UbD offers a planning framework to guide curriculum, assessment and instruction with a focus on teaching and assessing for understanding and transfer. Defined STEM provides sets of performance tasks, literacy tasks and constructed responses in which students engage in "real world" applications of key concepts and skills. In Jay McTighe's whitepaper, he describes the complementary connections between Understanding by Design and Defined STEM.
The two key ideas of Understanding by Design are contained in its title: 1) focus on teaching and assessing for understanding and transfer, and 2) design curriculum "backward" from those ends.
UbD is based on seven key tenets:
Defined STEM reinforces these tenets and supports the Understanding by Design framework for curriculum, instruction and assessment. Through the utilization of performance tasks and related resources, Defined STEM reflects the educational strategies of STEM education and project-based learning. Real-world videos set the stage for each learning experience by showing the practical application of educational concepts within an industry and/or organizational context. Performance tasks built around the demands of specific careers/industries ask the students to apply knowledge and skills in authentic situations. Literacy tasks encourage students to read, synthesize and write informative and/or position papers around the real-world issues. Tasks set in an international context give learners opportunities to explore challenges and opportunities with global implications.