STEM has many benefits, from hands-on learning and building critical thinking skills to expanding real-world knowledge and growing creativity. STEM grows students to think outside the box and always try to find answers. Not only are STEM activities that involve creating fun but there are several benefits as well.
Three Benefits to Creating in the Classroom
When students are creating, they are diverting their focus away from whatever is bringing them stress. Being creative is an outlet for students to be themselves and work through their emotions.
When creating, students are building their self-esteem. Through STEM, students are encouraged to embrace failure which helps to improve their sense of personal value and self-worth. When there are no chances to mess up and make a mistake, you grow self-esteem.
Engages the Entire Brain
When being creative, you are engaging the entire brain and growing intelligence in the process. The left brain is more logical and analytical than the right which is more creative. Open-ended creating in the STEM classroom allows students to exercise both sides of their brains. Whole Brain Teaching models allow students to retain information better and achieve more success in school.
Three Ways to Bring in More Creativity with STEM
PBL (Project-Based Learning)
By having different PBL activities, you are allowing more creativity through STEM. Project-based learning not only brings STEM ideas to life through the application but grows creativity in the students by allowing students to innovate their own solutions. Several STEM PBLs are great to start in your classroom including stop-motion animation, creating an aircraft, and building toothpick bridges.
Celebrate mistakes and don’t focus too much on accuracy. Through mistakes, students can learn and grow from their learning. Just like Ms. Frizzle says, “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!”
Set STEM Time
Having a set STEM time daily helps get students in a routine to be creative. Give students time explore in the makerspace, work on a PBL, or try a new STEM activity. Allowing students to find their STEM focus during this time will have creativity bloom.
Four STEM Activities that Involve Creating
CreateKits are open-ended makerspace kits where students are given supplies and the creative freedom to design different products like a pinball machine, Rube Goldberg machine, or a musical instrument. These kits teach different STEM topics and allow the students to be as creative as they want.
Building bricks are a great way to allow students to just be creative while building their engineering skills. You can give students challenge cards to work on while using bricks or just let them explore independently. There are a lot of options available like BrickLab bricks, Keva planks, LuxBlox, and more!
Giving students a wide arrange of materials and having them creating a catapult allows students to be creative and work on their problem-solving techniques while trying to find the best way to make one. Spoon catapults are a particular favorite among students!
Circuits are a fun way to teach students about electricity and current. To allow students to be creative while working with circuits, you can have students make art using circuits (like the Starry Night or using the circuits as eyes). You can even have students make a flashlight using circuits. Paper circuits, bristlebots, and CreateKit circuit kits are creative approaches to implementing circuits in the classroom.
For more ways to get creative in the classroom, check out the STEM Supplies makerspace assortment!