NAD Convention: The STEM Experience Continues
hen Sir David Attenborough was a boy, he spent much of his free time exploring abandoned quarries in the English countryside, hammer in hand. His prey – fossils.
Sir David, famous nature broadcaster and avid champion of the environment, has a lot to say about the importance of science and nature, “Education is not a matter of getting facts and sowing them within brains, but that it is an attitude of mind that you teach children to find out for themselves.”
Now in his 90s, Sir David continues to show how exciting it can be to explore nature, and this is having a profound effect on the number of children choosing to engage in STEM education. Called the “Attenborough Effect,” the UK-based Schools Week reported in 2019 that “there was a rise of 5.1% in the number of students in England taking the science double award this year compared to last year” due to the influence of Sir David’s new science documentary series.
The 2023 NAD Educators’ Convention hosted STEM experience for the first time in its history. The “Attenborough Effect” was in evidence in the STEM experience through the interactive STEM booth, hands-on STEM breakout sessions, and exciting STEM kit giveaways.
The NAD is encouraging teachers to continue the STEM experience throughout this school year and beyond. Here are three ideas to get your students excited about STEM.
1. Use interactive educational tools
The Florida Innovation Lab has created a series of coding-in-the-classroom resources for teachers, on the Adventist Learning Community (ALC). Teachers can continue the STEM experience in their classrooms using the Arduino, Hummingbird, and Ozobot kits given away during the convention.
In addition, the STEM Tuesday sessions for PK-12 teachers also provide hands-on STEM lessons.
2. Encourage outdoor learning
One of the best ways to get children interested in the world around them is to get them out and about to experience it. From implementing the Forest School Approach to learning or implementing the following individual STEM activities, you will engage your students in STEM in the great outdoors!
Nature STEM Activities
Outdoor Engineering Projects
Allowing them to get hands-on with plant life and encouraging them to describe the things they see, hear and smell as they experience the outdoors can all add to the STEM learning experience.
3. Incorporate STEM into their daily activities
STEM is important to all our daily activities. Encourage your students to incorporate STEM into their lives in fun and interactive ways.
Provide STEM experiences through educational play, including games that involve counting the correct money to pay out at the supermarket, or hosting extra-curricular baking classes to help them learn about measurements.
Set up your classroom with fun experiments, growing your own class fruit and vegetable gardens to help them to understand how plant life works. Demonstrate how to ask questions when they want to know more and finding out the answers together is also an effective learning tool that you can use to pique their interest in STEM subjects.
Encourage your students to continue the STEM experience. Get them outdoors to enjoy the natural world, explore the STEM resources on the ALC, and continue the “Attenborough Effect” developing problem-solving, creativity, observation, engineering skills, and excitement in STEM.
Leisa Morton-Standish, PhD
Director of Elementary Education
Dr. Leisa Morton-Standish is the Director of Elementary Education at the North American Division.
She has taught in small rural schools as well as in large urban schools. She has taught on the east and west coasts of the U.S, both in and out of the Adventist education system, and overseas. She has also spent a considerable part of her career teaching at universities, including the University of Maryland, Washington Adventist University and Macquarie University.
Leisa holds a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland, an MA in Education from California State University and a Diploma in Education from Avondale College.
Leisa is committed to Christ and the ideals of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Her first love is the classroom where she can share her passion for learning and her love for Jesus.
The 2023 NAD Educators’ Convention hosted STEM experience for the first time in its history.
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