EC STEM Lab - July/Aug 2021, Newsletter, #21

Preschool STEM Institute

Building Capacity


Supporting Teachers in STEM

Our 33 participants from 12 states and 3 countries will support over 500 teachers this year with content learned from our Preschool STEM Institute.

Participants practiced doing science journal entries, engineered their own mini-trellis, and collaborated with each other - all on Zoom - in our first annual event, held on Friday, July 9, 2021.

Save the Date: July 8, 2022

Click here to hear first about the 2022 event.

Learn more here.


Early Childhood-Elementary STEM Collaboration

Free Open Resource Textbook


Download Today!

FREE open education resource published to support pre-service teachers in early childhood and elementary education in science and integrated STEM.

The book includes introductory content, including a guest passage by philosopher David Harker on the importance of science education. Content chapters highlight pre-service student examples of integrated activity plans for use in PK-5th grade.

This text was created as a part of our Early Childhood-Elementary Education STEM Collaboration. The project was supported with a grant from the OER Awards Program administered by Sherrod Library at East Tennessee State University.


Check it Out

Early Math and Families

Family Math Movement

EC STEM Lab was invited to join the Family Math Practice Network, a part of the Family Math Movement, along side 11 other amazing organizations across the country.

The movement aims to empower all families to support math learning with their young children outside of school.

Example resources from the Family Math Movement:



Math in Books

Try It Out!


Is Math Really in Any Book?

YES! We can talk about math within ANY book at all!

Pick up your child's favorite book, and try out the ideas below.

Spatial Words
Use words and phrases like, next to, under, on top of to describe objects on the pages. Ask children questions like, what's behind the girl on the cover? This talk promotes children's spatial reasoning.

Shapes and Their Attributes
Support children to talk about the shapes they see on the pages, and if they're ready, talk about shape attributes too. That is, what are the features of the shape that make it that shape!

How do you know it's a triangle? It has 3 straight sides, all connected at 3 points (or corners). Not a perfect triangle? Curvey sides? Not closed at the points? No problem! See if your child can tell you how we could fix it to make it a triangle!

Counting and Number Sense
How many windows are on that building? Does the building on the right have the same number of windows as the building on the left? How do you know? Be sure to check that children can give ONE number word to EACH object. That's 1-to1 correspondence! Simple book chats like this build children's foundational counting and number sense skills.

Mindset for Learning
 Remember that it's ok - even good! - to make mistakes. We want our children to do well, of course, so for some of us parents, it takes some real effort to relax when they get things wrong. But it's worth it!

Did they miscount the number of windows? No worries. Ask them to tell you why they think that, what did they do? Can they show you how they counted?

Supporting children's math ideas even when they aren't accurate, letting children discover answers for themselves, and nurturing their curiosity about math in the world around them promotes a growth mindset and mindset for learning. This is the stuff that lasts a lifetime.

It's good for us adults too!


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Early Childhood STEM Lab · Department of Early Childhood Education · East Tennessee State University · Johnson City, TN 37614 · USA

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