The NICERC curricula impacted my classroom by changing my role as the teacher. I wasn’t preparing lessons that would simply give my students information anymore. Instead, my students were given opportunities to research, discover, and create. I was truly a facilitator of instruction, and my students were self-directed. They depended on me less and depended more on their team.
The curricula also helped me to integrate liberal arts into my science class. Students needed to see the connection between all subjects, and the NICERC curricula seamlessly connected science and math to the liberal arts. I truly believe that the NICERC curricula created excitement and a sense of ownership for my students!
We are realizing more and more that there is a need for STEM trained professionals in the workplace. STEM education is essential to developing skills that our students will need later in life. Students are challenged to create a solution to relevant problems and situations in STEM classes!
One of my favorite success stories involves a sixth grade student. This young man was very bright and creative; yet, he struggled to maintain passing grades in most of his classes. I think that it was because he was disengaged. He was enrolled in my STEM Apps elective class, and it was clearly his favorite class. The STEM EDA modules allowed him to express his creativity and kept him engaged with challenges. He would often stop to talk to me in the hallways or at lunch time to tell me about a new idea he had for his roller coaster or his slingshot. One day when I was praising him for his diligence in creating his flashlight prototype, he told me that the loved this class and being an engineer and that was why he tried not to miss a day of school! To me, that shows the need to do things differently in the classroom!