Middle school teachers know that it can be hard to keep tweens and teens engaged in STEM Curriculum lessons. However, a few changes can make your students much more interested in their coursework and help them grasp the curriculum.
Your middle school STEM curriculum should include a variety of STEM activities, lots of real-world examples, and plenty of opportunities to use technology.
Teach More Than Math and Science
Some schools aim to impress STEM-focused parents by touting above-average student test scores in math or hands-on science classes. While it’s great to see schools focusing on these areas, it’s easy to forget that science and math are only two parts of the STEM acronym. To create a truly successful STEM curriculum, schools must also teach technology and engineering.
Coding should be an important part of your middle school STEM curriculum. Coding is a key component of many jobs, as well as a great way to teach creative problem-solving. We’d love to see all students take middle school coding lessons, although a robust elective course with a program like Yeti Code is a great place to start.
In addition to coding, students should have a strong foundation in general technology use including digital citizenship, G Suite tools, and touch typing. Digital citizenship is especially important now that students are spending more time online than ever. We suggest making space in your middle school STEM curriculum for Yeti’s Sports PR Agency module or a similar program.
Engineering should also have a place in your curriculum. In addition to offering an engineering elective, you may want to consider incorporating engineering-based projects into science and math courses so students can try applying what they learn. Engineering lessons teach a creative problem-solving process that students can benefit from no matter what career they pursue.
Make Middle School STEM Lessons Relevant
Every middle school STEM curriculum should show how classroom concepts can be applied to real-world problems and situations. Many students are more motivated and engaged when they see how they could use what they learn outside of school.
For example, science may seem more relevant when students see how the concepts apply to treating familiar injuries or managing an ongoing pandemic. You can incorporate relevant biology learning opportunities with a program like Yeti Sports Medicine, a technology-based module based on NGSS standards.
There are many ways to bring the real world into the classroom. You can also have students conduct their own research, create their own computer games, work on engineering projects, or watch videos about current social and environmental issues that require STEM-based solutions.
Incorporate Web-Based Modules Into Your STEM Curriculum
In a pandemic era when access to in-person learning is not guaranteed, schools would be wise to include more online and remote-friendly learning opportunities in their curriculum. Even when students are learning in physical classrooms, students — especially those with disabilities that sometimes interfere with attending class — benefit from being able to access their curriculum at home and work on assignments on days when they are feeling unwell.
Yeti Academy offers a variety of web-based STEM curricula and remote interaction opportunities for upper elementary and middle school students:
- Yeti Code, an engaging single- and multi-player coding game that is appropriate for students at all knowledge levels
- Sports PR Agency, a highly relevant digital citizenship course in which students learn by “working” in a virtual PR agency to help athletes understand the impact and etiquette of their online choices
- Sports Medicine, a tech-based introductory biology course based on NGS standards
- Theme Parks, a module in which students use G-Suite tools to develop artifacts, practice technical writing, use data, and create graphic design components for virtual theme parks
- Yeti Snowboard Shop, a Google suite training for 3rd-5th grade students in which students use G-Suite tools to help a character named Sadie Shred launch a successful snowboard shop and ride the chute past the competition
…and more coming soon! These engaging curricula choices allow students to join teams, communicate with teachers, and interact with each other.
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