The image shows a group of tween kids looking excited and carrying backpacks. The text reads "5 tips for your first day of STEM."

5 Tips for a Fantastic First Day of STEM Class

It’s that time… Summer is ending, and our brains are switching back to school mode.  You may be wondering “What should I do on the first day of STEM?” Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Here are five things to do on your first day of school (and beyond) that will help you get started on the right track and make this school year one to remember… Let’s go!

The text reads "All About Me STEM Activity." The image shows a graphic organizer for getting to know STEM students.

Short on time? Grab this STEM-themed getting-to-know you activity perfect for your first day, and then get back to enjoying your summer break.

Introduce yourself and get to know your students.

On your first day in STEM class, take some time to introduce yourself and get to know your students. Ask them about their interests, hobbies, and what they hope to learn in the class. This will help you tailor your lessons to their needs and interests, and create a more engaging and interactive learning environment. Additionally, building a positive relationship with your students from the start can help foster a sense of trust and respect, which can lead to better academic outcomes.

Here’s a print-and-go STEM-themed getting to know you activity perfect for your first day. You can choose from the scientist, engineer, maker, or coder templates or edit a template and make it your own. Your students will love sharing about their interests and goals for the year. Then you can post their work on a beginning of year bulletin board or glue them in their STEM notebooks.

Plan team-building activities.

Another essential tip for a successful first day in STEM is to plan team-building activities. STEM activities require collaboration and teamwork, so it’s important to establish a positive and supportive classroom environment from the start. Consider activities like icebreakers, group problem-solving challenges like “Save Fred,” or even a simple game of “two truths and a lie” to help students get to know each other and build trust. This will help create a sense of community in the classroom and set the stage for successful group work throughout the year.

Set aside time for exploring the classroom and materials.

One of the most exciting parts of STEM class are all the awesome materials students get to work with throughout the school year. Give students time to explore the classroom and materials. This will help them feel more comfortable and familiar with their surroundings, and give them a chance to get excited about the hands-on learning opportunities they’ll experience in STEM. Encourage students to touch and examine the equipment, tools, and materials they will be using throughout the year, and ask questions about how they work and what they can be used for. This will help build curiosity and engagement for what’s to come. 

Don’t forget to show them the basics too… Where do you keep tissues? Extra pencils? Bathroom passes? I love to plan a classroom scavenger hunt, so my students can discover these items on their own. This gives me time to continue getting to know my students and students have much better recall for items they found on their own.

Start exploring STEM concepts and careers.

It’s never too early to start exploring the concepts and careers that you will be studying throughout the year. If your students are new to STEM, you’ll start with “What is STEM?” If they have some experience, then you can give more specifics about how your course relates to real-world STEM careers. Middle school students love to know why what they are learning is important. You also never know what will spark a lifelong passion for or career in STEM.

Have fun!

Last, but definitely not least, your first day of STEM should be fun. You want your students to feel excited about coming to STEM, and you should enjoy the work you are doing too. Fun activities on the first day of school set the tone for the rest of the year and help create a positive classroom culture where learning is enjoyable. If students look forward to your class and are interested in your lessons, classroom management becomes much easier.

Your first day of STEM lesson plan

Now that you have some ideas of what to include in your first day of STEM class, it’s time to create your lesson plan and the materials you’ll need to go with it. Let me help. 

The text reads "All About Me for STEM classes." The image shows a STEM-themed getting-to-know-you worksheet surrounded by school supplies.

Grab this STEM-themed getting-to-know-you activity perfect for learning about your students, their goals, and interests on the first day of school. 

  • Before receiving your students, complete the worksheet as an example and use it to introduce yourself to the class. 
  • While students are working independently on the activity, circulate to take attendance, start learning names, and building relationships with your students. 
  • Once your students have completed their worksheet, have your students move around the room and introduce themselves to one another. 
  • Afterwards, use their completed worksheets as a back-to-school bulletin board display or glue them into their STEM notebooks. 

The possibilities for this low-prep activity are endless.

I want it!

Here’s to inspiring future scientists and engineers… and a fantastic first day of STEM class!

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