SOS Top Ten for STEM Thinking

Welcome to the SOS Top Ten series. In this edition, we highlight some of the most popular ways to use Spotlight on Strategies (CDN Version) to encourage and develop STEM thinking in your classroom.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, or STEM, is the Discovery Education instructional focus for the month of March.

The STEM movement has grown from the awareness that K–12 students must be prepared to do more than the traditional reading, writing, and arithmetic to be successful in a world driven by constantly-changing technologies.

STEM thinking requires students to develop skills that help them to think critically, communicate, creatively solve problems, and communicate with others. Many of the teaching ideas found in the Discovery Education Spotlight On Strategies series help students develop these types of skills—here are ten of our favorites!

We hope you’ll try one or more strategy and share your experience with us in the DEN Online Community.

Critical Thinking


25 Things You Didn’t Know (CDN Version): Students work to develop a collaborative list of 25 facts about a piece of media or topic.


4 Corners (CDN Version): Students express their opinions by moving to the corner of the room that has been identified as representing a particular viewpoint or idea.



Multiple Perspectives (CDN Version): Multiple Perspectives is a teaching strategy that requires students to engage deeply with an image or video as they assume a perspective other than their own. Students create a narrative from inside a piece of media, from the perspective of an object or person within.


Step Inside (CDN Version): Students adopt the perspective or a person or object within a piece of media and answer a series of questions from that point-of-view.


Table Top Texting (CDN Version): Students use the familiar communication style of texting to discuss a piece of media during pauses in the viewing or listening.



Fold Draw Learn (CDN Version): Students take turns writing vocabulary words related to the topic, drawing images that fit the words, and guessing what word each image represents. They continue down the page interpreting each other’s work.


Make it Concrete (CDN Version): Students represent their understanding of a concept by drawing an image in which to write what they learned from a piece of media.



Partner Time (CDN Version): By creating effective partner and collaboration groups, students are exposed to a variety of ideas and connections with their classmates. Students create a clock to use in future activities to determine partners equitably.


Three Questions (CDN Version): Students dig into content with three questions, each question leading to the next.



Placemat (CDN Version): Student groups share a placemat design with a question in the middle, and each student responds to the prompt in his or her section of the placemat.


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