Teacher Experience: “Environmental Scientist: Fracking” Task for 7th Grade Students
A Defined STEM Learning Experience From:
Gina Riley 7th-Grade Life Science, Social Studies, and Language teacher Salem Grade School (WI)
Environmental Scientist: Fracking
What we did:
It typically takes our classes a week to complete a project. To start the Defined STEM activity, I explained to the students that they would be acting as leaders from an energy company interested in building gas wells and conducting fracking. Students had to create a public awareness campaign to educate the public on the positive impacts fracking can have.
On the first day, I like to introduce the project and give students the rubric for the final product, and daily directions for readings and progress. This helps to keep the students on track. Day two is the beginning of research, which includes reading the articles and watching the videos provided by Defined STEM. I also include links to other reliable resources for students to reference. Days three, four, and five are usually research and work on the final projects, which could include an oral presentation, a debate, a research report, a demonstration, or a poster.
Why Defined STEM was the Perfect Fit:
Students are always excited to start Defined STEM projects because they are new and different. STEM prompts a great learning environment because students are required to think and stretch their knowledge beyond memorizing facts for a test. During the projects, students learn to work independently or together, which makes what they are learning real because they’re able to connect lessons to the real world. I’ve discovered some students lose interest if the project is longer than a week and they have too many resources to look through. Simple is best.