2020 Fall STEM Education News Roundup

October / 2020

Welcome to our 2020 Fall Edition of our STEM Education News Roundup! The Blocks Rock team is always keeping watch for the latest STEM news.

Welcome to our 2020 Fall Edition of our STEM Education News Roundup! Because our game activates brain development and improves STEM learning skills, the Blocks Rock team is always keeping watch for the latest STEM news.

Since it has been a few months since we’ve done a roundup like this, we have plenty of great articles to share!

We’ve pulled together 5 recent articles that we hope will inspire you to think about the future of education and STEM learning. Read until the end to learn more about a bonus research article about Blocks Rock!

Positive Student-Teacher Relationships Benefit Students' Long-Term Health, Study Finds

Date: October 29, 2020 | By American Psychological Association

This research explores the importance of good, supportive relationships between tweens and their teachers. The study found that students who have these relationships with their teachers enjoy better health as adults. Also, while friendships are important to adolescents, the study did not find the same link between good peer relationships and students’ health in adulthood.

Standout Quote: “...participants who had reported better relationships with both their peers and teachers in middle school and high school also reported better physical and mental health in their mid-20s.”

Click here to read this article.

5 Simple Ways to Integrate STEAM Education into Elementary Classrooms

By Amy Erb | Date: October 22, 2020

In this article, Amy explores how elementary school classrooms can incorporate STEAM in five simple ways. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math. As she states, “I believe that it is important for our youngest learners in the elementary setting to be exposed to all subjects.”

Standout Quote: “5. Create a Maker Space: There is a maker-movement in cities all across the world! People all over the globe are tinkering, designing, and creating things–all sorts of things–that can be shown off in a maker space.”

Click here to read this article.

If you’re looking for an addition to your maker space or the perfect starter game, consider Blocks Rock! Learn more about Blocks Rock’s brain-activating benefits here.

Teachers Play a Critical Role in Shaping Girls’ Future as Coders

Date: October 12, 2020 | By: Roxanne Hughes, Research Faculty, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

This article breaks down research that found “it doesn’t take long to help girls see a future for themselves in computer science, but it depends largely on how good their teachers are at recognizing the skills the girls have in coding, which is basically writing language for computers.”

Standout Quote: “Our study found that educators’ own biases around gender can affect how [young girls] recognize skills and what types of behaviors they recognize.”

Click here to read this article.

Teacher Tips: How to Reduce Screen Time When School Is Online

Date: October 5, 2020 | By: Catherine Gewertz

This article acknowledges the increased screen time children are spending due to remote learning in the time of COVID-19. “The same screen-time issues we faced before COVID, now we’re facing them on steroids,” said Seth Evans, who leads the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s work on digital devices in schools.

Throughout the article, you can learn ideas for reducing screen time for students, such as: carving out non-screen time, even during live sessions, considering listening activities, harnessing hands-on learning, and more.

Standout Quote: "“So much of what the kids do, even when they are with me, is on the computer,” said Shannon Guevarez, who teaches 4th grade at South Hanover Elementary School in Hershey, PA, where students come to school some days and learn from home on others. “They need some opportunities to just close their screens sometimes.”

Click here to read this article.

P.S. If you’re having trouble reading the article, try reading it in a private browser.

A social distance friendly hands-on activity: If you’re looking for a free, hands-on activity students can use in the classroom or at home, check out our Blocks Rock! Printable Mini-Game.

Young Children’s Home Learning and Preschool Participation Experiences During the Pandemic

Date: August 2020 | By: Steven Barnett, Kwanghee Jung, and Milagros Nores | National Institute for Early Education Research

This paper’s focus is on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting young children’s learning experiences. To do this, the National Institute for Early Education Research developed a survey for parents of children of three- to five-year-olds who are not yet in kindergarten. You can view high-level findings of the research on page four of the document.

Standout Quote: “Program closure was less likely for 3-year-old children (possibly because they were less likely to be in public programs) and varied with some family characteristics and region. However, closure rates were high for all children. More than 90% of the reported preschool classroom closures occurred in March 2020.”

Click here to read this article.

Our Bonus Article: The Effect of Block Building on Mental Rotation Ability

Did you know that Blocks Rock! was studied by the Indiana University Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences? It’s true! They found that “structured block-building games improve spatial abilities in children to a greater degree than board games.” Students with higher spatial reasoning abilities will then have a higher likelihood of furthering their education and STEM careers.

Standout Quote: "This study corroborates with past research that structured block play needs to be a part of the young student’s classroom experience.”

For more information about the study, click here.

Want more STEM learning resources?

Check out our Home Learning Resource Library with over 100 free ideas for STEM learning!