Classroom Strategies

Overarching Strategies for Using Defined STEM in the Classroom

The following strategies are meant to provide educators with specific opportunities for utilizing Defined STEM within the classroom.

Culminating Unit Activity: The performance task presents a problem that is tied to a primary academic standard. The task connects with numerous other academic standards as well. The task contains a number of products that require the student to demonstrate understandings of the academic standard(s). Additionally, through the task the students are answering one or more essential questions that address a big idea. Rubrics are contained within the task to help the educator assess student understanding. The task can serve as the primary or supplementary assessment for student knowledge and skill development.

Interdisciplinary Unit/Cross-Curricular Teaching: The performance task and associated content provide opportunities for students to build their knowledge and skills and understand how the academic areas connect. The tasks provide great opportunities for team teaching and/or culminating activities that can be shared across subjects. Through product creation, students will be required to utilize technology, the arts, and language arts to complete a majority of the tasks with STEM as the central content. Through the application of 21st century learning and skills, students are engaging in a holistic learning experience designed to help them succeed beyond school.

Independent Learning: The performance task and associated products can be utilized based upon student learning level. The videos and learning connections can provide opportunities for students to link their learning with real-life applications and potential careers. The products within the tasks can be adapted based upon the multiple intelligences or the needs of the individual student. The tasks are strongly aligned with 21st century content and skill development and require the use of technology as part of the product development process. Tasks can help provide motivation for student learning as well as help students understand why they need to learn certain content and skills. The inclusion of simulations can help the student understand concepts in an independent environment. Educators may facilitate the learning experience, serve as a guide to student learning, or allow the students to work and complete the task independently.

Enrichment: Defined STEM and the associated learning resources can be utilized to extend learning for student enrichment by addressing content area learning while also providing the ability for student autonomy. The videos and learning connections provide background information to help the student gain a foundational understanding of specific skills, content, and applications that are to be addressed. The product development process aligns with numerous multiple intelligences and has the student working to demonstrate understanding. Additionally, many of the products created will require the utilization of technology and are closely aligned with 21st century content and skill development. The experiences can be created through classroom learning centers, through differentiated product and process strategies, and by extending the classroom walls.

Project Based Learning: Each performance task contains between three and six products that allow the student to demonstrate his/her understanding of content, concepts, and skills. Simulations in many of the tasks, extend student learning and require students to solve problems. The tasks are aligned with academic standards and 21st century learning and innovation skills. The learning experience focuses on student-centered inquiry and group learning with the teacher acting as a facilitator. Many of the potential products require students to use technology as part of product creation. Students are required to create their own artifacts, individually or as part of a group, as a representation of what they have learned through the teaching and learning process.

Summative Assessment: The performance task and connected content may serve as a summative assessment to monitor student understanding. The task would be best utilized as a culminating activity as part of a larger assessment process that includes formative assessment and more traditional summative assessments. As traditional testing methods measure content and concept knowledge, the performance task requires students to demonstrate understanding of content and concept relevance as part of a holistic learning application.

Inverted Classroom: As opposed to using the traditional strategy of using classroom time to provide lecture and foundational content experience followed by drill and practice as homework, students watch lectures at home through technological tools as well as gain foundational knowledge through textbook and associated resources. Class time is then utilized to work on projects, problems, and products through individualized and group work. This allows students to use class time actively and utilize the educator as a critical facilitator guiding learning and the application of new knowledge and skills.