When elementary students learn STEM topics (especially science) early in their educational journey, they have the opportunity to develop a passion to promote their future academic, personal, and professional success. With many resources claiming to be STEM, it can be overwhelming and difficult finding specific classroom activities to establish an interest in the subjects. The use of loose parts can address challenges teaching STEM and meeting curriculum standards in elementary schools. To better understand STEM best practices, a scoping review was implemented. The key words “STEM,” “elementary,” and “science” yielded 1,955 publications, which were then narrowed down to 20 articles for in-depth review. The selected publications were analyzed for STEM activities using loose parts principles. This study establishes successful science activities, discusses challenges, and shares how loose parts could be used to improve learning and student engagement in science and STEM.

Keywords: STEM, elementary, science, loose parts, experimentation.


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Research Article