4 Educators’ Keys to Connecting STEM and Social Studies
Cross-curricular projects delve into sustainability issues, the societal implications of inventions and how rivers give birth to civilizations.
- By Meghan Raftery, Michelle Warrington, Kate Dodson, Darren Faust
First, there was STEM. Aiming to move education beyond isolated subjects, it was an integrated approach linking science, technology, engineering, and math. Then the arts educators got involved and created STEAM. Then the robot designers joined the team and built STREAM. As more and more subjects jump on the STEM train, what about social studies? Here, four teachers share their best practices for linking social studies and STEM.
MEGHAN RAFTERY, COORDINATOR OF ELEMENTARY SOCIAL STUDIES
We like to use social studies as a topical focus for STEM-based tasks. A key way to do that is to focus on social studies disciplines other than history. For example, we look for organizations or problems at the intersection between geography and earth science. We also try to help kids respectfully consider the engineering feats of the past in context with the resources available at the time. Students often think people long ago were unintelligent because they did not have the knowledge we have now. Asking them to imagine how simple machines may have been used to build the Roman aqueducts really open their eyes to how incredible engineering of the past really was!
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