Almost 20 years ago, my husband Tom Laster and I created a company based on a dream that all students could have access to a high-quality STEM education. But, today we are finding that while STEM and PBL are taking hold, there is too little clarity on what STEM and PBL actually mean.
In a line, there is an installed base of publishers that are repackaging their old goods and pretending that they are new. By putting a fancy cover with the words STEM and PBL and by inserting small one-off activities they are now claiming to have seen the light and to be STEM.
Please do not be fooled.
What makes an authentic STEM and PBL? Parents please look for these 4 qualities
- Students learn and collaborate the way scientists, engineers, and mathematicians do.
- They begin with a question, a problem, or a challenge that becomes personally meaningful to them.
- Students then ask questions and identify what they need to investigate even before they begin an activity.
- After completing an investigation, students analyze their data, reflect on their learning, develop explanations, communicate their findings to other class members, and prepare to argue and defend their findings–just like real scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.
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