Posts Tagged ‘STEM’

STEM: Bringing Engineering into the Science Classroom

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

AUTHOR: Shawna Wiebusch, Secondary Science Education Specialist

Science courses are often grouped into the category of STEM, including in the STEM endorsement for graduation from Texas public schools. Science teachers attest to the value of math in the field of science and many have embraced the accuracy, precision, and increased student engagement that technology brings to the classroom. However, science teachers often hesitate when asked how they incorporate engineering into their classrooms. While our content based TEKS get most of the focus, our process standards are often an afterthought in planning. Through the lens of engineering design, teachers can integrate the teaching of process standards and content standards.

The engineering design process consists of a series of steps that can be thought of as a cycle. Depending on your source, there are approximately 7 steps. From the Teach Engineering website the steps are as follows:

1) Ask – Identify the need and constraints

2) Research the problem

3) Imagine: Develop possible solutions

4) Plan: Select a Promising solution

5) Create: Build a prototype

6) Test and Evaluate prototype

7) Improve: Redesign as needed

In a science classroom, these steps lead students to use the content they are expected to learn to solve a problem. A physics teacher might ask their students to design and model a house that uses series and parallel circuits to light 4 rooms with a specific current and voltage. A biology teacher might ask their students to determine what barriers a cell would have to overcome in order to duplicate itself successfully and come up with potential solutions to those barriers (and in the process, teach the concept of mitosis). An 8th grade teacher might ask students to determine the causes of and potential solutions for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. In each of the examples listed above, students should also communicate their designs to their peers and use feedback in order to improve their initial models.

So now that you’ve seen a few examples, let’s explore exactly how the science process TEKS fit into the engineering design process.

In elementary school, students are expected to propose solutions to problems in Kindergarten through third grade (K.3A, 1.3A, 2.3A, 3.2A). This is the foundation of the engineering process and needs to be emphasized in the younger grades so that those skills are developed and practiced throughout a child’s education.

At every grade level, at least one student expectation touches on the use of models. In 7th grade, students are expected to “use models to represent aspects of the natural world…” (7.3b) and “identify advantages and disadvantages of models such as size, scale, properties, and materials” (7.3c). In the engineering design process, prototypes are the models. Students can use models to test out their ideas and explain them to other students and to the teacher. The important part of this is that the students are making and using the models more than the teachers.

At all grade levels, students are expected to “communicate valid results”. From third grade on, they are expected to “critique scientific explanations”. In Engineering Design, this falls under Test and Evaluate the prototype. Part of the evaluation comes from peer review. Students need the opportunity to bounce their ideas off of each other before being graded on them. The peer review process gives students that chance. Not only will they come away with ideas on how to improve their own models and ideas, but they will have practice in the art of constructive criticism and analyzing the work of others.

These are just a few places where the Science process standards overlap with principles behind Engineering Design. Engineering doesn’t have to be its own unit. It can be easily embedded in the work we already do with students and will give them opportunities to take ownership of their own learning.

References:

Engineering Design Process. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2016, from https://www.teachengineering.org/engrdesignprocess.php

 

STEM Essential Elements to STEMify the Classroom

Friday, September 25th, 2015

AUTHOR: Dr. Grant Kessler,  STEM Specialist – Curriculum & Instruction

An important goal for all students — regardless of interest in focused STEM content — is STEM literacy. There is an increasingly technical aspect to almost everything in which we engage, both at work and in our daily lives; students will need STEM literacy to be successful in their personal and professional futures. Therefore, STEM literacy should be emphasized across all grade levels and subject areas.

What does this means for education? As educators, we must prepare our students to thrive in a STEM-based world by integrating STEM into our work whenever possible. Students must learn how to appropriately utilize the Internet, demonstrate the confidence to learn new technologies, be mathematically functional and able to apply scientifically-sound thinking, and be capable and self-sufficient problem-solvers.

