Integrating STEM Approach in K-12 Science Education Teaching Practice: A Systematic Literature Review


  • SOKHA KHUT Ph.D Student at Faculty of Humanity and Social Science, Hiroshima University in Japan
  • Shimizu KINYA Faculty of Humanity and Social Science, Hiroshima University in Japan



Actual teaching practices, K-12 science education, Systematic review, Integrated STEM approach


The integration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in K-12 education is widely recognized as a critical means to ensure future prosperity, security, and a skilled workforce in these fields. This integrated STEM approach entails teaching these four STEM disciplines in a cohesive manner. However, several barriers have arisen, including the lack of a clear consensus on the key features of implementing integrated STEM education effectively. There remains uncertainty about which science subjects should be integrated with the other three disciplines and at what level within K-12 science education this integration should occur. Therefore, this study aims to establish a well-defined framework for teaching science through an integrated STEM approach (ISTEMA) and identify the types of integrated STEM disciplines employed in various educational settings through a systematic literature review. Secondary data, including scholarly journal articles and book chapters, were collected through searches in databases such as the Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC) and Web of Science. Data analysis was conducted using within-case and cross-case analysis methods. The findings of the study revealed that the framework of teaching science ISTEMA generally consists of six elements: inquiry-based, engineering-based, technology-based, problem-based, teamwork-based, and robotic-based learning. This approach primarily focuses on primary and lower secondary education. Engineering and technology content is predominantly integrated into the science subject. In primary education, science and engineering and science and technology are extensively used, while in lower and upper secondary education, science, engineering, and mathematics, science, technology, and engineering, or STEM are commonly employed.


A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. (2012). In A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. National Academies Press.

African Union. Commission. (n.d.). Agenda 2063: the Africa we want.

Apedoe, X. S., Reynolds, B., & Ellefson, M. R. (2008). Bringing Engineering Design into High School Science Classrooms: The Heating/Cooling Unit. In Schunn Source: Journal of Science Education and Technology (Vol. 17, Issue 5).

Aranda, M. L., Guzey, S. S., & Moore, T. J. (2020). Multidisciplinary Discourses in an engineering design-based science curricular unit. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 30(3), 507-529.

Aranda, M. L., Lie, R., & Selcen Guzey, S. (2020). Productive thinking in middle school science students' design conversations in a design-based engineering challenge. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 30(1), 6781.

Ayieko, R. A., Gokbel, E. N., & Nelson, B. (2017). Retrieved from (Vol. 4).

Bagiati, A., Yoon, S. Y., Evangelou, D., & Ngambeki, I. (2015). Volume 12 Number 2 Engineering Curricula in Early Education: Describing the Landscape of Open Resources.

Ban-Deira, M., Borrelli, S., Bronze, S., de Gasperis, P., Ferrari, P., Gebruers, S., Haesen, S., Sarobe, A., van de Put, E., Weyns, B., & Zarraga, J. (2018). STEAM Education in Europe: A Comparative Analysis Report.

Barron, B. J. S., Schwartz, D. L., Vye, N. J., Moore, A., Petrosino, A., Zech, L., & Bransford, J. D. (1998). /4, Learning through Problem Solving. In The Journal of the Learning Sciences (Vol. 7, Issue 3).

Bernstein, D., Puttick, G., Wendell, K., Shaw, F., Danahy, E., & Cassidy, M. (2021). Designing biomimetic robots: iterative development of an integrated technology design curriculum. Educational Technology Research and Development.

Blumenfeld, P. C., Soloway, E., Marx, R. W., Krajcik, J. S., Guzdial, M., & Palincsar, A. (1991). Motivating Project-Based Learning: Sustaining the Doing, Supporting the Learning. Educational Psychologist, 26(34).

Bryan, L., & Guzey, S. S. (2020). K-12 STEM Education: An Overview of Perspectives and Considerations. Hellenic Journal of STEM Education, 1(1), 515.

Century, J., Ferris, K. A., & Zuo, H. (2020). Finding time for computer science in the elementary school day: a quasi-experimental study of a transdisciplinary problem-based learning approach. International Journal of STEM Education, 7(1).

Chiang, F. K., Chang, C. H., Wang, S., Cai, R. H., & Li, L. (2022). The effect of an interdisciplinary STEM course on children's attitudes of learning and engineering design skills. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 32(1), 55-74.

Ching, Y. H., Yang, D., Wang, S., Baek, Y., Swanson, S., & Chittoori, B. (2019). Elementary School Student Development of STEM Attitudes and Perceived Learning in a STEM Integrated Robotics Curriculum. TechTrends, 63(5), 590-601.

Chung, S. K., & Li, D. (2021). Issues-based steam education: A case study in a Hong Kong secondary school. International Journal of Education and the Arts, 22(3), 1-22.

