Description of the context for the study: qualitative research based on three different schools; one of public school, private and comment preschool. Using interview questions by analyzing the interview questions after the interview was done with the student.
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Each area of study has its own body of knowledge and the study of STEM in the context of the research fits well with the qualitative research paradigm. The findings in this research are based on interpretations, personalistic, situational, and other interpretations of the knowledge and practice in the areas of investigation.
The qualitative paradigm was based on the systematic review of literature and the themes developed from the review of literature. The epistemological, theoretical, and disciplinary perspectives of qualitative research in the context of STEM activities and how the learners respond to the activities provides the rationale to use the qualitative paradigm to address the data collection and analysis. In public schools, the STEM activities are funded by the Office of Partnership Development because they recognise the need to get involved in supporting early STEM involvement among the children. On the other hand, the study of the implementation of STEM in private and comment preschool are supported by stakeholders who want to have the young child develop the skills necessary to be successful later on life in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
The focus of the study is in the development and analysis of creative and critical thinking skills among the children aged 4 and 8 years and the teaching strategies to improve their abilities. In addition, the strategy was to analyse how the STEM activities could be implemented among the kids to achieve the learner centered skill. The critical thinking skills no only boarder on the use of math and science based subjects, but covers other areas of study that includes engineering activities. Typically, most learners do not embrace or do not like the activities associated with STEM because most of the tasks are boring and uninteresting besides the children and even the adults having the perception that STEM is complicated. The study will focus on identifying the strategies to use to implement the STEM activities among the earlier learners so that they are made to appreciate the benefits of engaging in the activities earlier in life. The earlier engagement in STEM activities can be discovered and established through interviews and the responses the children and other stakeholders provide to the interviewee on how the activities help the students to develop individual skill and how such activities can be implemented by the teachers.
Here, the core issues and tools to use are the people and the responses of the children on the attitude they have developed on the earlier exposure to STEM, ability to make observation on how the children interact in the learning environment by emphasizing on observations, intuition, and empirical evidence.
For instance the most appropriate method that was used ion the study was the use of interviews. Interview questions can be analysed using the qualitative paradigm and both the aggregative data and interpretive data formed the basis of the study. Interpretive data could arise on the study because the participants who were interviewed had an experience of poor implementation of the program and the aggregative data resulted from the participants who had experienced a good program. In both cases, it was imperative to try to determine the themes that were identified by the respondents as crucial in each case of the program.
The interviewing strategy was to collect unique information that was held by the respondents, collect numerical aggregation and data about the data, and establishing what could not be observed by the researcher. It was important mix the questions to reduce boredom.
It is critical to note the nature of responses that each teacher presents and the common themes in each response. For instance, the general response to the first question is that the STEM implementation enables the teachers to develop positive attitudes towards the program when implemented at different levels.
The teachers emphasise on science and technology, but the standard elements include the mathematics as one of the subjects identified in STEM. It is possible to note that the dynamics of developing STEM is evident in the statement “we explore more and increase our focus on Engineering in the classroom”.
The STEM implementation approach focuses on the individual, collaboration, and others propose that the activities run concurrently. In each case, the mix of activities provides the activities that are done in groups as asserted in the statement that “there are also small and whole group instruction times that would be teacher-guided in which the teacher would be there to not necessarily dictate the activity, but guide, encourage, and ask open-ended questions based on the students’ leading”.
On the other hand, it is evident that there are no individual differences among the STEM research implementation strategies when implemented in groups or at the individual level. Typically, it is possible to roll out the program either on the individual level or at the level of the groups.
Reviewers were asked to assess the responses to determine the benefits that the individuals could get when STEM was implemented. It was establish that most responses agreed that the instructional strategy improves the student’s thinking and analytical skills that underpin the establishment and implementation of STEM for the children. It is worth noting that one of the respondents agreed that “building thinking skills in the students and not just in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, but also in other areas. STEM has also challenged me to think more in depth about the activities I have out in my classroom” which is the main goals of the STEM program.
In terms of passing information to parents and other stakeholders on the importance of STEM, the instructors agreed that “STEM encourages the students to build their critical thinking skills and to engage in learning through exploration, collaboration and problem solving strategies”. It is viewed as a good thing to use STEM to develop the critical thinking skills of the children and investing in them is worthwhile.
