ITEEA The Elementary STEM Journal, Vol. 24, Issue 4
PublisherInternational Technology and Engineering Educators Association, Reston, VA
ReleasedMay 1, 2020
The Elementary STEM Journal, Volume 24, Issue 4 - May, 2020

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From the Editor

Learning Opportunities: INCLUSIVE 

by Thomas Roberts

Providing an inclusive learning environment should be every educator’s goal. Inclusion takes on many forms. It requires us to think about providing multiple means of engagement, representation, and expression in the terms of universal design for learning. It requires us to seek out different strategies, to incorporate assistive technology, and to differentiate how we assess students. Being an inclusive educator is not about adding more work or going through a checklist to meet the needs of diverse students. Being an inclusive educator is an opportunity to engage students where they are and provide each and every student with the access to rigorous learning experiences. It gives us the chance to incorporate students’ home languages, cultures, and values into instruction so that the content is more meaningful. This issue is full of proven resources teachers can use in their classrooms to engage each and every learner.

Dan Trent reminds us of the importance of inclusion, but also the unique position that STEM and career and technical education have in promoting inclusion. As he notes, the real-world, hands-on, cooperative learning that are hallmarks of our profession can position us to be more inclusive than a traditional lecture format. In our Books to Briefs department, Jana Bonds provides a wonderful introduction to the engineering design process that is grounded in the context provided by the children’s book, Ara the Star Engineer. Worch and colleagues offer a hands-on exploration of the structure and function of living animals. In the Kids Code department, Kelley Buchheister offers strategies to make mathematical connections through the use of Cubetto, a hands-on coding robot. Chelong and colleagues offer an integrated activity where students take on the role of a honeybee to better understand the importance of cooperation, to understand why hexagons are important to beehives, and the importance of pollination. Tracy Young provides a great activity that encourages children to explore natural and renewable resources through making wind turbines. Finally, Virginia Jones reminds us of the importance of including culture in STEM, especially as we work to make sure STEM is a community where each and every student belongs. I hope you find these resources as helpful as I have and think about how they can help you create inclusive learning environments.

As this unprecedented school year comes to a close, we are already looking toward next year’s journal, which marks its 25th year! We also eagerly anticipate the arrival of ITEEA’s new Standards for Technological and Engineering Literacy as they pertain to elementary educators. We will be working to bring in more voices and new sections in the journal. If you are interested in sharing strategies, tools, and resources you have found or used, we hope you consider writing for the journal. I also encourage you to submit a proposal for ITEEA’s 83rd Annual Conference to be held March 24-27, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. Proposals for session presentations and the popular STEM Showcase are available at I hope you all have a safe summer, and we hope you join us with our next issue in September.

Thomas Roberts is co-field editor of The Elementary STEM Journal and a teacher educator and researcher at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. He can be reached at