The purpose of this book is to serve as a supplemental reference text for 21st century elementary classrooms. The primary objective is to help teachers inspire and engage their students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects. The push for incorporating STEM education in elementary school has become increasingly important, yet most educators and publishers have offered problem-based activities, without considering one of the most important pedagogical entry points to lesson planning - the hook or the opening.
Inspiring STEM Minds aims at providing teachers an effective, easy to use text that they can use to discuss specific mathematicians, engineers, inventors, and scientists (although the individuals chosen for each section of the book are in no way an exhaustive or selective group that may characterize each discipline). This reference text is organized into four key sections, depicting the four disciplines that make up STEM education. Each section briefly gives historical background, as well as provides a problem or short activity designed to use everyday materials so that teachers can implement the activity in their classrooms. The classroom activities are directly related to each biography and have, we believe, great potential to engage students in the classroom. Each activity is also correlated to the National Standards, and we also supplement the activities with suggestions for interdisciplinary connections. We hope this book serves as a valuable resource for classroom teachers.