Improve Students’ Competence With STEM Challenges Related To SDGs

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!

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.

Zeynep Ç.

Ali B.

Fatma Beyza K.

İhsan Ukbe K.

Narin H.

Yaşar Efe K.

Here is the my students working process photos:

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zeynepcerenciftsuren

First of all,I am a Math teacher who likes to learn,develops oneself,is open to innovations,follows technology and working on STEM so that I can encourage my students to have a career on STEM subjects in their future lives.I am Scientix and FCL Ambassador .At the same time I am a mentor of FRC Robotics team called rOctopus 7134. Second I try to make Math funny and interesting by using different methods and techniques like role playing games,Virtual simulations,field visits,drama,using responsive applications like Kahoot.I create hands-on ,interactive learning experiences to get my students excited about Science. My school is l Köşk is one of the district of the Aydın.There are 248 students, 20 teachers, a director and an assistant director in my school.

22 thoughts on “Improve Students’ Competence With STEM Challenges Related To SDGs”

  1. STEM should be loved by our students because surely it is a base structure of many teaching subject. Thanks a lot for such beautiful examples and article.

  2. I mostly liked the reason “STEM Challenges go hand in had”. this is just the philosophy of STEM practices and it yields an interdisciplinary perspective in the school curriculums. Squashed Tomatoes challenge is just one of the example of day-to-day life but the world people are expected to deal with such a challenge. I mostly liked Abdulkadir’s reaction to the challenge, not a reaction but a suggestion.

  3. First of all,I congratulate the teacher and the students.I saw the valuable efforts of the teacher and the students living in the little town of Turkey,lucks of technology…
    I appreciate the teacher for teaching her students not only mathematics,but also raising awareness about our planet.
    Thank you so much to you dear teacher and the dear students..

  4. It was honour to work with you in the same eTwinning project and Morever via this blog, to get different information is great,as well.Thanks

  5. This project is a project that will shed light on my students and me. Because I also work at the village school. Many of my students do not have technological tools. With this project, I can improve my students. It is really great work. Congratulations.

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