Crotty, E. A., Guzey, S. S., Roehrig, G. H., Glancy, A. W., Ring-Whalen, E. A., & Moore, T. J. (2017). Approaches to integrating engineering in STEM units and student achievement gains. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research, 7(2).

Dasgupta, C., Magana, A. J., & Vieira, C. (2019). Investigating the affordances of a CAD enabled learning environment for promoting integrated STEM learning. Computers and Education, 129, 122-142.

De Vries, M.J. (2018), “International STEM education: The Netherlands as a case, Technology and Engineering Teacher, Vol. 4, pp. 21-25

Dickes, A. C., Farris, A. V., & Sengupta, P. (2020). Sociomathematical Norms for Integrating Coding and Modeling with Elementary Science: A Dialogical Approach. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 29(1), 35-52.

Gale, J., Alemdar, M., Lingle, J., & Newton, S. (2020). Exploring critical components of an integrated STEM curriculum: an application of the innovation implementation framework. International Journal of STEM Education, 7(1).

Gopalakrishnan, S., & Ganeshkumar, P. (2013). Systematic reviews and meta-analysis: Understanding the best evidence in primary healthcare. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 2(1), 9.

Guzey, S. S., & Jung, J. Y. (2021). Productive Thinking and Science Learning in Design Teams. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 19(2), 215-232.

Hmelo-Silver, C. E. (2004). Problem-Based Learning: What and How Do Students Learn? In Educational Psychology Review (Vol. 16, Issue 3).

Honey, M. A., Pearson, G., & Schweingruber, H. (2014). STEM integration in K-12 education: status, prospects, and an agenda for research. In STEM Integration in K-12 Education: Status, Prospects, and an Agenda for Research. National Academies Press.

Hutchins, N. M., Biswas, G., Marti, M., LÃdeczi, Ã., Grover, S., Wolf, R., Blair, K. P., Chin, D., Conlin, L., Basu, S., & McElhaney, K. (2020). C2STEM: a System for Synergistic Learning of Physics and Computational Thinking. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 29(1), 83-100.

Hutchins, N. M., Biswas, G., Zhang, N., Snyder, C., LÃdeczi, Ã., & Marti, M. (2020). Domain-Specific Modeling Languages in Computer-Based Learning Environments: a Systematic Approach to Support Science Learning through Computational Modeling. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 30(4), 537-580.

Jeong, S., & Kim, H. (2015). The effect of a climate change monitoring program on students' knowledge and perceptions of STEAM education in Korea. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 11(6), 1321-1338.

Jamil, F. M., Linder, S. M., & Stegelin, D. A. (2018). Early Childhood Teacher Beliefs About STEAM Education After a Professional Development Conference. Early Childhood Education Journal, 46(4), 409-417.

Johnston, A. C., Akarsu, M., Moore, T. J., & Guzey, S. S. (2019). Engineering as the integrator: A case study of one middle school science teacher's talk. Journal of Engineering Education, 108(3), 418–440.

Johnson, C. C., Walton, B. J., & Breiner, M. J., (2020). STEM Policy in the United State and Canada. In C. C. Johnson, M. J. Mohr-Schroeder, T. J. Moore, & L. D. English (Eds), HANDBOOK OF RESEARCH ON STEM EDUCATION (1st ed., pp.400-4015). Routledge

Klein, J. T. (2008). Evaluation of Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Research. A Literature Review. In American Journal of Preventive Medicine (Vol. 35, Issue 2 SUPPL.).

Kusmawan, U. (2018). Online Microteaching: a Multifaceted Approach to Teacher Professional Development. Journal of Interactive Online Learning.

Kusmawan, U. (2022). A Virtual Lab As A Vehicle For Active Learning Through Distance Education. International Journal of Research in STEM Education (IJRSE), 4(2), 18-38.

Lidinillah, D. A. M., Mulyana, E. H., Karlimah, K., & Hamdu, G. (2019). Integration of STEM learning into the elementary curriculum in Indonesia: An analysis and exploration. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1318(1).

Luo, F., Antonenko, P. D., & Davis, E. C. (2020). Exploring the evolution of two girls' conceptions and practices in computational thinking in science. Computers and Education, 146.


Moore, T. J., Glancy, A. W., Tank, K. M., Kersten, J. A., Smith, K. A., & Stohlmann, M. S. (2014). A Framework for Quality K-12 Engineering Education: Research and Development. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER), 4(1).

Mustafa, N., Ismail, Z., Tasir, Z., & Mohamad Said, M. N. H. (2016). A meta-analysis on effective strategies for integrated STEM education. Advanced Science Letters, 22(12), 4225-4288.

Ng, C. H., & Adnan, M. (2018). Integrating STEM education through Project-Based Inquiry Learning (PIL) in topic space among year one pupils. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 296(1).

