Author: Zeynep Ceren ÇİFTSÜREN
I work in a rural school where students come from immigrant families. The parents’ economic level is usually very low. The majority of my students don’t have technological tools (computers, laptops,etc.) at home. Even though most of my students’ families have smartphones, they do not have a proper Internet connection.
Now consider my mood! I was really shocked when I first heard that schools were closing. How would I reach my students? Of course, I had my students’ phone numbers and a WhatsApp group. But this was not enough for online teaching.
So what am I going to do in this process? Of course, we can work on SDGs! Our school was involved in the Sustainable Development Goals Project and Climate Action Project. My students had a certain level of knowledge about global issues.
So I decided to prepare STEM Challenges related to SDGs for them. I used Google Slides for these events. This Google Slides tool is interactive and there is a possibility to upload videos too. At the same time, I prepared the infographics of all STEM Challenges. I shared Google Slides named “Improve Students’ Competence With STEM Challenges Related To SDGs” and infographics via WhatsApp group, uploaded them on Google Drive, via email and posted them on the school website. Our activities were held on 20 – 30 April 2020.
I believe STEM Challenges make students do something to feel better, happier and give them joy. These can be very small things, but it can help hugely to keep up their spirits in this lockdown period.
The lockdown can be a great opportunity for teaching Global Issues and SDGs which students did not find too much interesting. It’s a good opportunity for them to learn what’s happening to our world.
We all want our students to master technology tools and use them to create original works. But sometimes we may not have the chance or the opportunity to do so. STEM challenges allow students to explore global issues while creating something, following the steps of the engineering design process.
Here’s a collection of STEM engineering challenges related to SDGs that are fun and engaging, and that also make use of recycled or inexpensive materials. These hands-on, problem-solving challenges will put pupils’ thinking and design skills to the test!
- Straw Roller Coaster Challenge
- Beat The Flood Challenge
- Squashed Tomatoes Challenge
- Floating Garden Challenge
- Stick Gears Challenge
- Plastic Challenge
When students are finished with these challenges:
- You can create a class eBook using Google Slides. Each student gets one slide to insert, showcasing his/her final product.
- You can create a Padlet and ask students to upload their final products there.
- Make an online exhibition. In this way, students will be able to take a virtual tour and see their classmates’ creations.
- Ask students to present their final products to the whole class.
The reasons why students love these STEM Challenges:
- Because in STEM challenges theory and practice go hand in hand.
- Because failure is bound to happen.
- Because they are always surprised.
- Improving the initial design is a vital part of any STEM challenge.
- They have lots of fun.
- Challenges are related to SDGs
- Problems are real.
- They learn lots of things about global issues, for example, climate change.
Some of the results of the challenges my students made:
Abdulkadir Al M.
Fatma Beyza K.
İhsan Ukbe K.
Yaşar Efe K.
Here is the my students working process photos: