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How are Community Events or Group Activities Useful for STEM Learning?

By Anna Khan


Payton Norris, a middle school teacher, summarized her experience hosting a STEM Night at her school as a sort of collaborative shark tank for kids of all levels of experience. They made the event simple and emphasized the importance of teamwork in engaging students in education. She believes that education is more than just classes and tests--community events like science fairs, STEM Nights, and projects like Positivity in a Box, run by SPARK Positivity, are equally important. These initiatives help build students' confidence by allowing them to receive constructive feedback and accept help from peers and teachers. They highlight exactly how group work, similar to what is described on the Bricks 4 Kidz website, can help develop important skills such as communication and collaboration.


In this context, The Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning details how collaborative learning can be beneficial. It helps students find their individual strengths and teaches them to manage responsibility. In a group project, everyone must take some role of authority over their own work and distribute work fairly to others. This highlights not only the importance of collaborative learning in engaging children in STEM but also its role in building leadership skills. Such achievements are often attributed not to the genius of one individual but to the collaborative efforts of an entire team. In modern-day science, for instance, the publication of an academic paper must go through weeks or months of peer review, a process that involves extensive teamwork. Similarly, in a lab, scientists bounce ideas off each other to form solutions. The importance of group work in STEM cannot be understated, thus emphasizing the necessity of teaching young students to appreciate STEM not just individually, but also in teams.


In essence, to create future independent thinkers and innovators, it is important to remember how fundamental group learning is. No scientist or student can succeed without collaboration and cooperation with their peers.


Works Cited

Bricks4Kidz. “Collaborative Learning Activities Help Kids Gain STEM Skills.” Bricks4Kidz,

www.bricks4kidz.com/blog/collaborative-learning-activities-help-kids-gain-stem-

skills/#:~:text=Rather%20than%20feeling%20isolated%20when. Accessed 28 July

2023.

Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning. “Group Learning.” Illinois.edu, 2020,

citl.illinois.edu/citl-101/teaching-learning/resources/teaching-strategies/group-

learning.

Norris, Payton. “Connect the Classroom to the Community through STEM Night.” Medium,

16 Mar. 2020, medium.com/@pnorris_86867/connect-the-classroom-to-the-

community-through-stem-night-78b1762a6e2e.



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