Improving STEM Teaching Practices with R&P: Increasing the Full Range of Young Children’s STEM Outcomes

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Ramps and Pathways (R&P) early physical science activities enable educators and young children (3–8 years) to explore and investigate what happens as marbles and rolling objects are released on constructed ramp structures and pathways using wooden cove molding. The R&P project challenged educators to transform their views of early science learning and instruction. Preliminary pilot and field-testing results demonstrate improved science achievement and teaching practices. The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential impact of R&P investigations for children with and without disabilities: (a) on learning and development in general; and (b) STEM outcomes specifically according to Idaho teacher participants. This investigation will likewise explore teachers’ attitudes and firsthand experiences toward implementing R&P with young children. Teacher reflections revealed that teachers witnessed developmental benefits related to language and social emotional development during R&P. Although teachers as a group observed STEM learning and thinking for learners in general, the early childhood–special education teacher noted children with disabilities specifically learning and developing STEM concepts.