“This curriculum has open my eyes to what a STEM curriculum actually looks like. I feel that my students have gained so much this year by being part of this program and I will continue teaching Seeds of STEM in years to come.”
Seeds of STEM is a year-long, problem-based STEM curriculum for preschool and pre-K classrooms. The curriculum was developed between 2015-2019 and is now ready for classroom implementation.
Foundational STEM Skills
Seeds of STEM integrates science concepts with engineering practices, and supports the development of STEM foundational skills. Throughout the Seeds of STEM units, the children define and research the problem, brainstorm possible solutions, sort the solutions into testable/non-testable in a classroom setting, plan a selected solution, create the solution, test it against the criteria for successful solutions, revise the solutions, and share the final solutions with Problem Panda and a classroom guest. Throughout the process the children share their work (ideas, plans, and prototypes) with their peers.
For Teachers, by teachers
The curriculum was developed by researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), the College of the Holy Cross, and teachers from the Worcester Child Development Head Start Program. The development was guided by an advisory board that included engineers, experts in EC education, experts in teacher PD, and researchers with expertise in study design and STEM stereotypes.
The curriculum was designed to use everyday classroom materials, and does not require purchase of unique materials.
Seeds of STEM was developed in alignment with four sets of standards: The Next Generation Science Standards (kindergarten), the Common Core standards for Mathematics (Kindergarten), the Massachusetts Science, Technology, and Engineering (STE) frameworks (Pre-K and kindergarten), and the Head Start’s Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF).
The Seeds of STEM curriculum development followed a rigorous testing & revision process. All 8 units of the curriculum were tested multiple times in nearly 40 preschool classrooms, mostly Head Start. The curriculum was revised 5 times based on detailed feedback from teachers.
All units were designed for, and tested in multi-age classrooms (3-5 years).
Key Research Findings
A pilot study in 16 classrooms (14 Head Start) conducted during the 2017-2018 academic year found that teachers who taught the entire Seeds of STEM curriculum increased their knowledge, practice, and self-efficacy regarding the teaching of STEM in preschool classrooms, compared with a control group.
The study also found that classrooms that taught Seeds of STEM with high fidelity – increased the quality of instructional support interactions, compared with a control group (as measured by the validated CLASS tool).