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Shelby Wagner STEM Philosophy Statement I am in the elementary education program because I believe children are our future

and it is our job to prepare them for the future and get them excited and interested in learning. I myself love to learn and want to pass this same attitude towards school onto future generations. I believe every child is entitled to a positive school experience and I want to be a part of that. I also want to help create an environment that facilitates learning and self-motivation. I believe STEM is crucial to education in the 21st century because our world heavily relies on mathematics and science for answers and technology is becoming more and more widely used in everyday life. We also need engineers to create the technology, so it is important for children to be introduced to all of these disciplines and shown how they are all interconnected. If children are introduced to these at an early age and in a way that allows them to explore through investigation they will continue to be interested in STEM subjects throughout their school coursework and maybe even into their college life and their careers. When I was in school I had many experiences with conducting and carrying out experiments in science class. I found the most enriching science classes to be the lessons that were actually hands-on and when we had to read from a text book it was harder to retain the information. I also have found that when learning mathematics it is very hard to be taught just from examples on the board. I need a lot of practice with certain math topics and multiple ways of doing it for it to resonate with me. If I am not given multiple opportunities to practice a given area in math then I will quickly forget it. I learn math most effectively when it is something that I can relate to and use in my everyday life. I did have some experience with industrial technology in middle school and I really enjoyed this class because everything was hands-on. The class predominantly featured computer based programs, while presenting different types of technology which were available to us. I remember one program was for creating a train that moved by magnets, one was a program for architecture that enabled me to build a house, and one was for flight simulation. The only area I did not actually have a course in was engineering, but I do feel that some engineering was embedded into my technology classes. Now that I am in the WSU-R Elementary Ed. Program I have had many more experiences with STEM. I have gained a better understanding of what it is and how to implement it in the classroom. I have learned about scientific inquiry as well as the scientific process. I now understand that anyone has the capability to be a scientist and all it takes is questioning something in life and wanting to find an answer. I have taken part in science lessons that spark curiosity and imagination in students. One lesson included bubbles and hypothesizing and carrying out experiments on how to fit a teacher in a bubble. My first semester in this program has shown me a whole new side to science by relating it to reallife situations which is both relevant and compelling. Through my coursework, I have been exposed to many different areas of technology that are used in classrooms. I have learned how to run a SMART Board and use programs such as; Google Docs, Dropbox, and Excel. I have also had the opportunity to work with microscopes and classroom manipulatives. Engineering is when someone has a problem they want to solve and they create a tool to help them solve that problem. The idea of engineering is still fairly new to me. With increased exposure throughout my coursework, I will become more comfortable with this area and how to help my students become engineers. I have had multiple experiences with math after my first semester at WSU-R. I have experienced measurement lessons with third

graders, calculating averages with fifth graders, and counting coins and telling time with second graders. I have also gained more knowledge through my coursework, on the multiple ways to do math and solve problems. I was introduced to lattice multiplication and addition, as well as partial product and quotient methods. I have had the opportunity to work with multiple manipulatives such as; base ten blocks, unifix cubes, fraction towers, geoboards, and place value charts. After this exposure, I feel much more comfortable with effectively utilizing manipulatives in my own classroom. The content knowledge I bring to STEM education is that I have been studying about what STEM is and what it means to teach it in the classroom. I understand that STEM is a pig part of the world and the subjects taught in these classes will be important life-long skills for children to gain. So far, with my clinical work I have experienced multiple lessons with STEM. At Riverside I experienced carrying out scientific experiments with the students and incorporating certain benchmarks in what they were learning. Math that was appropriate for the grade was also embedded in these science lessons. In my own clinical work at Ben Franklin I have lead lessons on subjects at appropriate developmental levels for second graders. I have helped them with counting money and telling time. I have also assisted in science lessons and have seen how to incorporate everyday life into science class. I have learned more about technology through practice with different tools and can navigate how to use a lap top, different word programs, I pads, and a Smart Board. I have experienced engineering through helping children set up and test out their own experiments and I have seen what they can create/ build with their own ideas. This semester, I have taken courses on STEM that have given me a better understanding of what STEM is and how it is used in classrooms. In STEM class, I learned about inquiry and how important it is to engage students in science. I have had training through the InSciEd-Out Program at Mayo and learned the importance of Zebra fish to scientific research. Technology has also been embedded into my coursework. I have used SMART Boards to carry out a lesson, and power point presentations to present a topic. I also used microscopes and lab equipment during my externship at Mayo Clinic. I have not had as much experience with engineering, but it goes hand in hand with the other areas of STEM. Someone who is curious about something in science usually wants to solve that problem and when they create something to solve the problem they are then considered an engineer. I know once I have more experience in classrooms and create more science lessons; the idea of engineering will become more natural to me. To prepare me for elementary math I have had multiple lessons and classes on math. I have experienced Math 1060 and M-TED, these are both classes aimed at informing elementary teachers on all forms of math. They help to develop a better content understanding and prepare us for dealing with and teaching multiple ways to solve a given problem. It is important to understand pedagogy so that a teacher can know what is appropriate in the classroom. There are different pedagogies to learning and teaching STEM. As a STEM educator I will bring knowledge of how to construct appropriate lesson plans and how to assess and observe children in order to adjust my lesson plans to their needs. I will be able to check myself to make sure I am teaching in a way that is understandable to the students and follows the benchmarks. I will also be able to pose questioning for thinking so that children can come to their own conclusions and I am not just giving them the answers. As a learner of STEM I have gained an understanding of pedagogy in teaching. I have learned about effective lesson plan writing and how to cater to multiple developmental levels that may be in my classroom. I have written lessons on parts

