Teacher Experience: Nutritionist Task for Grades 6-12
A Defined STEM Learning Experience From:
9th-12th-grade forensics, environmental science, earth science, and physical science teacher
ARTS Rise Program, Stamford, Connecticut
The Challenge: Getting students excited about science
As a science teacher for more than 25 years, I have found that students perform well when assignments are project-based. Students get the most excited about a lesson when they can connect the dots between school and their future career. Defined STEM is entirely student-centered, making it so easy for them to choose and own their learning.
The Solution: Implementing project-based learning using Defined STEM for students to learn more about science through exciting, real-world activities
Defined STEM provides a wide variety of projects to choose from for different content focuses. In our class, we used the performance tasks Industrial Engineer: Solar Power, Civil Engineer: Water Treatment. and Nutritionist. The one that really stood out to my students was the nutritionist performance task.
One of our after-school programs was focused on a health unit, and one student completed a nutrition plan for two groups of astronauts gearing up to spend time on a space station. She chose to work on the product that included a detailed table which broke down the food pyramid provided by the government.
Following the lesson, she came up to me and told me how much she enjoyed conducting research and how easy it was for her to gather data on the topic. She was able to step outside of her comfort zone a little, and she learned how to set up an Excel sheet in the process of putting together her data table. I believe that tasks like this truly set students up for future success.
The class and I facilitated learning during each project by asking questions and showing each other how to steer through the problems they encountered. PBL can be a challenge to implement, but it’s evident that, after guided practice and learning what works for educators and their students, it’s the most effective way to teach STEM.