Picture provided by the author, attribution CC-BY
The STEM Journey project is a STEM initiative that continues its work with a total of 12 members, including 6 Turkish, 2 Slovak, 2 Lithuanian, 1 Polish, and 1 Croatian members. Our project caters to the 3-6 age group and incorporates all STEM disciplines, while also integrating various art activities. The main objectives of our project are to support 21st-century competencies, foster students’ scientific thinking and problem-solving skills, and encourage them to embrace STEM fields as innovative and entrepreneurial individuals. The project follows a monthly plan based on the format used by EU projects. We first introduce the ecosystem and then base our work on global issues, aiming to create awareness and ensure an interdisciplinary approach. We prioritize our students’ creativity during the engineering phase of our products. The project commenced in January 2023 and concluded in May with our final product. Throughout the five-month process, all partners actively participated in the project, implementing the planned activities through webinar chatroom discussions and WhatsApp correspondence. Mixed teams were created to involve all partners in the planning process, and numerous online STEM trainings were provided to keep partners informed and up-to-date about STEM topics.
Once we decided on the themes to work on, we brainstormed them using Google Jam web 2. Our project focused on three main themes: glaciers in February, rainforests in March, and deserts in April. We maintained an orderly approach while working on these themes every month, following the sequence of Google Jam brainstorming and planning, uploading studies to Padlets, creating e-books for module outputs, conducting technology studies, and providing support to non-governmental organizations.
As technology plays a crucial role in our lives, we introduced new tools to our project and integrated them into our activities. Additionally, we taught our students tools such as Chattrpix, jigsaw puzzles, and throwing tools, suitable for their respective age groups.
Collaboration was a key aspect of our project, encompassing both our own introductions and project integrative studies, as well as works related to current issues and concerns. These collaborative efforts included Water Day, Disinformation, Safe Internet Day, World Hours Awareness, Zero Waste Newspaper, eTwinning Day, glaciers with animated drawings, and STEM Discovery Week. Through online connections with students and sharing STEM-related posts, Mixed Team teams actively engaged in the project.
By incorporating global problems and sustainable development education into our project, we emphasized the careful use and sustainability of the environment and natural resources, structured environmental knowledge, and fostered a sense of responsibility. This approach sparked interest among students in engineering, mathematics, science, and art, enabling them to develop competence in these areas. Our STEM studies provided children with engineering and design skills, allowing them to experience holistic learning through real-life problems. The project facilitated the development of critical, analytical, innovative, creative, reasoning, problem-solving, active learning, and communication skills. These findings were derived from survey analysis and student observations.
Throughout the project, we prioritized the privacy and security of our students and raised awareness about these issues. We implemented Safe Internet Day studies and consistently adhered to ethical rules and copyrights.
The author completed her undergraduate education in the Department of Preschool Education at Gazi University, and her master’s degree in the Department of Preventive Guidance and Counseling Services at Sakarya University. She has provided trainings using various methods and techniques throughout her 14-year career and has been engaged in STEM studies for the past 4 years. The author is a STEM Ambassador and actively participates in numerous eTwinning projects and Erasmus activities.