Learning Trajectories(LT): A new way to understand STEM learning in children ages birth to five years

Learning trajectories help us understand how children learn and think about STEM topics and how to support children as they learn more. Research-based learning trajectories have 3 parts: a goal, a developmental progression, and instruction.

STEM learning everyday, everywhere for ALL children ages birth to five years

Dive deeper into investigations by exploring domains or cross-cutting concepts.


Investigations outline activities that align with a particular LT to use in center-based settings. They offer:

  • Related STEM words to talk about
  • List of materials
  • Suggested adaptations and guided steps for all children
  • Suggested prompts for engaging with children during the activity and ideas for continuing the investigation

Try one out:

Investigation: Ms. Mix-Up-Dressing a Baby Doll
An adult dresses a doll incorrectly and encourages child to find errors and possibly fix them.

Early Intervention (EI) Cards

EI cards are one page STEM activity cards for EI providers to collaborate with families to support children’s learning goals in daily routines. They include:

  • Ideas and strategies adults can use to support children’s STEM learning
  • Learning goals while doing every day activities

Try one out:

Early Intervention in Daily Routines: Bathtime
Encourage STEM learning during bath time

Discovery Play Activities

STEMIE offers a variety of STEM-related resources that allow for broad explorations of STEM ideas in discovery play activities! Play and interact with your child with STEM explorations and discover interests.

Daily Routines Explorations

Learn how to bring STEM into your daily routines like getting dressed or mealtime! Observe your child’s thinking in action with STEM explorations as a part of your day.

Storybook Conversations

Explore the storybooks that – in addition to being adored and well-respected children’s literature – offer an opportunity to expand on STEM ideas. Suggested adaptations, question prompts, and activities are provided with each tipsheet.

All Children Participate in an Activity

When you consider the environment in which an activity takes place, the materials you use, and the instruction you offer, all children engage in the same activity. Every STEMIE resource offers specific adaptation suggestions. The Guide to Adaptations is a great place to start for any activity.


Provide access by considering the environment, activities, and routines for the room or set a length of time.


Make modifications to toys, plan the materials and AT devices you will use.


Think of the guidance and information for support you can provide, even if its just reducing the number of steps.

Check out additional ideas that can be used to promote positive and active STEM learning experiences for each and every child.

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University of Denver
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STEMIE Learning Trajectories