Spotlight on an Educator

Share Your Idea

Have a Great Preschool STEM Idea to Share?


Submit your idea and you could be highlighted in the next EC STEM Lab newsletter!

Have your preschoolers gone bananas over observing seeds in different fruits (life science)? Did your children ask questions about how the moon seems to be following them that sparked an exploration (space science)? Did you find a cool musical way for your kids to show what they know about patterns (math)? Did your kids confront and solve a problem in the garden related to building a structure (engineering) in which to plant sunflowers so they would have the space they need to survive and thrive (life science) using their knowledge of length (math) of root systems?

Submit Your Idea Today!

One educator's or librarian's preschool STEM activity idea will be chosen to be highlighted in the MARCH 2020 EC STEM Lab Newsletter. Click here to submit what you did, how it worked, and a related picture that we have permission to share freely.

Deadline: January 31, 2020


Preschool STEM Institute

Preschool STEM Institute


Friday, July 10th, 2020


One-day institute to build capacity to support young children's science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning

Led by experts in professional learning in early STEM 

Get materials, videos, and books to take back to your center or district

For teacher educators, coaches, directors, teachers, anyone responsible for training or supporting preschool teachers

Hosted by EC STEM Lab in collaboration with ETSU's 60th Annual Early Childhood Conference, with support from the ETSU Early Childhood Education Department, this institute is geared for educators who will return and train or support other teachers.

MeadowView Conference Resort &
Convention Center
1901 Meadowview Pkwy
Kingsport, TN 37660


to register your interest

Those who complete the non-binding Register Interest survey will be the first to hear registration details, possible grants, and other Institute news.

Direct link to survey:

Find Out More

Great Gatherings

NAEYC's Annual Conferences


Did you Miss it?
Conference Experiences to Remember

If you didn't make it last year, try to attend the NAEYC annual conference or the annual professional learning institute. We'll be there and so will thousands of others!


November 4-7, 2020. Annual Conference: Anaheim, CA

June 7-10, 2020. Professional Learning Institute: New Orleans, LA

Want to Present?

Consider joining the Early Math Interest Forum or one of the other interest forums that communicate on NAEYC's Hello platform. Members can apply to present as a representative one of the interest forums. Deadlines vary.

You can also apply to be a presenter through NAEYC directly at the links below.

Annual Conference
Deadline: February 12, 2020

Professional Learning Institute
Deadline: January 27, 2020


Activity Ideas

Try It Out!

Blocks and Math

Children love to build with blocks. Below are simple ways we can incorporate math concepts and math talk into block play.
  • Ask children to count out (or produce) a certain number of blocks first (numeracy - counting).
  • Give children a challenge to build the tallest structure they can (length measurement) with the same number of blocks.
  • Ask children to tell you who has more blocks in their tower (numeracy - comparing quantities/magnitudes).
  • Encourage children to see how blocks can fit together to make different shapes (geometry - shape composition)
  • Support children to build their own 3D shapes, using what they know about different shapes and their attributes (geometry-3D shapes)
  • Look for opportunities to discuss the relative location of blocks, using terms like, next to, on top of, below (geometry - spatial awareness)
  • Asking children "How do you know?" or "Can you show me how you did that?" are simple, yet powerful ways to encourage math thinking and talking.


A puppy explores blocks and shape composition and decomposition.

Children use many different types of materials to build an array of amazing creations that look a lot like life-sized structures across the globe. 


NAEYC Article on shapes

Video on value of block play in K (relevant to PK too!)

DREME Network article on spatial awareness

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