Well-designed learning experiences encourage students to quickly see the importance and applicability of STEM; students and educators should view the STEM components as working in tandem. A STEM-ified lesson is not just science or technology or engineering or math; it includes notions of science and technology and engineering and math. Importantly, not every component has to be in every lesson. Instead a blending of the four components, which allow students to make real-world connections, is what works well in practice.

STEM education should provide an engaging and problem-driven process for students to learn. This approach is effective and transferable across all content areas for all students. Schools can improve and encourage STEM literacy in a number of ways, from a single classroom to a district-wide initiative. The key element of STEM learning is the integration of the four core subjects into larger, cross-disciplinary projects designed for students to solve problems and gain real world insights. We seek to avoid imparting fragmented pieces of knowledge with no application.

Implementing STEM into the classroom begins with organizing and delivering learning experiences in such a way that students understand the connections within and between content areas, see relevance in their learning, and build capacity through authentic utilization of 21st century and content skills. The STEM Essentials provide the platform from which teachers can STEMify student learning while using a variety of delivery approaches.

STEM ESSENTIALS & THEIR KEY COMPONENTS

By implementing STEM best practices, educators can provide meaningful real-world learning experiences that go beyond the classroom and become transferable skills that are necessary for students to be competitive in the global economy. Explore the STEM Essentials & Their Key Components document and consider how they can be used to align current instruction with the end goal of STEMifying instruction.

Transformation Central Texas STEM Center will publish a straightforward and practical process for educators to STEMify learning for all students in the book, “A Blueprint for Building a STEM Program: Integrate, Innovate, Inspire.” For more information visit TCentralSTEM.org. This resource is highly recommended for educators of all content areas, pre-K through grade 12.

For resources, strategic planning and implementation support, contact Grant Kessler (grant.kessler@esc13.txed.net) at Region 13.

Making STEM-Centered Makerspaces Work

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Authors: Patrick Waters, M.Ed., Professional Educator, Mentor for The Monarch School, Texas

Grant Kessler, Ph.D., Education Specialist: STEM, Transformation Central Texas STEM Center

For much of our country’s history, innovation has driven our economic prosperity. Innovations in science and technology, such as the mastery of flight, the refinement of the assembly line, the disruptive forces of computers and software platforms, have been an economic growth engine. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education has been the fuel that drives this engine and will continue to drive our nation forward. Recently, the Texas Legislature has passed House Bill 5 (HB 5), which revamped graduation requirements and brought a greater focus and opportunity for students to engage with STEM education; HB 5 established a credit-based graduation plan which allows students to earn endorsements in STEM, Business and Industry, Public Service, Arts and Humanities, or Multidisciplinary studies. Local school districts have flexibility to provide students with innovative academic electives that are aligned with each endorsement area.

 

These changes pave the way for greater student access and exposure to STEM topics. The potential of STEM education cannot be overstated, as its impact on students extends from developing collaboration skills, promoting analytical and critical thinking, and fostering creativity to providing pathways to economic prosperity. STEM education can benefit all students, of all learning abilities, at all levels, from all socioeconomic backgrounds, in a substantial way. Our students need access and exposure to STEM curricula and topics in order to reap those benefits.

 

A number of models for STEM education exist today, from stand-alone courses (e.g., Biology and Algebra) to more integrated approaches such as applied engineering in high school. A new perspective has emerged in the last few years aimed at expanded access to meaningful STEM curriculum to include all grade levels and student readiness groups.

 

Maker Education is an education approach that positions the student as an innovator with the responsibility to find solutions to relevant problems. The approach integrates the breadth of STEM fields and emphasizes student agency through exploration, communication and collaboration. The Maker student learns content within an authentic context that requires communication, collaboration, research, design, modeling, tinkering, and prototyping. The Maker teacher designs the learning context and facilitates the process so that students acquire specific content-area skills throughout the learning experience. For example, a student might learn geometric angles through building craft objects from wood. Maker Education combines elements of Problem Based Learning (PBL) and STEM education with an emphasis on the creative elements inherent in science, mathematics and engineering.

