Initially I linked their learning in with the Junior STEM focus areas. Overtime I have branched out to look at other areas that might be of interest to students so we can foster passions and specific areas for Literacy.
Many picture books lend themselves to being used to solve open ended problems where there are many right answers. They spark student interest and curiosity through their interaction with characters, settings and problems while giving them a solution. They provide a good platform for students to bounce STEM ideas off and develop creative approaches from. They show a successful and often creative problem solving approach to scaffold their thinking. To be interested in solving a problem there needs to be some sort of vested interest. Picture books provide this engagement. If a character solved the problem like this how could you do it differently? What could you do to help in this situation? How could you use the same materials in a different way? STEM concepts can be carefully chosen to link with a particular focus or a simple challenge.
Using picture books as the driver helps to support creative problem solving and collaboration. Students can see that characters have to over come problems and often it takes failure or more than one attempt to come to a possible solution.
I am looking forward to continuing with my STEM journey in Term 4 and adding in coding through Linda Liukas' amazing picture book 'Hello Ruby, Adventures in Coding.' Watch this space!