of a plant, science class safety, presentation day, and using fraction towers. I wrote three days of lesson plans for a small group of second graders, with the focus on counting coins. I created the manipulatives and materials necessary for each lesson and I adjusted the lesson plans each day according to where we were at the end of each lesson. I was also in another second grade classroom for my external clinical hours, where I developed and carried out lesson plans on measurement, time, coin counting, and fact families in addition. I also developed a lesson around adding multiple digit numbers with base-ten blocks and place value charts. My role as a teacher, to support optimal learning, will be to practice appropriate STEM learning in the classroom and it will be my job as a teacher to facilitate substantial learning through hands on experiences. My role as a teacher will be to guide the students in their own findings, but not hinder or control what or how they learn. I believe using proper assessment and evaluation is important as a teacher and this will help a teacher to know what level everyone in their class is at and ensure that no one gets left behind. It is important as a teacher to appropriately challenge the students and pose questions for thinking, without giving answers away or constantly pointing out miscues. I believe a teachers role is also to create lesson plans that meet the appropriate benchmarks and to cater to all of the needs of the students in the classroom. A teacher needs to be an observer of how the children learn, so that they can adjust their teaching to what works for the students. Jean Piaget has had a major impact on education and how it is taught for the past century. He created an outline for the developmental stages children go through and what ages fall into each category. This has enabled teachers to understand how their students learn and what skills they are capable of. Not all children fall into the same category at the same rate, but his theory provides a framework for teachers to plan their lessons around depending on their students needs. I believe that Vygotsky and Montessoris developmental theories also play a big role in how STEM is taught and learned. Vygotskys, Zone of Proximal Development, states that the systems around a child are what they interact with and learn from. Montessori believed in a more hands off teaching approach and allowing children to work on their own to come up with answers and the teacher was mainly around to facilitate learning and observe how the children learn. These theories both focus on children learning through socialization and personal experience. This is very important in STEM because children need to learn things through object level or hands on investigation before they can attach any meaning to it. They then can form symbolic meanings for things they have learned. They need to explore things on their own without a teacher telling them the right answers and then they need to be able to collaborate with other students to compare and contrast findings. To better prepare myself for this work, the following skills will be essential for me to master: I would like to master my skills at using questions for thinking. I believe this is not something that comes naturally and I will have to practice repeatedly to become efficient at it. I believe my clinical practice is already providing me with substantial experience in this area. I would also like to practice lesson planning that is appropriate for all students. I think learning to write lessons and adjusting them for all of the different learners is the class will become easier after spending more time in different classrooms and interacting with more students. I would also like to become more fluent in using academic language. I can better prepare myself for this by checking myself when I am in my

clinical hours and making sure that I am always using the appropriate academic language instead of normal talk. After writing this paper I have learned that so far in our program classes and in my clinical hours I have gained much more knowledge about STEM. Before entering the program I had never even heard of STEM and now I have an understanding of what it is and how it is important to education in the 21st century. I feel that my clinical experience is the key to knowing how to teach STEM and what STEM lessons looks like in the classroom. My recent experience with the InSciEd-Out Program at Mayo has really instilled a better understanding of what STEM is and how it is crucial to education and provides ways to inspire inquiry in the classroom. I still have a lot more to learn on these subjects, but the more I am in the classroom and the more I research and experience STEM in class will only further my knowledge in these areas. I feel that this essay is important to write as a future teacher because it shows me what I have learned so far and allows me to reflect on that knowledge. I can then use this knowledge to see where I have strengths and weaknesses in STEM and then work on these areas.