Integrating Engineering, Science, Reading, and Robotics across Grades 3-8 in a STEM Education Era
Abstract: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) entered the general lexicon in the United States within the last ten years. Both Presidents Obama and Trump emphasized STEM education as a priority for the United States because the number of college graduates with STEM degrees is perceived as an important factor contributing to the global competitiveness of the United States. STEM refers to four disciplines but the acronym is generally interpreted to mean science or math rather than technology or engineering because only science and mathematics are included oftentimes in the school curriculum. In this paper, we describe our attempts to teach integrated STEM units to grades 3-8 students based on five different articles. The first two articles describe how we engaged grades 3-5 elementary students, in two different engineering design challenges (soda can crusher design and trash grabber design) by using our engineering design model. The third article summarizes how we taught epistemological aspects of engineering using picture books within an engineering design challenge. The fourth article illustrates how students in groups of two or three created biomimetic robots with coding. The fifth article details how students built an animatronic zoo showcasing a particular biome and animals living in it by using computational thinking.