STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and preschool is a perfect time to introduce children to these concepts when they are naturally so inquisitive and curious about their world.
There are no greater scientists and engineers than young children and preschool provides children with the structure in which to build upon their natural inclination to explore, to build, and to question.
Early exposure to STEM, whether it be in school, at a museum, a library, or just engaging in the natural trial and error of play, supports children’s overall academic growth, develops early critical thinking, hypothesizing, predicting and reasoning skills, and enhances later interest in STEM study and careers.
With this in mind, we began a unit of work on ‘Construction’ this week. We shared two books on bridges Bridges Are to Cross by Philomen Sturges and Cross A Bridge by Ryan Ann Hunter, discussing the different shapes, sizes, materials and uses for bridges. We then began exploring our own bridge constructions using various materials such as blocks, corks, straws, card, cups and popsicle sticks. We made some predictions of how many gems the bridge might hold and then discussed how we could make our bridge stronger. The children offered great suggestions such as adding more supports, using more layers of paper on top or using a different material. The children then experimented building their own bridges. Materials were available to the children all week for them to carry on their investigations into bridge building.