Hands-On Learning in a STEM Lab


A STEM lab is a space where theoretical STEM concepts come alive and promote critical thinking. To maximize its impact, it’s essential to regularly assess the lab and gather feedback from educators and lab professionals.

Hands-on learning makes STEM subjects more engaging and exciting, encouraging students to learn and retain knowledge. It also helps them make real-world connections and explore career possibilities they would not have considered otherwise.

Problem-Solving Skills

STEM labs on this website serve practical purposes, inspire students, and spark their curiosity. To help students comprehend the significance of STEM, consider using a noticeable sign that identifies the nature of your classroom.

Identify the problems your students are facing and use them as a starting point for projects. For example, many parts of the world have difficulty growing food, so students might explore how to improve crops even when land is flood-prone.

During in-class problem-solving, be sure that the complexity level mirrors the challenge level on homework and exams. It will give students confidence in their problem-solving abilities and better prepare them for future assignments. Be sure to provide opportunities for collaborative work as well.

Collaboration Skills

Many hands-on STEM classroom activities require students to work together, which teaches collaboration skills. Students must cooperate and share ideas as they complete group projects like building a robot obstacle course or designing an edible garden. These skills will help students work well with others in their future careers.

In addition to promoting social skills, collaborative group work in a STEM lab can improve student engagement and increase their enjoyment of learning. Students who find educational activities enjoyable are more motivated and retain knowledge better.

It’s important to note that the technology used in a STEM lab should never be implemented for its own sake or to attract grant money. The pedagogy is the priority; the technology is the tool to support it.


Communication Skills

Hands-on projects engage tactile or kinesthetic learners, who benefit from the movement and sense of accomplishment. They also encourage auditory learners to talk about their progress with others and visual learners to see what their peers are creating.

When students communicate scientific content to nonscientific audiences, they develop skills necessary for a successful career in STEM fields. Students must be able to remove jargon and consider the unique concerns of diverse audiences.

Students can learn these communication skills through group work or oral presentations. COE units can also provide opportunities for these skills through semester- or year-long research projects. This work can help students develop organizational skills, manage workflow, and meet deadlines. These are important to professional success in all industries.

Teamwork Skills

In STEM lessons, students work in teams to complete projects. It teaches them to share resources, ideas, and solutions. Many work environments rely on teamwork for success, so this is an important skill to learn at a young age.

A key to successful teamwork is having a positive atmosphere. Please encourage your students to respect their classmates’ thoughts and opinions, even when disagreeing. They may need to listen to their teammates’ ideas and compromise to devise practical solutions for group activities.

Give teams regular feedback on their productivity. Walk around the room occasionally to assess each group’s progress and provide helpful guidance when necessary. You can also ask your students to conduct self-assessments to determine how well they feel their teamwork is working.