Surviving the Challenges of 2020
Educators teaching kindergarten to college grades say that the Survivor Island STEM Week Challenge engaged their students in science using imagination, inquiry, and innovation. As part of the challenge, forty-four educators brought hands-on, minds-on learning to students in their public school, alternative school, learning cooperative, after school program, or college pre-service teaching program. Implementation of the inquiry-based activities varied greatly depending on the school or program’s current learning model (remote, hybrid, in-person), instructional methods that work best for each class, and the grade levels of the students participating. Despite these variances, the Survivor Island STEM Week Challenge proved to be effective in developing students’ interest in STEM by tapping their natural curiosity using real-to-life examples of science applications.
Educators like Karen, Pallavi, Jane, and Anne have swiftly pivoted more than a few times to overcome the challenges of teaching through the pandemic. Each shared a glimpse into their current classroom situation by talking about their Survivor Island STEM Week Challenge experience. Their stories made it clear that these educators have continued to engage their students in inquiry-based science learning whether in their in-person, hybrid, or remote classrooms. Even after Massachusetts’ STEM Week is over, they are still thinking about ways to implement the challenge to find more innovative outcomes and incorporate more solar technology into their lessons. As 2020 comes to a close and they look ahead to 2021, teachers of all grades in any situation can say that so far they have survived a very challenging year.
The Wade Institute for Science Education specializes in providing inquiry-based, hands-on, minds-on, science, technology and engineering professional development for K-12 teachers and informal educators. For more information, visit www.wadeinstitutema.org or call 617-328-1515.