Stephanie Hopper, second grade teacher at The Learning Center charter school, firmly believes that young learners need to be exposed to a broad array of rich learning experiences that is sure to include science, technology, engineering and math (STEM.)
That is why Hopper created STEM Bins for her class. STEM Bins contain a large variety of materials. When a student opens the bin and sees the contents, he or she is encouraged to think imaginatively. Students have the opportunity to design and build real world things like tools, bridges, mazes or traps. However, they can also choose to design something the world has never seen before! Hopper says, “I’ve seen these young learners think about things in new ways as a result of engaging in STEM related activities. They work together collaboratively and are pushing their creativity and engineering skills by using 2D and 3D shapes, lines and angles.” Additionally, some STEM Bin prompts include extensions where after students have designed their structures, they have to go back and challenge themselves to make it better.
Hopper added, “The kids absolutely LOVE them and are constantly asking to work with them.” She plans to add outdoor STEM Bins soon.