How to Make Test Prep Engaging with STEM
Test prep doesn’t have to be boring!
Whether you agree with state testing or not, it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. You can either fight it, or you can choose to set your students up for success by providing them with test prep activities to help them feel prepared.
Unfortunately, many of these activities take the form of worksheets and/or “drill and kill” types of activities. I am sad to admit that I used to use some of these activities with my third graders as we prepared for state testing, but then I found a better way.
During this testing season you don’t have to choose between fun classroom activities or test prep. You can have both with STEM. Let’s learn how!
One of my favorite ways to motivate students is by “setting the stage to engage” with classroom decorations. It helps set the tone for the test prep season and gets students pumped up for the test prep activities. This year I chose a March Madness Theme.
You don’t have to go all out. Even just a few decorations can go a long way towards motivating students.
Another way to motivate students during the testing season is by integrating STEM challenges with your test prep lessons. As students successfully answer questions or complete test prep activities have them earn materials to complete a STEM challenge. This can be as simple as earning an index card for a correct answer to build a tower.
To go along with my March Madness theme I had students earn materials to complete a March Madness themed challenge where they had to design and build a basketball shooter and goal. Students read two passages and answered multiple choice questions. They also had to use the strategies that they had been working on such as underlining their proof in the text.
Why spend time on “drill and kill” test prep strategies that are boring for both teachers and students? Imagine how excited your students will be when you approach test prep in a hands on way. They will be so excited to show what they know on the test!
Try integrating STEM into your test prep routine and watch your students’ engagement soar! You can get the March Madness basketball STEM challenges HERE!