tr?id=304425946719474&ev=PageView&noscript=1 Integrating STEM into The 21st Century Classroom

Adams, Sewell, Turner, Fitzpatrick Introduce Legislation to Support  Minority Students in STEM Fields

Living in the 21st Century, the term ‘’STEM/STEAM’’ is no longer unfamiliar. Now, most individuals know STEM involves skills that will take students to the next level of learning and problem-solving. It brings attention to strengthening the basic skills that can groom an individual and prepare them to manage real-life problems (without panic!). While some educators propose the idea of dedicated time slots for STEM activities, I disagree with them. Because the purpose of integrating STEM becomes meaningless if we still treat it as a separate entity; rather, it should be a foundation for everyday lesson planning and class activities! For that, the role of the teacher becomes most significant as a moderator to direct the student’s energies and strengths to achieve a collective goal. So, teachers, are you ready?

To highlight the major focus of STEM integration into the classroom, Dare and colleagues (2021) quoted the idea of the 4 C’s- Critical thinking, Creativity, Communication, and Collaboration- as the skills which support student empowerment. Integration of STEM in the classroom stimulates problem-solving, identifying alternatives to a common problem, reaching out, and working in a team to achieve a common goal utilizing the applied skills of the 4 C’s. Making sure that the students absorb these skills can be achieved through effective lesson planning, which can switch between experiential learning to vicarious learning (learning from observing other individuals’ learning experiences) or situated learning.

Tips and Tricks to Dissolve STEM into your Classroom

While you are teaching students, no matter whether it’s science, languages, or mathematics, pause once you are done with the day’s topic and think about how you can present a topic-relevant problem to the students. Students will engage in the process of problem-solving and work to resolve the problem. This involvement will give students an opportunity to use their STEM skills.

Try to incorporate as much STEM vocabulary as you can during your class. For example, you can use words like model, experiment, test, and build in everyday classes to make the kids familiar with the terms.

Even if you are teaching languages, you can still integrate STEM. Curious to know how? Here it is! Let’s say you are teaching ESL, and there’s a story kids are reading. In the end, you can ask the students to identify the problem that the antagonist faced and how the problem was resolved. In this way, students will become familiar with the problem-solving process.

You must be thinking that you already got a lot on your plate while teaching your students, so why this extra stuff? Yeah, we feel you! But if you are planning to integrate STEM into your curriculum, the first thing you need to do is change your perspective on STEM. STEM is not the “extra.” STEM is not separate or disconnected from what you are teaching, but rather it gives you a way to enrich your classroom learning experience for the kids to be meaningful as you present a real-world connection for each topic they study. So, try to utilize the benefits of STEM more in your classrooms, and then see how excited your students will be to engage in your lessons! Yeah, it sounds impossible, but it is doable! Try it!

So, let’s get back to the facts!

For STEM, there are no hard and fast rules. Students can work in teams, groups, or even individually and it will help them come up with innovative ways to solve a certain problem and view different perspectives and decide collectively on one solution to go with. STEM also supports developing an inclusive and well-connected classroom. This kind of supportive environment also helps in catering to student’s learning needs in a more collaborative manner.

How can you incorporate STEM? Here are a few example techniques and activities:

  1. Make a circuit: While teaching them about circuits and current, ask them to develop a circuit based on their existing knowledge and see how it works. After the activity, they will have lots of questions and want to know more. Tell them how it actually works and let them solve the problems they have spotted in their existing circuits. It will help them to understand how it actually functions and also about ways which can hinder the functioning!
  2. Reflections and solutions for real-world problems: Choose a real-world problem, ask students to take different work role positions, and consider what they could do to solve a certain problem if they were given a chance. For example, obesity is a growing concern; they could take the position of a doctor, dietician, gym trainer, or even a psychologist and allow them to give logical reasoning about why obesity needs to be controlled and what role they could play in solving it. It will make them aware of such issues, and they will come up with some pretty creative ideas!
  3. Jelly towers: Allow your students to work with different shapes of jellies and identify which shapes work well together to make and hold a tower. Let them struggle and test out different shapes and structures to bring out their innovation and understand different shapes and structures and why buildings are built with different architectures. (This is an excellent way to stimulate their interest in their surrounding buildings too!)
  4. Make DNA structures: In order to give students a better grasp of the concept, ask them to build a spiraling structure using toothpicks and colored dough. This will help them identify different Nitrogenous bases and their bonding structures.


STEM integration in the classroom empowers students’ development on multiple levels, supporting them to learn individually and equipping them to work in a community with different people, sources, resources, and multiple pathways to reach a goal that benefits all! It does not bind but rather broadens the horizons of reasoning, logic, creativity, innovation, and teamwork. Teachers are influential in students’ growth and development and support the rich learning experiences for their students as they develop and integrate rigorous STEM integrated lesson plans.