By Maggie O’Brien
Each month we review articles written on STEM (science, technology, education, and mathematics) education and project-based learning (PBL). Below are five that we found exceptionally inspiring and educational last month. 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.
In a recent forum hosted by the Atlantic Monthly titled, “Cracking the Code: The Next Generation of Women in STEM”, industry and academic experts came together to discuss how to get more girls interested in STEM and keep them engaged. This article recaps the practical advice these experts gave to schools and colleges seeking strategies for drawing more females into STEM.
Instructional Coach Andrew Miller encourages educators who are implementing project-based learning in their classroom to do a shorter version of the projects themselves. This shorter version or “project slice” will help them understand the challenges students will encounter and better plan the project. Miller explains why and how educators can design their own project-slice.
New Jersey superintendent, Dr. Joanne Mullane, shares her strategy for introducing K-12 educators to project-based learning. Mullane explained her model for success model she used to help her teachers successfully implement PBL, including providing them with high-quality professional development and relevant PBL curriculum tools (including Defined STEM!).
The White House
This press release from the Office of the Press Secretary explains that the White House is expanding access to high-quality STEM and Computer Science education. Listed in the release are the administrative actions that the White House is directing the Secretary of Education to take – including devoting at least $200 million per year in grant funds towards this priority.
Makerspaces are a valuable element of PBL and help students build the creative and critical thinking skills necessary for success in the 21st century. In this article, science teacher Lindsey Own lists the tools and resources that make up an effective makerspace. Own explains that with organized materials and the right tools students can develop the “critical thinking, tinkering, prototyping mindset and perseverance that are the true desired outcomes of a school makerspace”.