S.T.E.M in English: a quick think

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. From an English teaching perspective, it may initially seem tricky to encourage and integrate these subjects and ideas into our lessons. It’s immediately tempting to think, when do I use the ipads? When do we go to the computer room? Or, perhaps, which research home works/prep have I set students on a text’s context? This is all rather crow-barred in…

Equally, it is not something that can be dismissed on the premise that ‘It’s not linked to English’, because it is in so many ways.

The arts and literature stimulate and give inspiration to the STEM subjects. We are preparing students for a world that doesn’t really exist yet, particularly when it comes to technology, therefore it’s not a case of trying to use technology; it’s about reading about it, talking about it and investigating it further. Here is a list of books I would encourage students to read to inspire the STEM within them:

  • Timekeepers, Simon Garfield
  • Rotten Pumpkin: A Rotten Tale in 15 Voices, David M Schwartz
  • The Bubble Boy, Stuart Foster
  • The Stone Lion, Gwen Dandridge
  • Hidden Figures (young readers’ edition), Margot Lee Shetterly
  • Walking the Nile, Levison Wood

Plenty of my lessons, particularly KS3, focus on extracts chosen from a range of novels that have elements of STEM subjects within them. Many students are often considered either good at Maths and Science and therefore weaker at English or vice versa. This certainly doesn’t have to be the case if the teacher can make considered choices with texts. This is also true when it comes to writing. Students who feel they are at home with STEM should be encouraged to express their knowledge through creative writing, contextual exploration and also through inference using their wider awareness of the STEM subjects.

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