May 30, 2023

3 Ways to Use Innovation & Entrepreneurship to Help Integrate STEM Concepts into Your Classroom

STEM is often offered as an extension of afterschool programs or as a special during the school week. This approach not only silos STEM instruction, but excludes many other subjects--such as art, social studies, ELA--that influence STEM. Additionally, independent STEM programs typically require extra funding and teachers.

Stories of innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) provide a dynamic platform to integrate STEM into the classroom since they describe a multidisciplinary approach to solving problems that makes STEM engaging, motivating, and confidence-boosting. Entrepreneurs and inventors provide role models from a wide range of backgrounds and interests, that show both STEM-inclined and STEM-curious students that they can participate in STEM.

I&E also provide real-world context for STEM--in fact, many technology-focused companies actively hire employees who are trained in the arts and humanities as well as those who are STEM-degreed. According to Harvard Business Publishing - Education, "As the world changes, so do the skills students need to build their careers—and to build a better society. For students to acquire these evolving skills...educators must help students develop an entrepreneurial mindset." 

Innovation and entrepreneurship engage students' ideas, voice, and critical thinking in creative and substantive ways that let you prepare students for the future. Below we outline a few methods on how you can use I&E to easily integrate STEM concepts into your already busy day.

Innovation challenges connect science, art, social studies & ELA

Innovation challenges are designed as group activities, with structure and support to encourage collaboration. The act of working to solve a specific problem (science and social studies), designing and representing the solution (art) and communicating the key features of their design and the intended user (ELA) provide a natural way for students to apply the concepts they are learning throughout their classes.

Erica from Grid Alternatives working

Entrepreneur stories bring biographies to life

Biographies and informational text reading are a cornerstone of elementary curriculum. Using the stories of present-day STEM entrepreneurs provides an easy way to introduce students to a variety of STEM concepts. It also provides a new way for students to connect with current and relatable role-models, making their learning fresh and engaging. 

Student ideas provide a reason to write

Every student has ideas. And it’s important they share those ideas. Introducing lessons where students are asked to come up with and describe their invention has proven to be an effective, yet unintimidating, tool in helping teachers integrate more science into the classroom while strengthening ELA skills and motivating students to take ownership in their learning.

While the strategies outlined above can be implemented with tools already in your classroom, the CreositySpace Makerspace Packs provide a variety of lessons and projects that are specifically designed to help you include innovation and entrepreneurship in your classroom.

Learn more about CreositySpace Makerspace Packs

Our next newsletter, on June 13th, will explore using innovation and entrepreneurship to introduce elementary students to a variety of career concepts. It will be our final article in the 3 Ways to Use Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Classroom series.

Check out the full 3 Ways to Use Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Classroom series HERE.

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