STEM activities in the Early Childhood Classroom

Atlantic County educators Laurie Derringer and Debra Carmody from the Hamilton Township School District were awarded a $6,344 grant to carry out this STEM project in 10 classrooms at the Joseph C. Shaner School in Mays Landing.

After the teachers have set up the STEM materials in their classrooms, students will spend the first several weeks of school learning how to appropriately use and care for them. Each day, students will have at least one hour of choice time where they can spend time interacting with one another and take part in purposeful play, planning and problem solving while they are building and creating structures. While teachers and paraprofessionals will offer guidance and suggestions, they will allow students to formulate their own ideas and try out their own plans. Teachers will encourage students to document their creations by making drawings and “writing” about what they have made.

Teachers will meet three times a year to discuss the STEM project and to share ideas and problem solve as issues arise. Teachers will use the Teaching Strategies GOLD online assessment system to take photos and video the students’ creations, make observational notes about the students’ ability to interact with peers, solve problems, attend and engage, and use scientific inquiry skills. These materials will be accessible to students at choice time throughout the school year. They will look for students to progress in not only science and math objectives, but also in social, emotional, cognitive and language objectives as well. The addition of STEM materials that will be used throughout the school year will allow students to move levels related to the objectives and dimensions included in the Teaching Strategies GOLD system.

For more information, contact:

Laurie Derringer, Project Coordinator
(609) 476-6273 (school)