 

Maker Education places a premium on the balance between exploration and execution. Small projects lend themselves to indefinite tinkering and fiddling, while larger projects need complex, coordinated planning. Often, small projects can organically grow into larger and larger projects. This deliberate process strengthens and enriches a learner’s executive functioning skills. Additionally, communication and collaboration are two of Maker Ed’s fundamental values, enabled through Makerspaces.

 

Makerspaces allow learners to practice their social communication skills in a variety of groupings, whether affinity-based or role-specified and teacher-assigned. Lastly, Makerspaces present unique opportunities to generate flow learning and allow the teacher to leverage high-interest projects and activities into learning objectives. Makerspaces allow an educator to differentiate based on affinity, ability, and process because of the flexibility of the model.

 

There are currently three main models of Makerspaces (and Maker Education) in the educational sphere. Classroom-integrated models are small spaces inside a typical school classroom dedicated to making, much like a block-center in a kindergarten classroom. This type of Makerspace models making as an integrated part of life and allows the classroom teacher to deliberately choose the materials, projects, and time commitment which work best for his or her room. The Resource model works in much the opposite way. The Makerspace is housed in a central location, often a library but sometimes its own room, and the classroom teacher can use it as an educational resource for collaboration, curriculum enrichment and high-interest activities. Alternatively, some schools create Makerspaces with specifically designed Maker Education courses. This approach can offer the benefits of the previous models as well as deliver a Maker-centered, STEM-focused curriculum.

 

In all cases, Makerspaces are site-specific, deliberately designed, flexible environments for student Makers to practice their skills. For younger students, one might take the form of an activity center with interesting materials and a selection of safe tools. For older students, a school might invest in an entire classroom setting. Teachers can use Maker projects to incorporate certain TEKS standards or individualize Making for a student to achieve the student’s personal education goals. Makerspaces can be oriented towards:

  • Design: CAD (computer-aided design) and the graphic arts
  • Rapid Prototyping: CNC (computer numerical control) machines, 3D Printing, Laser Cutting, Vinyl Cutting
  • Testing: Motion Capture, Video, Measurement, Mathematical Modeling
  • Communication: Blogging, Assistive Technology, Video Editing, Photography/Video
  • Computer Programming
  • Physical Computing: Robotics , Microcontrollers, Electronics
  • Craft: Woodworking, Cardboard, Textiles, Metalworking, Leather craft, Jewelry

 

A Makerspace can focus on certain aspects of making – for example, rapid prototyping – and then can look into a range of tool options. In rapid prototyping, a 3D printer might be an appropriate measure for older elementary and middle school students, whereas a CNC router would be appropriate for older students. Laser cutters and vinyl cutters operate in a 2D world, whereas a 3D printer creates objects in three dimensions. Educators can scale their tools to fit the needs and educational journeys of their learners.

 

An educator must always be aware of safety considerations when working with tools and materials. While Makerspaces allow for great opportunities, they also present safety challenges. Students should be “checked out” on individual tools, from basic devices like glue guns to the potentially hazardous like powered saws.

 

Making STEM1

 

In the STEAMworks, a Houston, Texas Makerspace designed for students with neurological differences, tool use builds on itself, and a student can’t move up the ladder to more powerful tools until he or she masters the simpler tools. Having multiple tools allows for multiple avenues of success, all based on a student’s developmental readiness. For example, a hand-held coping saw, a powered scroll saw, and a laser cutter can all cut designs into thin plywood. Using a coping saw might be appropriate for a younger student, while an older student may use the scroll saw or a student with physical challenges might use the laser cutter.

 

Hands-on tools, such as the coping saw, are the best for students thinking in concrete terms, while technology-driven tools, such as laser cutters or 3D printers, promote abstract thinking. Choose your Makerspace’s tools and capabilities to promote appropriate learning objectives. A Makerspace provides a wide continuum of capabilities and projects to engage the variety of students it serves.

