A Guide to STEM Courses And Creating A Good Lesson Plan

Nowadays, most learners in the classroom are digital natives, STEM education has therefore moved from niche to mainstream for several good reasons. Still, it is a relatively new field of study in the post-80s and post-90s since school curriculum rarely took this medium into account back in the days. If you are a teacher searching for the ultimate guide to your STEM lesson plan, Big Bang Academy is here to help you design and lead high-quality courses!

What is STEM?

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have become an integral part of  the world we live in. Without these 4 core elements, major economies such as the United States, China, Japan and Germany would not be able to maintain their status to the current day.

STEM education, which started as an emerging concept in Western countries, has spread around the world with remarkable speed in recent years.

Hong Kong is also a major midshore financial centre serving as an international gateway to Asia, a great deal to promote STEM education and help students of all competence levels find their way to a brighter future. 

As Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung announced, the Hong Kong Government will continue to support students enrolled in STEM programs and encourage them to pursue a career in the innovation and technology field:

“We will base on the present foundation built by schools to provide further enhanced support measures, so as to continue enhancing students' interest and learning effectiveness in STEM disciplines.”

--- Report on Promotion of STEM Education

Reference: edx

What are STEM subjects?

Getting a definition for STEM is easy enough, however, “STEM subjects” is a far broader term which encompasses numerous academic disciplines.

The most commonly known STEM courses are as below:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Biochemistry
  • Integrated Science
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Statistics

The list can go on and on, but hopefully, this gives you a basic idea to build upon.

Reference: Top Universities

How to create STEM lesson plans?

1. Brainstorm

By the time you read this, you must have realised STEM covers a wide range of skills and knowledge that is impossible to be condensed into one single lesson.

Why not involve your students early on instead of deciding what you want to teach? Teachers can invite students to brainstorm topics and areas by introducing them to the main topic. During brainstorming, the free flow of ideas can make students feel creative and even more curious.

2. Investigate

A brainstorming session usually ends up with hundreds of ideas. To utilise its full potential, consider all ideas to unleash the potential of the topic and develop an appropriate teaching approach to the upcoming STEM lesson.

3. Apply

Needless to say, we recommend that you include all four STEM components in your curriculum in one go. Still, keep in mind that the overarching goal of STEM’s lesson planning is to make the process more impactful for students instead of shoving every mouthful of knowledge down their necks. The STEM lesson is definitely the most effective when teachers only apply pillars that are actually meaningful and relevant to students' needs and interests.

4. Create

Now it’s the time to get specific! Always set a clear lesson objective to avoid getting lost. You can then gather useful materials and resources such as books, apps and videos that can help students to deepen their understanding of the STEM topic. After that, think about the pacing and time allocation. For example, how much time for students to discuss and put ideas into practice? How long does lesson debriefing take? 

It's even more important to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances, as STEM education is all about creativity, and students might ask questions or take actions that are completely out of the box.

5. Reflect

In the rush of teaching, very often the teachers forget to take a step back and look at their teaching practice from a different perspective. Unlike traditional subjects, STEM education is constantly evolving which requires an ongoing commitment to improving learning outcomes for every student. - Evaluating your teachings after the lesson will not only help you avoid making the same mistakes, but will also give you valuable insights on how to create a highly rewarding STEM lesson.

Reference: Steam Powered Family, middleweb

Characteristics of an effective STEM lesson plan

1. Hands-on Lessons

Research has proven that information tends to stick better through hands-on experience. In other words, the incorporation of hands-on experiments lies at the core of every successful STEM education, especially when it comes to science lessons.

2. Address Everyday Problems

"When do you actually use this?" 

Students have been struggling with the above question for centuries. And on the 21st, a problem-based STEM lesson finally offers a silver bullet. There are many opportunities to incorporate real-life problems into STEM lessons, for instance, students can use a variety of scientific methods to actually connect skills and applications to solve real-life crimes.

3. Integrates Grade-level Content

Effective learning is all about understanding, that's why teachers need to program and create STEM lessons according to their students' grade levels. Otherwise, the curriculum will be too complicated that the students will often reach their frustration threshold. Meanwhile, the lessons should align with the general education academic standards, allowing students to keep moving forward and progressing toward their grade level goals.

4. Work in Teams to Solve Problems

Working in the STEM field often requires some collaboration with a large and diverse group of members. To truly ride the new wave, teachers should consider encouraging students to exchange perspectives and ideas through well-structured and supervised team activities. Differ from going solo, working in a team combines individual experiences with innovative ideas making the STEM lessons more fun and engaging.

Reference: everfi

Online STEM courses for teachers

1. Big Bang Academy

Recognised as the Most Outstanding STEAM Education Platform in Hong Kong, Big Bang Academy spares no effort to motivate a self-directed and self-motivated learning experience for the younger generation. Founded in early 2020, we have been working with numerous local and international schools to offer students the opportunity to learn science in a more interactive and approachable way. Hoping to get your school ready for STEM? Let’s explore how we seamlessly embed STEM into the school curriculum here.

2. eDX

With a mission to bring together the best universities from all around the world to create courses for everyone, eDX is well-known for its high-quality education. Partnering with leading universities such as Harvard, Caltech, Oxford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, eDX has over 800 STEM courses to help each have a different learning style and inspiration. It is designed.

3. FutureLearn

FutureLearn offers a wide variety of STEM courses. From basic STEM knowledge to advanced topics such as robotics, data science and statistics, FutureLearn offers a comprehensive choice of study areas. If you are planning for a STEM lesson you have never taught before, it definitely serves as a great resource to help you navigate to create attractive and efficient course structures.

4. STEM Learning

Working in collaboration with the Government, organisations and educational establishments, STEM Learning is committed to provide state-of-the-art STEM education for youngsters across the UK. The courses are precisely categorised into different grade levels and subjects, coupled with thousands of free-to-access, quality-assured resources delivered by STEM professionals in classrooms and communities, STEM Learning is home to whoever wants to seek new teaching ideas and insights.

Best STEM Course For Students - Big Bang Academy

As the only STEM.org accredited STEM programme based in Hong Kong, Big Bang Academy curriculum is well-researched and developed by experienced Cambridge scientists and educators. 

Our STEAM lessons and workshops are specifically designed to suit the learning needs of kindergarten and primary schoolers. Throughout the course, students will explore amazing adventures in science, technology, engineering and mathematics with mini-games, questions and interactive videos.

For a complete list of our STEM learning kits, visit our Big Bang Curriculum page.

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Big Bang Academy

Big Bang Academy is an accredited science EdTech startup. Founded in early 2020, we started with a workshop of 15 students and a dream. Ever since, we have grown to serve 3,000+ students in both a lesson setting and our very own online education platform, Big Bang Lab.

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