Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


First Advisor

Amanda Thomas

Date of this Version



Waddell, B. M. (2019). Influence of STEM lessons on critical thinking. (Master's thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, United States). Retrieved from


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, Under the Supervision of Professor Amanda Thomas. Lincoln, Nebraska: August 2019

Copyright 2019 Brooke Waddell


The study of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is leading educators into a new world of teaching. The classroom roles have been reversed and students are now in charge of their own learning. Students are learning how to engineer and solve real-world problems through critical thinking. Integrated STEM lessons are teaching students to use their prior knowledge across subject areas to prepare themselves for the workforce needed in the 21st century. This study was conducted in a rural second grade classroom with the number of students ranging from 16 to 21. Throughout this study qualitative data was collected. The students participated in integrated STEM lessons where qualitative data was collected through student work samples, student surveys, student interviews, and a teacher journal. In addition, students were asked to answer a student survey on their feelings toward science after each experiment.

Advisor: Amanda Thomas