Twenty-first-century skills have been identified by American policymakers and business leaders as skills they look for when hiring. As STEM writers, the Kool Kat writing team appreciates the need to embed twenty-first success skills in our lessons. We provide resources and guidance to aid teachers in preparing their students for a fast-paced, increasingly automated and information-saturated world.
Paula was first introduced to the “4 Cs and more” concept when working with other educators in a project funded by a Battelle for Kids grant. We were engaged in developing schools that move away from rote memorization and direct instruction learning strategies, acknowledging that this methodology will not adequately prepare students to be competitive in a global market.
As this logo we created shows, 21st-century skills include:
- Critical Thinking: to reason and analyze information to identify new solutions to a problem
- Creativity and Innovation: to apply new tools to create new products and processes
- Collaboration: to work with others, including understanding and being sensitive to one another’s differences and needs
- Communication: to communicate clearly using a variety of platforms and genres
- Technology/Media Literacy: to “speak the language” and work with up-to-date technology in an ever-changing business landscape
- Career/ Life Skills: to interact with others and unite behind a single purpose
An excellent article by Suzie Boss (Jan 22, 2019) titled, “It’s 2019. So Why do 21st Century Skills Still Matter?” [https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-01-22-its-2019-so-why-do-21st-century-skills-still-matter] addresses how the “Human Factor” matters in a shrinking world where our children are being compared to other students around the globe in global competence and collaborative problem-solving skills in addition to traditional reading, math, and science aptitudes.
Providing makerspaces, utilizing flipped learning strategies, setting aside a “genius hour,” and incorporating gamification practices are a few methods that are encouraged to disrupt the traditional, teacher-centered classroom. Since we began writing in 2013, Kool Kat Science has met this increased need by incorporating scenarios in our lessons for intermediate elementary children in grades 3 through 5 to guide learning teams in research and exploration to find solutions for community needs, explore design challenges, and create authentic solutions to real-world problems.