Teacher Experience: “Photovoltaics” for 6th-7th Grade Science Students
A Defined STEM Learning Experience From:
6 th – and 7 th -Grade Science Teacher
North Middle School (IA)
Here’s What We Did:
I used this task as part of an environmental science unit and started with a survey asking students what they already know about specific environmental issues including fracking, photovoltaics, and wind energy. Using the resources provided on Defined STEM, as a class we did a broad overview of the three topics and asked students to choose which one they were most interested in. Based on their interests, I formed students into teams of four. The teams had a choice to complete two products, which included a debate, a brochure, a multimedia presentation, a technical report, or a scientific drawing or flowchart. In their groups, students worked together to create the two products using the Defined STEM rubrics and prompts. I offered them feedback, guidance, and support as needed, but most groups did it all on their own! The project took four class periods to complete. At the end, students presented their findings to the class so they were able to act as the teachers, sharing what they learned. In return, students got to learn from groups covering different subjects, allowing them to learn from each other.
Why Defined STEM Was the Perfect Fit:
Defined STEM is a great way to give students ownership of exploring relevant problems and creating significant, authentic products to demonstrate their learning. Projects like this work very well in my classroom and students were excited to have this experience Most students were enthusiastically engaged because of the freedom of choice promoted by Defined STEM. Students were able to collaborate to create their products and to learn from each other, which I always promote in my classroom.