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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET STEM Plus: Social Studies and the Arts It’s easy to see that there are powerful social studies lessons in the pages of this book, too. Here are just a few of the “Themes of Social Studies” published by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) that fall easily into a STEM curriculum: ● ● ● ● ● ● Children in early grades learn to locate themselves in time and space. During their studies, learners develop an understanding of spatial perspectives and examine changes in the relationship between peoples, places, and environments. Young children learn how science and technologies influence beliefs, knowledge, and their daily lives (NCSS 2010). We’ve also used art and music throughout this book. We want to make sure that we address not just minds but also hearts. STEM Plus: Social Learning Every early childhood program places significant emphasis on social learn- ing skills. STEM is the ideal context in which to embed these goals. In the book Engaging Young Engineers: Teaching Problem-Solving Skills through STEM, Angi Stone-MacDonald and her coauthors provide a clear and research-based justification for this approach: “Collaborative thinking is the primary ‘social ingredient’ of problem-solving, and its importance cannot be overstated. Few real-world problems are solved by a single individual. Instead, groups and teams of individuals must work together effectively, asking questions, pool- ing information, contributing to and critiquing concepts and jointly testing solutions” (2015, 136). The authors point out that many of NAEYC’s key early childhood program standards are effectively met through collaborative STEM problem solving. Here are just two examples: 1.D.05.d. Ensure that each child has an opportunity to contribute to a group (NAEYC 2015, 6). 1.F.02.b. Guide and support children to play cooperatively with one another (NAEYC 2015, 8). Researchers have found that the STEM approach not only encourages so- cial learning but also is especially effective for students who might be less able to integrate into a regular classroom. STEM provides a relevant context for English-language learners, students with behavioral challenges, and those with developmental delays. We’ve accumulated a few sources of this research in appendix D. 16 | Introduction COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL