While coordinating STEM curriculum for grades 1-5, I observe students exploring the STEM process who are truly engaged with hands-on learning. For the most part, students LOVE it!
Sometimes I also see students who are not yet comfortable with taking risks.
They are not emotionally equipped for dealing with the disappointment of a great idea that doesn’t quite work out the way they wanted. They’re threatened by other students who have good ideas. They’re defeated when they can’t make their ideas work the first time.
For those students, STEM challenges can also be an emotional challenge.
So should we avoid doing STEM with those students? Absolutely not! On the contrary, it’s the perfect learning opportunity.
My solution to this situation has been to combine Growth Mindset concepts with my STEM projects.
STEM and Growth Mindset concepts complement and reinforce each other perfectly, so teaching them together is a perfect match!
Growth mindset encourages exactly the kind of positive thinking that will help with STEM challenges.
-mistakes help us learn
-persevere through unexpected problems and disappointments
-sometimes it takes several tries to solve a problem
Growth mindset concepts also foster an inner dialogue that is essential for STEM exploration.
-I can always improve.
-I’m on the right track.
-I can keep trying even when it’s hard.
-This may take some time and effort.
-I can build on previous ideas.
-I haven’t solved the problem – YET!
How I Teach STEM and Growth Mindset Together
We start with fairy tales. Most students know them well, so we read partner plays that change the story a bit.
In this example, Granny has a fixed mindset, and Little Red Riding Hood has a Growth Mindset!
Students quickly learn how to tell the two apart:
We also do some writing and sorting to solidify the concept.
We use workbooks or flip books!
At the end of each play, students are presented with a STEM challenge that relates to the story.
Here is an example of how the partner play ends with a specific STEM challenge:
Gather a bin of supplies, such as tape, cardboard, stir sticks, paper cups, elastics, pipe cleaners, and anything else you can think of.
Let students plan, collaborate and build!
Here is a video of students designing and testing the catapult they made in order to get the cookies over the forest to land at Granny’s house!
We use either WORKBOOKS or FLIP BOOKS to write about our STEM exploration.
Do you use STEM challenges in your classroom?
Are there students who would benefit from pairing growth mindset lessons with STEM?
If you’d like to try some of the examples I’ve shown above, they are available two different bundles:
This bundle has 8 Fairy Tale partner plays, 8 STEM challenges, and workbooks for both growth Mindset and STEM writing.
has 8 fairy tales, 8 partner plays, and 8 STEM challenges and 8 Flip Books.
This bundle has 8 fairy tale partner plays, 8 STEM challenges, 8 Growth Mindset Flip Books, and 8 STEM Flip Books. I used flip books rather than workbooks for variety – for those students who will be working through both bundles as a full year set.
Both sets are available together at a reduced bundle price! This covers 16 Fairy Tales and lots of literacy opportunities to help students become experts in Growth Mindset and STEM challenges!
Would you like to try a Growth Mindset flip book with your class?
It’s available to download in the preview of Bundle 2. Enjoy!
*Note: This free set is not part of either set, but stands on it’s own. It uses an imaginary version of Little Red written in the comprehension section of the flip book.
To help with your STEM lessons, you can download this set of STEM posters to discuss with your students.
Growth Mindset Classroom
Looking for more GROWTH MINDSET ideas for your classroom?
You can download some free posters, writing and math with a growth mindset focus in the PREVIEW of this bundle:
Thanks for taking a look! I hope you enjoy using STEM and Growth Mindset in your classroom! If you have ideas to share, I’d LOVE to hear about them!