Using STEM to Bring Literature to Life
As education is becoming increasingly focused on teaching students STEM skills, we must remember that literacy skills are just as important. While science and math have traditionally separated from literature and humanities courses, today’s literature teachers are looking for ways to engage their students using STEM.
Some people may balk at the idea of STEM activities in an English class, but as you will see, it is easier than ever before to combine STEM and Literature to bring characters and stories to life.
Read STEM Books
There has been a shift in literature trends in the classroom. As technology and the internet have become prevalent in the lives of students, it is more important than ever before to teach students how to read and understand informational texts. The heavy influence of the world wide web is why today’s curriculum places a heavy emphasis on teaching nonfiction and informational texts.
Fortunately, there are plenty of exceptional STEM books that students can read. These books are designed to teach important literacy skills (vocabulary, critical thinking, logic), as well as STEM concepts. Teachers can allow literature to answer students’ STEM questions. For example, if students are interested in cars, they can visit the library to find multiple books on the topic. But, teachers, can extend the learning by having students read biographies about famous inventors or innovators.
Additionally, there are books designed to support each STEM sub-category (science, technology, engineering, and math). You can see the National Science Teacher’s Association of outstanding science trade books for K-12 students to help you build your classroom library.
Complete STEM Activities
Furthermore, experiments do not belong just in the science classroom. When reading literature, teachers can bring characters and settings to life by experimenting in the classroom using STEM ideas. Instead of just reading the text and asking questions, teachers can have students use STEM skills to build models of characters or complete building challenges.
For example, elementary teachers are finding ways to teach STEM skills while reading fairy tales such as having students using various supplies to build the houses of the three little pigs. High school students are taking it further by using circuits and computer programming to bring literature to life. Instead of being words on a page, the characters, the plots, and settings become their own creations. Teachers can also embrace STEM by allowing students can use computer tools to storyboards or comic books rather than traditional book reports.
Finally, with the wide variety of digital tools available, it is easy to combine the study of literature and STEM. As students learn that the different subjects complement each other, they are also learning different ways to think.