20 STEM Literacy Strategies for Grades 4-8

Suhua Huang
Midwestern State University, College of Education Wichita Falls, Wichita Falls, Texas

Denise Simmons
West College of Education, Midwestern State University

Cheryl Wilson
Wichita Falls ISD Teacher, Wichita Falls, Texas

Tommye Hutson
Western Governors University

Series: Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World
BISAC: EDU029030




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As humanity progresses into the 21st century, the needs of the future can sometimes be uncertain. There is one thing that is certain: we will still need Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. Students who have a solid and integrated understanding of STEM fields are more likely to contribute to a world economy. Also, their creativity and ingenuity are needed to improve quality of life from local to global standards. This book uses literacy to develop effective and versatile cross curricula STEM activities.

Twenty strategies are included, covering mathematics, science, engineering, technology, reading, and writing as well as English and social studies. Each strategy includes learning objectives, assessments and uses playful and innovative methods to engage students in working with STEM subjects. Students will explore, invent, build, problem solve and be actively engaged in the learning process. These STEM strategies provide a wide range of options that will inspire teachers to further develop effective and engaging lessons.


Chapter 1. What’s in Soil

Chapter 2. Soil Profile

Chapter 3. The Story of Freddie the Fish

Chapter 4. Making a Core Sample Cake

Chapter 5. Hard Water vs. Soft Water

Chapter 6. Water Filtration

Chapter 7. A Model of Groundwater Pollution

Chapter 8. Moving Windmills

Chapter 9. Animal Stickers

Chapter 10. Community Project

Chapter 11. A Case of Haredity (Heredity)

Chapter 12. Electrical Circuits

Chapter 13. Make Your Own Lightbulb

Chapter 14. Circuit Game

Chapter 15. Building a Kaleidoscope

Chapter 16. Life in a Bottle

Chapter 17. Using Sunlight-Sensitive Beads

Chapter 18. Modeling Astronomical Distance

Chapter 19. Constructing Winogradsky Columns

Chapter 20. Tetrahedron Kite



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Kelly, B. (2012, September). Stem: What it is, and why we should care. U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved from http://
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Section 1

Bryant, D. P., Goodwin, M., Bryant, B. R., & Higgins, K. (2003). Vocabulary instruction for students with learning disabilities: A review of the research. Learning Disability Quarterly, 26, 117-128.
Giles, R. M., & Kinniburgh, L. (2013). Common Core State Standards and text complexity: An invitation to learn language in STEM disciplines using a range of quality literature. E-Journal of Balanced Reading Instruction, 1, 31-35.
Kamkwamba, W., & Mealer, B. (2012). The boy who harnessed the wind. New York: Harper Collins.
Raby, E. (2015). STEM
and children’s literature: 3 classroom resources. Retrieve from https://www.nwea.org/blog/2015/stem-and-childrens-literature-3-classroom-resources.
Skehan, D. (2016, December 1). Exploring Malawi/part one [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6SO60PfptA.
Skehan, D. (2016, December 1). Exploring Malawi/part two [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjhW-i57xLM.

Chapter 1

The United State Department of Agriculture (USDA). Soil components. Retrieved July 20, 2017 from https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/

Chapter 2

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). A soil profile. Retrieved July 20, 2017 from https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/
Discovery Education. The dirt on soil. Retrieved July 20, 2017 from http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schooladventures/soil/down_dirty.html.

Chapter 3

Texas the State of Water (2017). The story of Freddie the fish. Retrieved July 21, 2017 from www.texasthestateofwater.org/screening/ pdf_docs/FreddieTheFish.pdf.

Chapter 4

Drilling, M. (2016, May 25). Quest for oil game 2.0 [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.maerskdrilling.com/en/jobs-and-careers/quest-for-oil.
Nottingham Science (2008, February 14). Core Sample-60 Seconds of Science [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/
The United States Department of Labor (USDL). Oil and gas well drilling and servicing eTool.
Retrieved July 21, 2017 from https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/

Chapter 5

Seeker (2016, November 2). Hard vs Soft water: What’s the differences . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=2bqc5kBKed4.

Chapter 6

It’s okay to be smart (2017, March 28). How much plastic is in the ocean [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/
Knepper, E. (2013, March 22). The municipal water treatment process [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/
Metro Vancouver (2013, September 9). Understanding wastewater treatment process [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBEYUxI3DuQUnited States of Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Drinking water & ground waterkid’s stuff. Retrieved July 21, 2017 from https://www3.epa.gov/safewater/kids/gamesandactivies.html.

Chapter 8

Lakeshore (2015). Windmill Design STEM Learning Lab teacher’s guide. Carson, CA: Author. Available for purchase at lakeshorelearning.com

Chapter 9

Workman (2016). Paint by Stickers. New York: Workman Publishing Co, Inc.
Zimbasafaris (2012, October 28). Malawi-Impressie wildlife safari . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?

Chapter 10

Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) (2015, Aguest 10). Community forest conservation in Malawi[Video file].Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKTLk0KrwSQ.
Earthship Biotecture (2013, Febrary 13). Malawi, Africa Earthship Community Center [Vidoe file]. Retreived from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dKEuFCOhPA.

Section 2

Moore, D. W., Moore, S. A., Cunningham, P. M., & Cunningham, J. W. (2011). Developing readers and writers in the content areas K-12. Boston: Alley & Bacon.
Morrow, L. M. (2014). Literacy development in the early years: helping children read and write (8th ed). New York: Pearson.
Tyler-Wood, T., Knezek, G., & Christensen, R. (2010). Instruments for assessing interest in STEM content and career. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 18(2), 341-363.
Vacca, R. T., Vacca, J. L., & Marz, M. (2014). Content area reading: Literacy and learning across the curriculum (11th ed). Boston: Pearson.
Wolsey, T. D., & Lapp, D. (2017). Literacy in the disciplines: A teacher’s guide for grades 5-12. New York: The Guilford Press.

Chapter 12

Allain, R. (2011, July 13). Light bulb, battery, and two wires [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=s6XP6pAH

Chapter 18

University of Maine at Presque Isle (2017). The Main Solar System Model. Retrieved July 22, 2017 from http://pages.umpi.edu/
To Scale (2015, September 16). To scale: the solar system [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zR3Igc3Rhfg.

Chapter 19

University of Delaware (2017). The world wide winogradsky project. Retried July 22, 2017 from http://sites.udel.edu/winogradsky/about/

Chapter 20

SparkFun Electronics. (n.d.) LilyPad audino development board. Retrieved from https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/choosing-a-lilypad-arduino-for-your-project.

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