Creativity is a vital part of STEM that is often overlooked because of the focus on building technical skills. When students have an opportunity to be creative, they will look for unique solutions to problems, thinking outside of the box. Creativity is a 21st-century skill, and we as educators need to do everything in our power to boost and encourage opportunities that support creativity. In this blog, I’ve outlined the four things that I plan to do this upcoming school year to boost creativity in my students.
1. Project-Based Learning (aka PBL)
PBL is when students have the freedom, choice, and power to build creative skills through problem-solving and real-world applications. PBL is a fantastic tool to build up students’ problem-solving skills and teaches students how to work both as a team and independently. My plan this school year is to incorporate at least four different STEM PBL projects that allow students to be as creative as they want to achieve the outcome. The first STEM PBL Project that I am going to do with my students is using weather to predict industry sales. Students would pick an industry (clothing, food, energy, etc.) and use weather data to forecast their industry’s sales and trends. Students would then use this data to create different solutions for their industry for when the business is low due to weather. This project will encourage creativity in the way they do research, determine solutions, and present their results.
2. Makerspace Upgrade
This next school year, I am planning on revamping my makerspace area. I have been a huge lover of having a makerspace area in my library and what that space has done for the students and their creative and innovative brains. For this upcoming school year, I plan to survey the students to see what they want more of in the makerspace areas and make that happen. I want to have items in the makerspace area that will ignite the passion and creativity of my students and draw them into that area. Once I have an idea of what my students are wanting, I will then start purchasing different items based on my student’s interests. All students are different, so I suggest you do this with your students as well!
3. Take Breaks
A very easy way to boost creativity with your students is by giving them breaks! By taking a pause, students are given the necessary time to rest and to allow their brains to process what they are learning. This will allow students to stop thinking about what they are working on and return to that task later with fresh eyes and a new creative approach. Breaks are also great for students’ mental health so this will be a huge must for this upcoming school year.
4. Reward and Celebrate!
A way to boost creativity with your students is to simply reward and celebrate everything, including different ways of thinking, even if they fail. Students have a massive amount of stress and responsibilities on their shoulders, more than ever experienced before, and just celebrating them will encourage their creative processes and help their confidence. When their confidence is up, they will be willing to try new things, further expanding on creativity.
I hope that this next school year everyone will do whatever they can to get the creative juices flowing for their students!
Looking for a way to upgrade your makerspace? Download this free makerspace toolkit!