Strategies, Research, and Examples for Elementary Teachers to Integrate STEM


  • Anni Krummel Reinking
  • Barbara Martin


STEM, Elementary, Teaching


Over the past decade, STEM has become an important goal in schools because of the strong global initiatives for improving education. In fact, the 2010 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology indicated that there was a need to provide individuals with strong STEM backgrounds in order for the United States to be educationally competitive internationally. This article provides ideas to successfully integrate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) concepts into all elementary grade levels (K-6), research to provide support for the STEM integration ideas, and examples on how to integrate the ideas. Specifically, the ideas range from encouraging creativity to providing hands-on experiences. While these are important at all grade levels, the article supports the idea that elementary is the foundation that builds students’ willingness and ability to ‘think outside the box’ or understand there is more than one way to solve problems.

Author Biographies

Anni Krummel Reinking


Anni Krummel Reinking, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Dr. Reinking joined SIUE in 2016 after obtaining her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Illinois State University and working for one year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at a small liberal arts school in Central Illinois. Dr. Reinking teaches courses in Early Childhood, including methods courses and assessment. Prior to entering higher education, Dr. Reinking taught in public, private, and charter schools. She taught preschool, kindergarten, second, and early childhood special education. Dr. Reinking is on the leadership team of several local and state organizations and is a frequent presenter at local, state, and national conferences. Dr. Reinking’s current research involves examining how Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum can influence the brain development in early childhood students, as well as studying how STEM after school programs can increase girls’ interest in STEM fields. Furthermore, Dr. Reinking’s current research also includes investigating how Virtual Learning Experiences (VLE) influence teacher preparedness. Finally, Dr. Reinking continues her work focused on multicultural education and the importance of such topics with young students and their teachers. Dr. Reinking has served as author and co-author on a number of articles and presentations focused on such topics in the field of Early Childhood Education, Multicultural Education, STEM, and Virtual Environments.

Barbara Martin


Dr. Barbara Martin is an Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning in the School of Education, Health, and Human Behavior at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). She began her professional career with a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her time at Mizzou sparked her interest in higher education so upon graduation she began her MS.ED degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Literacy Instruction. She was an Elementary Education teacher for 7 years and then decided to complete her Ed.D at Illinois State University in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on technology integration. Dr. Martin has worked at SIUE since 2013 in the Elementary Education department.