STEM Lesson Essentials and potential projects

Crafting engaging STEM lessons are a passion of mine. Lessons that I learned while creating awesome STEM lesson plans taught me much of what I needed to know to start Innovative Arts class.

Incorporating STEM into your lesson plans can be a great way to engage students in the classroom. But what makes a STEM lesson really exciting? Below are the top STEM Lesson Essentials. 

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education is a necessity for today’s students. Teaching these skills in the classroom can be daunting for some educators, but with the right preparation and planning, it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few key elements that make a STEM lesson engaging in the 21st century classroom. 

Here are the STEM Lesson Essentials and potential projects available on this site. Here is a post with general STEM Project Ideas.

Inquiry-Based Learning 

Inquiry-based learning is when students are given a problem or task to solve without being given exact instructions on how to do it. This type of learning encourages creativity and critical thinking, which can be especially useful in problem-solving activities. By using inquiry-based learning, students are able to explore different methods and come up with their own solutions based on their observations and analysis. 

Within Innovative Arts class, this looks like the beginning of a lot of projects. I give students the materials they’ll be using and have them work and attempt to create from a prompt (like a cardboard mask or popsicle stick engineering. See below for many potential projects.

Hands-On Experiences 

STEM lessons often involve hands-on activities that allow students to apply their knowledge in a practical way. These activities could include building models, conducting experiments, programming robots, or creating digital projects. The more involved the activity is, the more likely students will retain the information being taught as well as gain an appreciation for the concepts behind them. 

Potential Projects:

STEM Lesson Essentials can also have the following components:

Real World Applications 

When students are able to make connections between what they are learning in class and how it applies to real life situations, it can help them better understand the importance of what they’re studying. For example, if you’re teaching about coding, you could have your students create a game in Scratch or Code in TinkerCAD. Making those connections helps bring the material alive in a meaningful way for your students.

Creativity 

Creativity is key when teaching any subject and should not be forgotten when teaching STEM. Allowing students to explore their creative ideas allows them to get hands-on with the material they are learning and makes them more engaged in what they are doing. For example, instead of having students label parts of an object on a worksheet, have them build something that uses all of those parts. This could be anything from assembling a robot or constructing a bridge out of toothpicks. Getting creative with your lessons will help keep your students engaged and actively learning throughout the entire class period! 

You’ll notice that the projects on this site are all highly customizable and easy to adapt. This is on purpose to allow more creativity in our classroom!

Current Content 

Keeping content current is crucial when teaching STEM concepts in the classroom. When looking for materials to use in lessons, look for examples that relate to things that are happening now or could happen soon in our world. This helps keep students interested and allows teachers to show real-world applications of STEM concepts. For instance, if you are teaching about energy sources you can compare solar energy from past years to what we currently use today; this way students will understand how technology has changed over time and why certain sources may no longer be viable options. Utilizing current content in your lessons will make them much more interesting for your students!  

Collaboration 

Collaboration is essential when teaching STEM concepts as it encourages group problem solving and critical thinking skills among learners. When possible, give your students tasks that involve collaboration such as building models or coding programs together. Utilizing collaborative activities also allows you as the teacher to assess each student’s individual contribution while still working together as a team which promotes communication between peers. Working together on projects also allows each student to gain unique perspectives from each other which can help deepen their understanding of a topic!  

STEM Lesson Essentials – handy to keep in mind

I have found that it is great to review and remember these essentials as I plan my lessons. Giving them opportunities to explore topics through creative problem solving is beneficial both academically and socially as it helps foster collaboration among classmates, giving everyone a chance to learn from each other’s experiences and perspectives. So don’t be afraid to get creative with your lesson plans! Use these tips to get started creating interactive STEM lessons that will keep your students engaged for years to come!


I am creating this site to advance student creativity and help students to take ownership of their learning. The resources on this site are intentionally open-ended and a part of my Innovative Arts curriculum.

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