Our STEM in Nature Project aims to provide our students with STEM integration with nature-oriented activities. Events that occur in nature constitute the starting point of our project. Growing a plant, what plant roots do, the water cycle, the importance of water for life, what winds do in nature, and recycling in nature are the subjects of the project.
Why is nature important in STEM activities?
Nature offers us great opportunities to create preliminary knowledge that children can use in the STEM approach. There is no need for expensive materials for this. It is enough to compare children with what nature has to offer us. STEM education is not an education model that we are far from. Watching the ants when you go out to play in the garden, the game of stepping on the shadow you play together, the bean experiments we watched grow, the wind wheel we spin in the wind.
Throughout our project, we will enable our students to get to know their surroundings with STEM-based activities. We will increase their interest and knowledge in nature. We will ensure that our students have environmental awareness and positive attitudes towards the environment. With STEM activities, we will enrich nature experiences with our students.
At the beginning of the study process, we started to work by determining the topics our students were most curious about in their environment. We created seed banks, made our seed balls, studied how plants grow, the roots of plants, and produced dyes from plant roots. Then we moved on to the water for plants. We have observed how water is formed through experiments. We investigated which creatures other than plants need water. We created ourselves aquariums with materials. We passed the wind issue in our third topic. We started by investigating how winds are formed. We researched wind turbines. We made ourselves wind wheels, spinning our wind wheels. Our project continued during the COVID19 period. Together with parents, we continued to explore recycling in nature.
Our project developed the scientific skills of our students through STEM-based activities and developed all developmental areas in early childhood. Our students were able to use Web2 tools with technology integration. We strengthened our students’ ties with nature and enabled them to look at nature more curiously.
About the Author: Havva Düzenli, preschool teacher, STEM Educator Trainer, Scientix Ambassador, Turkey