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Our third grade STEAM Fundamentals course has been in development for a while and has grown into an exciting and robust curriculum. The four courses currently offer a creative phenomenon-based, hands-on curriculum designed to engage elementary students in real-world applications. Each module is centered around an anchor phenomenon, which encourages students to ask questions about the natural world. As they seek answers to their questions, students make observations, gather information, and design investigations to test their ideas. Students make claims based on previous knowledge then record evidence to support their claim and then explain how the evidence supports the claim they have made. Links to videos, articles, and more to build research skills or offer other informational sources for students and teachers. Cyber Pop Outs connect concepts and ideas to the cyber world with videos, articles, or activities.

Students learn to work in teams, engage in critical reflection, and share their ideas through speaking and writing. The modules also introduce the engineering design process to help students apply science and engineering practices to design solutions with hands on projects. Supplemental activities offer additional projects that teachers may choose to use to further the lessons or fill scheduling gaps.

STEAM Fundamentals’ modular approach provides ultimate flexibility to schools. Teachers can implement the curricula as stand-alone units, insert specific modules into an existing lesson plan, or provide the modules as an after-school program. Each module connects to key math, writing, cyber, and arts concepts, and has been mapped to national academic standards. Resources available for download include Teacher Manuals, Student Workbooks, Science Journals, PowerPoint presentations, and standard alignment guides.

Most of the supplies needed for STEAM Fundamentals are common household items and are easy to source. NICERC also provides links to Nasco for pre-assembled supply kits for each grade level. STEAM Fundamentals kits include almost all supplies needed to implement all four modules within a classroom, except for perishable or carbonated items and certain supplemental activity supplies.

Each module supports the development of 21st-century skills such as team building, communication, problem solving, critical thinking, leadership, and creativity.

For more information or to request access to the curriculum, visit


This post comes from NICERC Curriculum Development Specialist Jon Ownby.