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Starting the School Year STEM Strong

Five strategies to transform your classroom culture

Back in August, during the final throes of summer vacation, DreamBox ran its popular Back-to-School Bootcamp webinar series. In case you missed it, we recorded all the sessions and are now making them available on demand.

With this being the official first week back to school for many educators, we thought you might like to kick off the new academic year with some strategies for integrating science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) into your curriculum and school culture. Click here for on-demand access to the 60-minute session entitled, Starting the School Year STEM Strong.


According to the Smithsonian Science Education Center, STEM-related jobs grew at three times the rate of non-STEM jobs. And, by 2018, a projected 2.4 million STEM jobs will go unfilled. It seems the demand for students skilled in STEM disciplines is growing faster than the supply.

As educators, we need to focus on equipping our students with the 21st century skills they need to succeed, and that includes teaching problem-solving, analytical thinking, and the ability to work independently. A strong foundation in math and science learning can help pave the way. Here are five strategies from Starting the School Year STEM Strong that you can use to foster a classroom culture that is STEM-ready.

  1. Empower why questions
    Rather than having students just memorize a formula or algorithm, focus on conceptual understanding. Help students to understand why something works instead of just how it works.
  2. Engineer learning opportunities
    Be intentional with numbers and context. Show students how the math they’re learning in class can be applied in the real world.
  3. Listen to understand what students are asking
    Listen to what students are thinking and help guide the conversation. Allow students the time to explain themselves. When a student is moving away from the outcome, be prepared with questioning to reverse course.
  4. Engage in student-centered dialogue
    The teacher doesn’t always have to have all the answers. Question, and use dialogue to engage the learner.
  5. Facilitate meaningful peer-to-peer math discussions

Collaboration is essential to a successful future in any field. Teach students how to speak with each other. Model a positive math culture so students learn how to disagree and be respectful at the same time.

By creating an environment that encourages students to understand how the world works and how to solve problems, you create a growth mindset and lay the groundwork for deeper learning. If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively implement STEM initiatives in your classroom and school, watch Starting the School Year STEM Strong.

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