Oliveira, A., Feyzi Behnagh, R., Ni, L., Mohsinah, A. A., Burgess, K. J., & Guo, L. (2019). Emerging technologies as pedagogical tools for teaching and learning science: A literature review. Human Behavior & Emerging Technologies., 1, 149-160

Park, M. H., Dimitrov, D. M., Patterson, L. G., & Park, D. Y. (2017). Early childhood teachers' beliefs about readiness for teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 15(3), 275-291.

Pedaste, M., Meots, M., Siiman, L. A., de Jong, T., van Riesen, S. A. N., Kamp, E. T., Manoli, C. C., Zacharia, Z. C., & Tsourlidaki, E. (2015). Phases of inquiry-based learning: Definitions and the inquiry cycle. In Educational Research Review (Vol. 14, pp. 47-61). Elsevier Ltd.

Peel, A., Sadler, T. D., & Friedrichsen, P. (2021). Using Unplugged Computational Thinking to Scaffold Natural Selection Learning. American Biology Teacher, 83(2), 112-117.

Petrosino, A. J., Shekhar, P., & Gustafson, K. A. (n.d.-a). Group-Based Cloud Computing for STEM Education Project (NSF-Award Abstract #1615207) View project STEM Integration: A Study examining the enactment of prescribed Research Based Engineering Curriculum*.

Petrosino, A. J., Shekhar, P., & Gustafson, K. A. (n.d.-b). Group-Based Cloud Computing for STEM Education Project (NSF-Award Abstract #1615207) View project STEM Integration: A Study examining the enactment of prescribed Research Based Engineering Curriculum*.

Polydoros, G. (2021). Engaging STEM Methodology to Teach Science in Primary Education. Journal of Research and Opinion JRO, 8(7), 2991-2994.

President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for America's Future; Office of the President of the United States: Washington, DC, USA, 2010.

Rahman, S. M. M. (2021). Assessing and benchmarking learning outcomes of robotics-enabled stem education. Education Sciences, 11(2), 1-25.

Satchwell, R. E., Loepp, F. L., & Walter, R. A. (2002a). Designing and Implementing an Integrated Mathematics, Science, and Technology Curriculum for the Middle School. In Journal of Industrial Teacher Education (Vol. 39, Issue 3).

Schellinger, J., Jaber, L. Z., & Southerland, S. A. (2022). Harmonious or disjointed?: Epistemological framing and its role in an integrated science and engineering activity. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 59(1), 30-57.


Selcen Guzey, S., Harwell, M., Moreno, M., Peralta, Y., & Moore, T. J. (2017). The Impact of Design-Based STEM Integration Curricula on Student Achievement in Engineering, Science, and Mathematics. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 26(2), 207-222.

Siverling, E. A., Moore, T. J., Suazo-Flores, E., Mathis, C. A., & Guzey, S. S. (2021). What initiates evidence-based reasoning?: Situations that prompt students to support their design ideas and decisions. Journal of Engineering Education, 110(2), 294-317.

Stohlmann, M., Moore, T., & Roehrig, G. (2012). Considerations for Teaching Integrated STEM Education. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research, 2(1), 28-34.

Stump, S. L., Bryan, J. A., & McConnell, T. J. (2016). Making STEM Connections. The Mathematics Teacher, 109(8), 576-583.

Tawbush, R. L., Stanley, S. D., Campbell, T. G., & Webb, M. A. (2020). International comparison of K-12 STEM teaching practices. Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning, 13(1), 115-128.

Toma, R. B., & Greca, I. M. (2018). The effect of integrative STEM instruction on elementary students' attitudes toward science. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 14(4), 1383-1395.

Wang, H.-H., Moore, T. J., Roehrig, G. H., Wang, H., Moore, T. J., & Roehrig, G. H. (2011). STEM Integration: Teacher Perceptions and Practice. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER), 1(2).

Wei, B., & Chen, Y. (2020). Integrated STEM Education in K-12: Theory Development, Status, and Prospects. In Theorizing STEM Education in the 21st Century. IntechOpen.

Wieselmann, J. R., Keratithamkul, K., Dare, E. A., Ring-Whalen, E. A., & Roehrig, G. H. (2021). Discourse Analysis in Integrated STEM Activities: Methods for Examining Power and Positioning in Small Group Interactions. Research in Science Education, 51(1), 113-133.

Yin, Y., Hadad, R., Tang, X., & Lin, Q. (2020). Improving and Assessing Computational Thinking in Maker Activities: the Integration with Physics and Engineering Learning. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 29(2), 189-214.

Ziaeefard, S., Miller, M. H., Rastgaar, M., & Mahmoudian, N. (2017). Co-robotics hands-on activities: A gateway to engineering design and STEM learning. Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 97, 40-50.



2023-11-11 — Updated on 2023-11-12

How to Cite

KHUT, S., & Shimizu, K. (2023). Integrating STEM Approach in K-12 Science Education Teaching Practice: A Systematic Literature Review. International Journal of Research in STEM Education, 5(2), 1–18.



Research Articles

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.