The guiding principles of the development of Seeds of STEM units.
Following an extensive review of the literature, the Seeds of STEM research team defined a set of eight research-based principles to guide the development of the curriculum and ensure its high quality. The team adapted the Dayton Regional STEM Center’s Quality STEM Framework (Pinnell et al., 2013) to meet the standards for high-quality early childhood education.
Seeds of STEM learning experiences provide children with books, videos, materials, and tasks that are appropriate for their cognitive and language development.
Seeds of STEM learning experiences are designed to reflect the diversity of gender, ethnic background, and physical abilities while allowing access and emphasizing children’s own culture.
Seeds of STEM learning experiences engage children in open-ended, multiple solutions problem-solving task which requires them to follow the engineering design process (i.e., defining the problem, brainstorming, researching, creating, testing, improving, and communicating).
Application of the Engineering Design Process
Seeds of STEM learning experiences are content-accurate, aligned with the relevant content standards including the Georgia Early Learning Development Standards, and foundational skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math as articulated in Pre-k standards and frameworks.
The integrity of the Academic Content
Seeds of STEM learning experiences are hands-on in nature and require children to use a variety of tools to solve each problem (e.g., scissors, scales, computers, screen-free coding robots, rulers, hand lenses).
Connections to non-STEM Disciplines
Seeds of STEM learning experiences help children connect STEM knowledge and skills with standards from early literacy, art, social-emotional, and physical education.
Real-world connections and STEM Careers
Seeds of STEM learning is driven by real-world phenomena, which are familiar and relevant to the children’s life inside and out of the classroom.
When applicable, quality STEM learning experiences introduce different STEM careers and help children understand the roles of people who work in STEM disciplines.
Nature of Assessment
Seeds of STEM units include formative and summative authentic embedded assessments. The variety of activities allows children to demonstrate their understanding in different ways and allows teachers to record children’s mastery of learning outcomes.