 

Engineering your room design to take into account all students can be the difference between a welcoming class space and a scary class space. For example, students with neurological differences prefer limited visual distractions. Busy visuals and bulletin boards distract and confuse: stick to safety posters with both text and visuals. Visual cues — such as labels for classroom supplies, stuff storage, etc. — will help to ground students. Break zones — quiet, comfortable spaces — give students a place to calm and center themselves until they’re ready to re-enter the busy academic world. Noise and odor pollution can quickly turn a vibrant workshop into an uncomfortable space. Hearing protection must be offered, and fumes from paints, solvents, and plastics should be minimized.

 

While the term Maker Education might be new, Making has a long pedagogical history. Educators like John Dewey and Maria Montessori recognized the importance of student choice; interesting, concrete materials; and engaging projects. In modern terms, constructivism and project-based learning provide evidence-based research that Maker Education makes a positive impact on our learners.

 

Maker Education is positioned to drive student learning, ownership and engagement through the integration of new technological innovations and intentional development of 21st century skills. Not only does Maker Education artfully support essential learning objectives, it also aligns student experiences with the community’s economic interests in preparing them for technology oriented employment, further education, and workplace innovation.

 

If you wish to learn more about Maker Education in action, Patrick Waters can be found Making online at www.woodshopcowboy.com and @woodshopcowboy on Twitter.

For resources, strategic planning and implementation support, contact Grant Kessler (grant.kessler@esc13.txed.net) at Region 13 Transformation Central Texas STEM Center.

 

Resources:

Makerspace.com, The Makerspace Playbook

Makerspace.com, High School Makerspace Tools & Materials

NYSCI, A Blueprint: Maker Programs for Youth

ALA, Making in the Library Toolkit

Youngmakers.org, Maker Club Playbook

JISC, Designing spaces for effective learning

Invent to Learn by Sylvia Libow Martinez & Gary Stager

The Art of Tinkering by Karen Wilkinson & Mike Petrich

Tinkering by Curt Gabrielson

The Makerspace Workbench by Adam Kemp

DesignMakeTeach.com

Makezine.com & Makershed.com

Instructables.com

Woodshopcowboy.com

#makered & #STEM on Twitter

The “E” in STEM

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Author: German Ramos, Project Coordinator: Transformation Central T-STEM Center

Nowadays, the trend in best practice education is to teach students the process of problem solving rather than the teacher explaining step-by-step how to solve a given problem.  The overall education system faces the monumental challenge of finding practical methods in which problem solving skills and subject content can be combined without neglecting the state mandated objectives.  With the big push in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), it seems that implementing the “E” in STEM is the hardest part of this equation.

The ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) definition of Engineering is: “The profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by study, experience, and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind.”

According to this definition, the knowledge of science and mathematics applied with technology is, in fact, considered engineering.  Educators find themselves confronted with the challenge of being able to provide experiences and allow for practice in addition to delivering the science and mathematics content currently required by the state throughout the school year.  The reality for many is that achieving this ideal balance is time consuming and often resources are scarce.  However, we must keep in mind that engineering provides the opportunity to expose students to science, mathematics, and technology all in one context, even if engineering-based courses are not required by the state.

There are certainly many initiatives for having Engineering in the classroom.  The addition of a few more engineering-based courses is proof of this.  There is still much work that needs to be done in order to more effectively implement these practices into the education system.  The bridge between schools, higher education institutions, and industry is essential to create a vertical alignment of knowledge, skills, and experiences needed by students to be able to succeed in this problem-solving based real world.

To explore how teaching engineering in the classroom may benefit skills future engineers may need, please visit: http://engineeringschools.com/resources/top-10-qualities-of-a-great-engineer

To explore engineering resources for the classroom please visit: http://www.teachengineering.org/

 

List of Various TEA courses that meet/or incorporate engineering standards.

