This is a case study of the implementation of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education by teachers over the period of half a school term in Turkish primary schools. Given the growing interest in integrated STEM education in the world, it is necessary to identify the barriers and needs for successful STEM education at any level of the education systems of different countries. In this study, firstly, the barriers and needs for STEM implementations in the literature were revealed to handle the current situation in the world. Then, the teachers determined the Turkish case for the primary level and compared it with the existing literature. To this end, five primary school teachers planned and implemented integrated STEM activities in their own classrooms and asked them to express the barriers and needs that they experienced in the process. According to the teacher’s experiences, there are barriers gathered under six main themes having sub-categories as school culture, curriculum, time, student, teacher, and material. The needs for successful STEM implementation at this level are also gathered under four main themes having sub-categories as school culture, curriculum, professional development, and material support themes. According to the findings, the Turkish case supports and is consistent with other studies in the literature. So, it can be said that STEM cannot be fully integrated into existing education systems yet and these barriers and needs will continue to exist. The study sheds light that there is a long way to go in, especially for Turkish primary schools. Additionally, it puts forth that the teachers may experience many new barriers to successful STEM implementations if precautions are not taken. The study sheds light on the current situation in schools from the teachers’ viewpoint who are responsible for teaching at this level and serves as a springboard for further studies and concerned parties.
Elementary STEM education, implementation, teachers’ experiences, barriers, needs, case study.