When I went to school for my teaching certificate, I learned about teaching reading, writing, math, art, and other special education related topics. STEM, also known as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics activities were not discussed at all. Facilitating STEM learning and activities is a weak area for me. In order to teach STEM, I need a guided curriculum and Evan-Moor has a few different STEM products available. I picked the Smart Start STEM Pre-K book to try out in exchange for this review.
Why Teach STEM?
STEM activities give children hands-on situations to apply critical thinking and problem solving skills. Practicing STEM activities will help children develop the skills needed to solve real problems.
Overview of Smart Start STEM
The Smart Start STEM Pre-K activity book includes STEM activities relating to Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth Science. Each section includes a text and science story, activities, a STEM story, a STEM Challenge, and a STEM journal page.
Text and Science Story
The text introduces the new science concept. The science story supports the new concept by providing a narrative connection to the science concept in a way that is relatable to a preschooler. These also provide great discussion points for each science concept introduced.
The activity pages provide practice in applying the target science concept. Additional basic skills are practiced including matching, sequencing, and writing.
The STEM story presents a problem that could be solved through creative and critical thinking skills.
STEM Challenge Activity
The STEM challenge presents the problem that needs to be solved. This problem is related to the previous STEM story. This challenge includes an objective, specific challenge, and suggested materials. It also includes specific directions on the STEM process to guide the parent or teacher in facilitating the STEM challenge.
STEM Journal Page
The STEM journal page provides space to recored the STEM process from the STEM challenge.
Benefits of Smart Start STEM
Guides the Parent through facilitating the STEM process
If you feel apprehensive about how to do STEM activities with your children, this book walks you through the process step-by-step. As a complete novice to STEM activities, this Step-by-step guidance through the whole STEM process was incredibly helpful.
Material are Easy to Access
The only preparation time required in using this STEM activity book is gathering the suggested materials for each STEM challenge. As a nice bonus, the suggested materials are inexpensive and easy to access. Of the challenge activities we have completed so far, I have had most of the materials we have needed already in my home. If not, it is easy to add what I need to my next grocery order.
Fun for the Kids
As I am new to STEM activities, none of my children have had the opportunity to participate in STEM challenges. After looking through the previews on Evan-Moor’s website, I picked the Pre-K level book as I suspected my older children might want to join in the fun when we got to the STEM challenges. Even though this book is designed for preschoolers, the challenges seemed like they would also be appropriate for my other elementary aged children. I was on target and my other children did want to make their own solutions to the STEM challenge activities. They all keep asking me when the next STEM challenge will be so they don’t miss out on the fun.
Sample STEM Projects
Build a Tiny House
Build a Toy Box
Build a Boat
Smart Start STEM is a perfect introduction for parents/teachers and children to STEM activities and challenges. If you are thinking of trying out STEM, I recommend using the Smart Start STEM activity books. Smart Start STEM is available for grades Pre-K, K, and 1. If you are looking for a STEM resource for grades 1-6, consider using Evan-Moor’s STEM Lessons and Challenges books.