include a wide variety of activities that capture learners’ attention from start to finish.
BrickLAB programs like Famous Architecture take engineering to the next level. After analyzing the structure of the Empire State Building, for example, teams use PCS Edventures’ signature “Perfect Bricks” to develop prototypes that mimic real-world architectural planning. They design structures to withstand wind and earthquakes, important considerations for all skyscrapers. This type of manipulative-based activity immerses learners in the lesson and holds their focus through authentic, hands-on experiences.
There’s no better way to feel like part of a strong community than knowing you are a valued team member. After a year of social distancing, reteaching strategies for teamwork is crucial. STEM activities create authentic, teachable moments for collaboration and communication.
STEM challenges require creative thinking, and PCS Edventures knows that teamwork brings about the best ideas. BrickLAB programs use “Learner Build Groups” that recommend teams sized for greater success. Plus, all 12 Famous Architecture lessons get learners building more than brick structures. They’ll build new friendships and problem-solving skills, all while learning valuable compromise strategies.
Teamwork is best taught through example. Frequent participation in collaborative experiences gives learners the best chance to become resilient team players.
The PCS Edventures’ LABCards that come with the Discover Robotics Duo are the ultimate management strategy for teaching self-direction. Housed in sturdy storage carts, learners can independently access an array of LABCards and building materials as they discover the engineering design process at their own pace. Plus, key terms and questions that check for understanding are included, making student-led learning assessment simple.
What’s more, Discover Robotics Duo uses an application-based approach in which learners can navigate through captivating challenges and design projects. Step-by-step instructions guide learners’ exploration through combined sets of Programming and Physics curriculum and materials. This autonomy grants you more time to become a facilitator of learning.
STEM challenges are an invitation to explore, question and create. While easy-to-follow guides are available in every program, learners are empowered to explore their own ideas. With a clear guide in hand, they take control of their learning.
With little time for many standards to be met across subjects, cramming lessons into a school day might seem like your only option. But packing in too many lessons is overwhelming and fills classrooms with negative energy. How can you help learners logically meet their learning goals?
Just one STEM lesson integrates several learning goals. Every lesson included in Discover Robotics Duo and BrickLAB Famous Architecture utilizes standards from a variety of subjects. Curriculum guides list all the aligned standards, including 21st Century Skills and Habits of Mind.
Thanks to these engaging STEM activities, creating a stress-free learning environment for your learners is a cinch.
It’s never too late to revamp your management style, and bringing STEM into your classroom is the way to start. STEM instruction creates a supportive environment for learners to work together and achieve new goals. Best of all, a class engaged in meaningful, hands-on activities means there’s little room for misbehavior.
A peaceful and productive school year is possible with PCS Edventures’ curriculum and materials. Be sure to purchase yours today!
An experienced elementary educator and science instructional coach, Jessica’s passion for STEM instruction and student-led learning is always at the forefront of her lessons and professional development workshops.
Kratochwill, T. (2010, February 16). Classroom management module. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/education-career/k12/modules-classroom-management
Sobel, A. S. (2014, May 5). How Failure in the Classroom Is More Instructive Than Success. The Chronicle of Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/article/how-failure-in-the-classroom-is-more-instructive-than-success/
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