Introducing Real World Problem Solving in Your Classroom: Our Favorite Resources from the Young Scientist Lab

Are your students curious? Are they innovative and interested in impacting their communities? Do they love science? Encourage them to enter the 2020 Young Scientist Challenge today!  It only takes an idea to get started and students can enter now through April 21, 2020. 

We are still celebrating 14-year-old Kara Fan, winner of the 2019 3M Young Scientist Challenge, and eighth-grader Reshma Kosaraju, winner of the inaugural 3M Improving Lives Award.  Both students inspired us with their innovative projects, motivated by their desire to solve problems that will ultimately improve the world.  You can learn more about their projects in the Young Scientist Lab.   

Below guest blogger Karie Huttner, Education Technology Coordinator in the Verona Area School District, shares a little about how she uses the Young Scientist Lab resources to activate real-world problem solving in the classroom. 

Our classrooms today face the challenge of preparing our learners to be successful problem solvers.? The value of realworld problem solving holds the key to student engagement.? Where do I start as an educator in providing these learning opportunities for my students? The 3M Young Scientist Lab is an excellent destination for comprehensive problem-solving resources that can be easily integrated into any classroom environment.  

Tip #1 Expose students to professional problem solvers ?In Science at Work take your students on a journey of discoverabout?3M?laboratory scientists.??In a?3M laboratory, scientists come to work every day prepared to research information and explore new possibilities that impact the world and propel innovation to make our world a better place. Read on, to learn more about the?3M?Scientists and explore STEM career opportunities with your students! 

Tip #2 Provide students with engaging hands-on activities using “brain boggling” experiments These activities are designed to capture your curiosity and engage you in the scientific thinking process – while having fun! They are based on classic scientific discoveries – some dating back over 200 years! Students can download step-by-step instructions to everything from sandwich-bag dart boards to two-state balloon rockets, complete with explanations of what should happen during the experiment. 

Tip #3 Connect students and parents with interactive learning resources?Awaken your child’s curiosity with activities based on classic scientific discoveries.??We encounter science every single day! So, grab the family and test your knowledge to see if you can identify how science shows itself in the most unexpected places! These resources are super easy to link to or introduce during a STEM Family Night for parents to test students’ knowledge (or vice versa)! 

The?3M?Young Scientist Lab?provides us as educators the resources to engage our students and their families in real world problem solving.? You can even take your students on a?virtual field trip?to explore how?3M scientists are using biomimicry to improve and invent new products for everything from healthcare to food science to adhesives, engage your students in experiments, or challenge students in interactive real world scenarios.? 

There is no shortage of resources available to spark curiosity and innovation in the minds of your students! Who knows – maybe the next Young Scientist Challenge or Improving Lives Awards winners will be in YOUR classroom! 

To learn more about the 2020 Young Scientist Challenge or explore hands on STEM resources featured in the Young Scientist Lab, visit