In general, the conclusion is that STEM has boosted the development of the skills of many children in the field of math, engineering, and sciences as is evident in the way the children appreciate STEM and the lifelong benefits they get when the children continue into further studies. It is important, however to note that no formal assessment is available for STEM, but “it is evident that the students are building and growing their thinking skills and problem solving skills”.
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Brief introduction focusing on relevant literature
The study was based an analytical exposition of the methods used to solve the problem related to the development and implementation of STEM, which is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics among the young children in the range of 4 and 8 years. The objectives are to provide an excellent view to understand and rich open comprehension of the implementation and the success of the program based on an analysis of the background knowledge of the early learner in STEM. In addition, the strategy involved using the instructional methods and interactions between the student and the teacher with the elements that define STEM to get the young students exposed earlier an earlier to science, engineering, and math to increase the attention of students by using strategies that fit with science, such as hands-on.
Here, the analytical problem was to determine how successful an earlier exposure to STEM could increase the knowledge and skills of the students in science, engineering, and math, leading to the overall academic development of the young student. On the other hand, it is evident that 77% of the women do not as stakeholders provide the necessary support for the children to participate in STEM. In addition, an analytic solution to the problem is also evident in the lack of motivation to get involved in the study.
However, further analysis of the literature review shows that STEM promotes integrated learning and the results include the ability to develop the mind, knowledge, and skills of the student to increase interest in the STEM subjects. The literature develops a common understanding that the STEM enables the student to develop problem solving skills. Despite that, the minority of students are women and the approach to develop the skills in STEM of the minority group are adequately provides by the teachers.
Methodology – sampling/subjects, procedures for data collection, how data will be analyzed, overall timeline
The proposed methodology is based on a qualitative research paradigm that is embedded in the systematic review of literature and interview questions to provide the responses from professional teachers on implementing STEM. It is evident that when examining the knowledge paradigm of different researchers, there is a common consensus that the qualitative paradigm fits well into the study on STEM and its application among children aged between 4 and 8 years.
The subjects who were interviewed in the study included teachers to provide the data for analysis while observations were made to determine the effects STEM on the young students. However, the criteria for sampling underpin the importance and appropriateness of the findings and how well the findings are generalizable. The qualitative paradigms requires that the sampling strategy is able to provide a sample that enables the researcher to be able to see through the eyes of the respondent, provide a detailed description of the study, establish how the social change in the context of knowledge acquisition among the students who get involved in STEM, how to increase motivation among the students involved in STEM, and the effects the study has on the skills development of the student.
It is important to note that the qualitative paradigm enables the researcher to make accurate representation of facts because the subjects in the study were not predictable, but accurate. The randomization effects were not applicable on the type of study, and probability sampling was not used and the approach made increased the reliability of the results.
The sampling strategy was based on a non-probabilistic approach that was based on the quota system that allowed the researcher to determine the characteristics of the target population and the sample. Here, the quotas were created based on the quotas that include the age, gender, and class of the student. In addition, the representativeness of the sample was based on the quota system where each subjects was taken from the three target areas of the subjects. On the other hand, the sampling strategy involved theoretical sampling because general research questions were applied on the respondents such as asking them about age, class, and general attitude towards participating in STEM. In addition, the core elements included in the study that provide the guidelines includes the ability to understand the phenomenon, which involves implementing STEM among the young children, the acquisition of enough knowledge about STEM because numbers do not make much relevance in the qualitative study.
Here, the overall time-line is 2 years because of the data collection methods. The students will be able to participate with teachers and the students collaboratively to develop the right skills and knowledge for the students that have a long term effect on the future lives.
Data collection procedure
The strategy used observations and interviews to collect primary qualitative data by paying careful attention to detail and skill to make direct observations and to interview the stakeholders. In addition to asking questions, it was deemed necessary to carry do continuous monitoring the children to understand the performance gaps and improvements, and the motivation the children developed towards getting involved on the STEM project. The activities that were evaluated to collect primary data were based on the STEM activities where each family was registered to have a hand on experience on the program. In addition, incorporating the subjects earlier in the process made it easier for the children to have earlier involvement and exposure to the activities. In addition, the caregivers and parents were involved to motivate the children to appreciate and get encouraged to participate in the program.