Electricity and Magnetism – Electricity and Magnetism is designed to provide an in-depth introduction to the concepts of electricity and electronics for the student who plans to major in an engineering discipline at the university level. With a concentrated and extended study of electricity and magnetism, the student will be aptly prepared to enter the highly competitive university environment. *

Introduction to Renewable Energy – This course provides the foundation for a deeper understanding of the problems, issues, perspectives, and developments in the areas of bio-fuels, solar and wind energy. A significant focus of the course will be on critical and creative thinking, problem solving, and communication of ideas relating to renewable energy. *

Science and Technology – Science and Technology (SciTech) is a high-level, hands-on science and engineering course. Through self and peer evaluation, SciTech requires students to interact verbally, in writing, and through improving the performance of devices. *

Concepts of Engineering and Technology – Concepts of Engineering and Technology provides an overview of the various fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and their interrelationships. Students will use a variety of computer hardware and software applications to complete assignments and projects. Upon completing this course, students will have an understanding of the various fields and will be able to make informed decisions regarding a coherent sequence of subsequent courses. Further, students will have worked on a design team to develop a product or system. Students will use multiple software applications to prepare and present course assignments. **

Engineering Design and Presentation – Students enrolled in this course will demonstrate knowledge and skills of the process of design as it applies to engineering fields using multiple software applications and tools necessary to produce and present working drawings, solid model renderings, and prototypes. Students will use a variety of computer hardware and software applications to complete assignments and projects. Through implementation of the design process, students will transfer advanced academic skills to component designs. Additionally, students explore career opportunities in engineering, technology, and drafting and what is required to gain and maintain employment in these areas. **

 

* Currently Approved Innovative Courses- Foundation and Enrichment

** Chapter 130 Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Career and Technical Education

Project-Based Learning Will Rock Your Classroom

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Author:  Jennifer Woollven, Instructional Technology Specialist

If your ultimate goal is to help students become critical thinkers, problem-solvers, excellent communicators and collaborators, project-based learning (PBL) can deliver. After spending four years in a full-time PBL environment, I can’t imagine teaching or learning any other way. Witnessing students take ownership of their learning experience, ask good questions, and take on problem-solving outside of the school walls transformed my idea about what the classroom should look like and what my role should be.

The PBL framework is an authentic learning model. Let me explain: when I want to learn something, like how to quilt or cook a brisket, my learning is driven by a need or desire and by the questions that must be answered in order for me to act on my desire. My research will be driven by the questions: What tools will I need? What materials? What steps should I take? What experts can I turn to for help? I may interview people I know who have experience with these things and I will definitely do Internet searches for sites, images, and videos to help me through the process. In the end I will have created a product and I will have learned a great deal through the process. This is PBL – authentic, inquiry-driven by a need-to-know, and the learner doing and creating.

While it is a natural and intuitive process, preparing to implement and manage PBL takes time, energy and support. Building strong projects that are aligned to standards and engaging for students is an intense process. Teachers need the support of each other, administration, and experts to integrate the framework in a meaningful and sustaining way. Whether you are ready to dive in or just dip a toe, the resources below can help you get started.

 

Transformation Central Texas STEM Center

Buck Institute

Edutopia resources

T-STEM Project-Based Learning: Craft a Driving Question

Monday, February 13th, 2012

T-STEM Project-Based Learning:

The Texas High School Project (2010) defines Texas Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Project-Based Learning (T-STEM PBL) as an inquiry-based instructional approach, in a real-world context, where students generate pathways and products that meet defined, standards-based outcomes.  This broad definition outlines the basic tenets of project-based learning that facilitate the integration of STEM and non-STEM disciplines.  Specifically, T-STEM PBL places an emphasis on providing a rigorous learning experience for students by meshing PBL principles with STEM concepts thereby increasing both student engagement and connectedness to real-world STEM issues.

The National Science Foundation (2007) states, “In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy.  To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, all students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past.”  Through the integration of PBL and STEM, students engage in complex problem-solving that allows for multiple solutions while fostering research and collaboration.  Additionally, these authentic tasks allow students to develop skills and technical vocabulary utilized in specific STEM career fields.  The Transformation 2013 T-STEM Center provides PBL support to teachers as they learn to write driving questions that spark interest and propel students through a project.

