Worker cutting metal with plasma equipment. on plant

Early STEM Exposure Through Career-Focused PBL

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is most effective when students understand how these concepts apply in the real world. Learning how actual scientists, engineers, and other professionals use STEM concepts to solve complex problems helps bring these ideas to life and answers the age-old question, “Why do we have to learn this?” What’s more, connecting STEM concepts and careers should begin in elementary school, when students’ natural curiosity is greatest. Not only does this make STEM education more concrete for students; it also exposes them to possible career paths at a young age, which expands their vision for what is possible in life. Download this white paper to learn how to link STEM concepts to careers in the early grades, along with three keys to success.


3 Strategies to keep students engaged in STEM

Strategy #1: Identify an engaging topic that is aligned with standards.

Here are two projects I’ve done in past years. Both projects were closely aligned to science and engineering , and greatly engaged students in the learning process.

  • Fly Me to the Moon…Well, at Least the Upper Stratosphere: Students worked on an experimental payload that was launched using a high-altitude weather balloon. The payload was equipped with a Vernier LabQuest to collect scientific measurements and a GoPro camera to collect video footage during its trajectory.
  • Oh, The Places You’ll Go…to Do Science with ROAVEE (Remotely Operated Amphibious Vehicle for Environmental Exploration): I challenged students to design, model, construct, test, and navigate a robotic vehicle—equipped with sensors to collect environmental data—on solid terrain as well as on water.