Parents were advised to make observations of the activities done by their children and how the children interacted in the environment of study. Observations and deductions were made on how the children interacted and performed different activities using the various materials that were availed them. In addition, each parent who had a child participating in the STEM program could be asked to appreciate and monitor the performance of the child based on the extension of the classroom activities into the homework. On the other hand, the most appropriate time was two years because the change a child undergoes when exposed to STEM does not occur immediately, but takes time.
On the other hand, interview formed the backbone of the primary data collection method because interviews produce a lot of qualitative data within a very short time. The advantages with interviews are that the researcher was able to collect the right detailed volume of data to inform the study. Discovery of how individual behave when subjected to the STEM environment, identification of the most useful part of the data collection and analysis is feasible, it is possible to add impersonal data into the study, and it enables a deeper understanding of the data collected from the study.
The results were then organised into themes and each category of data was investigated and interpreted according to the interrelationship that appeared among the items. The results showed that the STEM activities were incorporated in each class to enable the teachers to explore the items that had the most important effect on the knowledge and skills development activities of the children. It was realized that the children who were taken through the STEM activities were able to use different tools to express the knowledge and skills learnt and the new vocabularies while making them look at life with renewed curiosity.
It was possible for students to use different tools to make measurements of different items such as when a child encountered a challenge to measure the size of a worm. In addition, the child was able to learn by developing interest in habitats and was able to share the new findings with other students. The observations encouraged the teacher to create new strategies on how to motivate the learner to develop more interest in making new investigations.
Discussion of perceived strengths and weaknesses of proposed study
The study had weaknesses and strengths in the quest to investigate the application of STEM on public school, private and comment preschools. Among the strengths were the ability to enable the researcher to interpret the findings based on the intuition and the generality of findings on different situations that define the context of the study for students from different backgrounds. The study emphasized on empirical evidence because it was oriented on the field of study and experiential, relying on observations and on the site participation of the researcher. The study focused on the use of objects that were unique to each situation of study and the findings were generalized across different learning environments.
Each child’s unique learning activities were factored into the study and the points of view of the students and the teachers were integrated into the study in the quest to discover the most appropriate STEM implementation strategy and the best approach to motivate the learners and increase the skills and knowledge acquired in class. Other observations that were made include an increase in STEM activities among the students because most students were able to use appropriate terminologies to communicate the knowledge and skills they had acquired.
On the other hand, implementing STEM will help the students, parents, and teachers and other stakeholders to improve their attitude towards STEM careers and fields by increasing the enrollment rates of the students, increasing the rate of participation in STEM, help the teachers and students develop self-confidence in the STEM activities. STEM will help improve the careers, knowledge and skills by enabling the students to increase test scores when compared with those students, who do not attend the STEM programs, increase the general knowledge and skills in science and engineering, and increase the graduation rate of STEM students.
Investigations reveal that involvement in STEM helps students to know their strengths and weaknesses and the possibility of pursuing STEM related studies in future instead of pursuing them only to discover that STEM difficult for them in future. IN addition, children get motivated to pursue STEM related studies in future because they are able to develop increased interest in STEM at an earlier age.
Brief description of actions/changes anticipated as result of study
In summary, it was noted that certain areas of study were to be focused on to make the STEM processes for implementing STEM reliable. It was established that the transition of the new system of the students into the new realm of knowledge and skills on STEM was necessary to ensure necessary success in implementing STEM. Once the research document has been introduced into the realm of knowledge acquisition in STEM, the teacher, parents, and children will be informed of the benefits that accrue for the child and the effects such knowledge acquisition will have on the long term development of the children’s skills in STEM and practical application. The most important changes anticipated include transition from the traditional instruction methods to emphasizing on STEM. In addition, it is projected that by integrating the STEM strategy into the normal or traditional instructions methods, many young students in the USA will benefit because they will develop the desired skills and knowledge to become competent in the engineering, math, and other sciences.
In addition, the study provides pointers to the need to factor STEM access among the minority groups to enable the children and parents participate in the programs. STEM must support the racial and ethnic equality by creating more opportunities for the minority groups. It is crucial to implement STEM after school to help bridge the opportunity for the existence of the underrepresented and under-served communities on interactive levels. The recommendation after collecting and analysing data was that most of students like science after practice STEM activities in preschool through K-5 and more analysis will help to build this part of the investigation. In conclusion, it is possible to increase the motivation of young learners to pursue STEM related studies earlier in life.