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Increasing Early Opportunities in Engineering for Advanced Learners in Elementary Classrooms: A Review of Recent Literature

Abstract

"Present and future challenges in our society demand a solid science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) knowledge base, innovative thinking, and the ability to ask the right questions to generate multiple solutions. To prepare innovators to meet these challenges, we must recognize and develop their talents. This advancement and growth can be encouraged through classroom activities, special schools, afterschool or summer programs, competitions, and informal learning opportunities that focus on STEM curricula and authentic experiences. Purposeful introductions, early exposure, and continuous development with science and engineering concepts can affect retention and sustain interest in STEM fields. This article describes how both in-school and informal science opportunities can provide authentic and experiential opportunities to stimulate students' interests in science and engineering and foster their curiosity through problem-based investigations. In addition, the authors recommend appropriate STEM-focused professional development for teachers to provide engaging experiences for their students."