TEC Play and Lesson Plans: T+S in STEM: Inquiry and Research

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Young child using Flip camera outside

Image courtesy of Ms. Liza Sullivan

A feeling of apprehension often arises when TEC Center mentions using technology to explore nature or when we see children with iPads and digital microscopes in their classroom garden or neighborhood park investigating their environment. Many fear technology breaking or believe nature should be a “tech-free” zone. However, all fears and misconceptions usually dissipate around using technology as a tool to explore and discover nature after educators, parents and children have the opportunity to support children’s curiosity and reflection on how the world around them works.

TEC Center is committed to supporting educators and parents as they navigate connecting the T+S in STEM. During the 2017-18 school year, TEC Center hosted Dr. Milton Chen and Dr. Mark Bailey who presented on how impactful technology is as a tool to explore, discover, document, and analyze science concepts, experiences and experiments. Dr. Mark Bailey shares 3 tips for early childhood educators who want to get started using technology in the following video:

NOTE: When you are reading their plans scroll through the whole plan as many educators have added pictures that can be quite useful.

As you read these plans note that many of them use photography and video that include images of children. The TEC Center promotes and believes that children have the right to know how and where their images and voices will be used and the right to refuse sharing their images, voices and work online.

Before you take pictures or video of children remember to:

    • talk to your school leadership first about your plans
    • ask parents/guardians to sign a release form provided by the school or program
    • ask each child for permission and tell children how their images will be used
    • protect a child’s privacy and digital footprint by putting a shape or positive emoji over a child’s face before sharing it on social media platforms to protect a child’s privacy
    • Before sharing images of children with parents and caregivers make sure to review guidelines for protecting their privacy with parents, including reminding parents to
      • ask for permission from your child if you can post an image, video or project online and respect your child’s wishes
      • share with care and post images of only your child online
      • be positive and a good digital citizen by posting only positive comments, photos and videos a child would be proud to show someone later in life-never shame your own child or another child online

Photo courtesy of Ms. Cassidy
Students painting polar environments


Here are 3 T+S in STEM play and lesson plans developed by our TEC Mentors:

Image courtesy of Learning Resources
Zoomy Handheld Digital Microscope


Photo courtesy of Ms. Wiora Student using a tablet to scan a QR code

Additional related resources:



Find more Early Childhood Tech Integrated Play and Lesson Plans from TEC Mentors here.
September 13, 2018
TEC Play and Lesson Plans: Language, Literacy, and Digital Storytelling
There are many technology tools that support children’s exploration and practice language, literacy, and storytelling skills. We have 4 play and lesson plans developed by our TEC Mentors, which focus on providing opportunities to learn for all students. Read more →
#Lessonplans#TECMentor#TECMentorsprofessional development
August 30, 2018
TEC Play And Lesson Plans: Connections + Relationships
How do you use technology to enhance connections and relationships? We have 3 play and lesson plans developed by our TEC Mentors, which focus on prioritizing social and emotional experiences. Read more →
#Lessonplans#TECMentor#TECMentorsprofessional development