• academic language: words about specific topics and subjects that children must learn in order to be successful in school
  • engineering: the process of designing tools, systems, and structures that help humans meet their needs or solve problems
  • mathematics: the study of quantities (how many or how much), structures (shapes), space (angles and distances), and change
  • open-ended questions: questions that require critical thinking, invite opinion or explanation, and result in more than a one-word answer
  • science: the process of finding out about the world and how it works by exploring, gathering data, looking for relationships and patterns, and generating explanations and ideas using evidence
  • STEM: an interdisciplinary approach to learning where students learn and apply concepts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
  • STEM vocabulary: words that relate to the processes of science, technology, engineering, and math (e.g., categorize, change, classify, collaborate, communicate, compare, construct, count, describe, design, discover, discuss, draw, experiment, explain, graph, identify, investigate, listen, measure, notice, observe, plan, predict, problem-solve, question, record, share, sort, use senses, watch)
  • technology: the tools that have been designed to meet human needs, such as balance scales to compare weights, lenses to look closely at living things, and digital tools like computers and tablets

Try It

It’s time to practice what you’ve learned. In this activity, you’ll apply the strategies and techniques you’ve learned to your program’s learning environment. 

STEM Savvy

Design a STEM-rich learning center. Download and print the STEM Savvy (PDF).

  1. Identify a new or existing learning center in your program.
  2. Design an activity for the center that encompasses a combination of science, technology, engineering, and math skills.
  3. Describe the activity and materials.

  • What STEM concepts do you want children to learn at this center?
  • What STEM vocabulary will you integrate into the exploration?
  • What open-ended questions will you ask children as they are exploring?
  • How will you ask children to reflect? How will you or the children record the findings?
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