Craft a Driving Question:

When a teacher begins planning a PBL, knowing the reasons why driving questions are used will assist in developing the right question for a project.  When students ask “Why are we doing this?” or “When will I ever need this?” the rationale for using driving questions becomes apparent:

  • To promote student interest:  The purpose of a driving question is to give students a reason to solve a problem or issue facing them.  Good driving questions will promote student interest and generate excitement for the upcoming tasks.
  • To direct students toward project goals:  Students often do projects without seeing the purpose behind it.  With a driving question students will have clear direction towards the project goals.
  • To address authentic concerns:  Driving questions should address authentic concerns.  How is the material used in the real world?  Select a question that would make the material relevant to the student.

An intriguing driving question is at the heart of an effective project, setting the tone for the entire PBL and focusing on the overarching concept of the PBL.  To consider how the guiding question relates to the real world, take the “big idea” for the project (what students will accomplish) and convert it into a realistic problem-based scenario that an employee might experience in the workplace.  Next, craft this into a problem or question that cannot be easily solved or answered.  It should be open-ended and composed of many parts that students can explore on a variety of levels.  Driving questions should elicit higher-level thinking, and students should be expected to use their critical thinking skills in order to derive an answer to the question.

Driving questions must also be linked to learning objectives so that students are gaining both knowledge and skills as they work towards the project’s answer.  Furthermore, the driving question must emphasize a high level of challenge so that students are not simply walking through review activities, but are fully engaged throughout the process.  Finally, when developing a driving question and PBL lessons, it is important to keep in mind the scope and sequence of both district curricula and the TEKS.

Four types of driving questions
There are four types of driving questions:

1.       Abstract, conceptual:  An abstract driving question is one that is answered by conceptual analysis. These questions are answered through logical argument.  There is no single, correct answer, and it is not easy to answer these questions with a one-word answer.  Students will need to justify their response to these abstract, conceptual questions through a variety of activities.  Examples:

  • What makes a book a classic?
  • When do we grow up?
  • Should art be censored?

2.       Concrete:  A concrete driving question is one that is answered mainly by the analysis of empirical evidence.  Students will need to do research to prove their answer.  In this case, there is a right answer, but there are several ways to approach the answer.  Examples:

  • Why did the dinosaurs become extinct?
  •  Is the water in our town safe to drink?
  • What effect does population growth have on our community?

3.       Problem-Solving:  A problem-solving driving question is answered by offering a reasonable solution.  For a problem-solving question, students have to work together to generate a solution to the problem.  Examples:

  • How can the government use monetary and fiscal policy to address an economic crisis?
  •  How can we create an effective networking system for a corporation?

4.       Design Challenge:  A design challenge driving question is answered by creating and executing a design that effectively meets requirements.  Here, the students are to use the engineering design process to answer the question.  Examples:

  • How can we design a local theatre that meets size limits and seats the most people?
  • How can we design a museum exhibit about World War II so that it appeals to diverse groups in our city?

The development of a driving question is central to the inquiry process and it must be established before deciding on project activities.  Furthermore, the natural outcome of effective project-based learning is a project completely driven by the question or problem statement and facilitated by the teacher.  To obtain more information on PBL and driving questions, view the following videos and contact us via our Transformation 2013 website (www.transformation2013.org).

Videos:

Watershed Project: Craft the Driving Question
http://www.bie.org/videos/video/watershed_project_craft_the_driving_question

The Gender Project: Craft the Driving Question
http://www.bie.org/videos/video/the_gender_project_craft_the_driving_question

References

 

 

Larmer, J., Ross, D., & Mergendoller, J. (2009).  PBLStarter Kit: To-the-point Advice, Tools and Tips for 
Your FirstProject in Middle or High School.  Novato,CA:  Buck Institute for Education.

