By Maggie O’Brien
Each month, we review news articles written on STEM education and project-based learning (PBL) and list five that we find 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:
STEM jobs are growing at an astounding rate every year, yet STEM education programs have not kept pace. This article discusses the anticipated changes in STEM education over the next five years that could impact the quality of STEM education. Three changes highlighted are: 1.) students becoming fluent in coding, 2.) a convergence of entertainment and education, and 3.) more arts integration. Also discussed is the importance of providing the teacher with the right resources to implement quality STEM teaching that prepares students for the future.
Educator Beth Holland discusses methods for ensuring opportunities for inquiry in the research process. Holland explains three strategies that teachers can use to encourage inquiry: 1.) providing students with visible thinking routines & questions sets, 2.) focusing projects on an essential question as laid out in the UbD framework by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins, and 3.) tapping into student inquiry by asking questions that spark imaginative thinking.
In this article, three educators discuss why career-readiness is equally as important as the 4 C’s of 21st-century learning: collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. They explain how real-world projects and resources (including Defined STEM!) can provide students with opportunities for building career-ready skills. Other tips include starting the conversations about careers at a young age and weaving career-scenarios into the curriculum.
Four educators including national teacher of the year, Sydney Chaffey, explain how they plan to support authentic learning during the new school year. This article is full of classroom tips, tech tools, instructional methods, and activities.
This article highlights the importance of implementing meaningful authentic projects that students are interested in. Several educators share ideas and examples of how teachers can design projects that both help students learn required content and that genuinely interest them. Principal Mike Gwaltney explains “We ought to be teaching stuff that has real meaning for people. Project-based learning is about doing something; it’s about active learning,” Gwaltney said. “It’s not learning about math or about government, but how can I be someone in those fields.”