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STEM Education Meets the Three Little Pigs

 

There is a new educational term making the rounds in the news and publications – STEM education. But what exactly is STEM? STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. It refers to a method of education that incorporates more than one of these subjects. At first glance, teaching STEM to preschool children might seem too advanced. However, in reality, preschoolers are already being engaged in these activities both indoors and out. With a little support and direction from educators, teaching STEM activities is simply the next logical step.

For example, children enrolled in the Mansfield 2 classroom of Bradford Tioga Head Start recently participated in a STEM activity. It all began with the teacher, Jen Monahan, read the story of the Three Little Pigs to the children. During the reading, they discussed the three different items the little pigs used to build their houses (straw, sticks and bricks). Next, the class and teachers talked about which house would be the strongest and which one the Big Bad Wolf would be able to blow down.

After reading the story, and with the help of Mrs. Herre’s 5th grade class, the Head Start children instructed to “help the three little pigs build a new house. Each group was given a piece of paper, gumdrops, and toothpicks. Using their science and engineering knowledge, each group was asked to draw up a plan for building their house. Next, they used the gumdrops and toothpicks to construct the house. Then the groups had to form a scientific hypothesis as to whether or not the Big Bad Wolf would be able to blow their house down. Finally, each group took their house up to the Big Bad Wolf (a hair dryer) and allowed him to blow on their house. All of the houses that the children created together were too sturdy! Not only did their house designs stand up to the Big Bad Wolf, they each were given a learning experience that supported their desire to explore, to build and to question; helping children fall in love with STEM.

 

Photo Caption:  Kinlee, a student in the Mansfield 2 class of Bradford Tioga Head Start watches with Blossburg Elementary 5th Grade teacher Mrs. Herre to see if the Big Bad Wolf (hair blower) will blow her house down!