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Center for Early Education in STEM

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Center for Early Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

STEM education should start early and when done well, takes advantage of children's natural curiosity to lay a foundation for later STEM learning. CEESTEM supports early childhood educators in creating hands-on, interactive classroom activities that encourage young children to develop and use inquiry processes within STEM to explore and better understand their environments. The activities within the CEESTEM website and offered through professional development have been vetted through research and successfully implemented in classrooms. The activities are exemplars of the NSTA Early Childhood Science Education Position Statement that has also been endorsed by NAEYC. CEESTEM believes quality STEM activities intrigue children and invite them to figure out how to make something happen. Below is criteria used by CEESTEM to determine if an activity provides optimum opportunities for children to experiment and make new mental relationships.

What happens must be: 

Producible: The child must be able to produce "what happens" with his or her own actions (not watch a teacher do it).

Immediate: "What happens" must occur as soon as the child acts on the object.

Observable: The child must be able to see something happen.

Variable: The child must be able to vary his or her actions to produce and observe variations in the object's reactions and given time to do so. 

Adapted from Kamii, C., & DeVries, R. (1993). Physical knowledge in preschool education: Implications of Piaget's theory. Teachers College Press.