Top 5 STEM Education Articles of November

STEM Education

By Maggie O’Brien | November 2017


Each month, we review news articles written on STEM education and project-based learning (PBL) and list five that we think are exceptionally inspiring and educational. Topics range from research reports to feature stories about new STEM and PBL initiatives in schools.

These articles support Defined STEM’s mission of assisting students in developing the critical 21st-century skills they need to succeed in college, career, and life.

Here’s what we liked this month:


5 PBL Pitfalls to Avoid
Educator Frank McKay discusses the common complaints he hears from educators who had a bad experience with project-based learning (PBL). McKay offers valuable advice on how to turn these pitfalls into opportunities. This remarkable article is full of insights on how to succeed with PBL including connecting the project to the real world, focusing on process, targeting standards, assessing individual learning throughout the process, and building a collaborative classroom.


The Case for School Makerspaces, According to Those Who Use Them
Getting Smart
This article features several innovative educators who created makerspaces in their elementary schools. They explain what the students gain from these makerspaces including academic benefits, development of 21st-Century Skills, and the ability to get students to approach learning with a growth mindset.


Where the STEM Jobs Are (and Where They Aren’t)
NY Times
This article discusses how much of the enthusiasm for STEM education comes from the belief that all STEM fields are rich in job opportunity. However, research shows this is not the case. This article provides insight into the opportunities in each field and how the academic world can best prepare students for success in careers and life.


How Project-Based Learning Unleashes Students’ Creativity
Getting Smart
Two educators, Brandi Zivilik and Pamela Brennan, explain how they bridge the gap between classroom content and the real world by engaging students in projects that connect them to their local community. They highlight the lasting impact that projects like this have on students. Brennan highlights how real-world community projects “empower students to learn, bring relevancy to learning, and teach them to be overall good people.”


How Do You Teach Collaboration?
New Tech Network
Many educators recognize the importance of teaching their students to collaborate but struggle with how to teach it. Kevin Gant from the New Tech Network explains how teaching collaboration in the classroom involves the same process that is involved in teaching any new concept: 1.) describe it, 2,) show it, 3.) have students experience it, and 4) provide feedback.



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