National Science Foundation (2007) “National Action Plan for Addressing the Critical Needs of the U.S.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education System.” Retrieved February 1, 2012, http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/documents/2007/stem_action.pdf

Texas High School Project (2010).  “Texas Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Academy

Design Blueprint, Rubric, and Glossary.”  Retrieved February 1, 2012,
http://thsp.org/assets/ee/uploads/pdf/TSTEM_design_blueprint_11-15-2010.pdf

STEM: Top 10 Resources

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Transformation 2013 T-STEM Center

http://www.transformation2013.org

Transformation 2013 T-STEM Center is a partnership between ESC Region XIII in Austin and ESC Region 20 in San Antonio. Transformation 2013 T-STEM Center serves central Texas and El Paso T-STEM Academies as well as other schools focusing on innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) instruction. The vision of Transformation 2013 is to provide the highest quality professional development, curriculum, and outreach programs emphasizing hands-on problem-based learning to create superior STEM scholars. Our “Top 10 STEM Resources” are cited below including a summary of each resource and a hyperlink to each full-text document.

1. Bybee, R. W. (2010, September). Advancing STEM Education: A 2020 Vision. The Technology and Engineering Teacher, 70(1), 30-35. http://curriculumreform.wikispaces.com/file/view/Advancing+STEM+Education.pdf

This document details the phases and goals of a decade-long STEM action plan to move STEM education beyond the slogan to make STEM literacy for all students a national priority. Initially, the purpose of STEM literacy must be clarified, and then the challenges to advancing STEM education must be addressed. Furthermore, the STEM curriculum will be advanced by presenting challenges or problems framed in life and work contexts involving STEM to engage students.

2. Fulton, K., & Britton, T. (2011, June). STEM Teachers in Professional Learning Communities: From Good Teachers to Great Teaching. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future: http://www.nctaf.org/documents/NCTAFreportSTEMTeachersinPLCsFromGoodTeacherstoGreatTeaching.pdf

The research compiled in this executive summary is based on a National Science Foundation‐funded project: STEM Teachers in Professional Learning Communities: A Knowledge Synthesis. The NSF Knowledge Synthesis indicates that STEM learning teams have positive effects on STEM teachers and their teaching, and students of teachers participating in STEM professional learning communities achieve higher success in math.

3. Hill, C., Corbett, C., & St. Rose, A. (2010). Why so few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from American Association of University Women: http://www.aauw.org/learn/research/upload/whysofew.pdf

This study was conducted by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) on the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The summary emphasizes practical ways that families, schools and communities can create an environment of encouragement that can overcome negative stereotypes about the capacity of women in these demanding fields.

4. ITEEA. (2003). Advancing Excellence in Technological Literacy: Student Assessment, Professional Development, and Program Standards. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from International Technology and Engineering Educators Association: http://www.iteaconnect.org/TAA/PDFs/AETL.pdf

As a companion document to the Standards for Technological Literacy listed below, this document provides a guideline for implementation of the standards in K-12 classrooms. It details important topics such as student assessment, professional development, and program enhancement, while leaving specific curricular decisions to teachers, schools, districts, and states.

5. ITEEA. (2007). Standards for Technological Literacy. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from International Technology and Engineering Educators Association http://www.iteaconnect.org/TAA/PDFs/xstnd.pdf

The content standards and related benchmarks indicate what all students need to know and be able to do to achieve technological literacy. The Standards for Technological Literacy provide the foundation upon which the study of technology is built.

6. Langdon, D., McKittrick, G., Beede, D., & Doms, M. (2011, July). STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration: http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/default/files/reports/documents/stemfinalyjuly14_1.pdf

Growth in STEM jobs occurred three times as fast as growth in non-STEM jobs in the last ten years and as a result, U.S. businesses are expressing concerns with the availability of STEM workers. STEM occupations are projected to grow 17% between 2008 and 2018 compared to less than 10% growth for non-STEM occupations; therefore, STEM workers will play a significant role in future growth and stability of the United States.

7. Sanders, M. (2009, December/January). STEM, STEM Education, STEMmania. The Technology Teacher, 20-26. http://www.iteaconnect.org/Publications/AAAS/TTT%20STEM%20Article_1.pdf

The origin of STEM, the current status of how integrative STEM education is addressed for teachers and students, and the systematic changes that are needed to approach integrative STEM education are discussed. In a world where the STEM pipeline problem has been widely publicized, this article addresses the question “Why Integrative STEM Education?” rather than conventional STEM education to achieve technological literacy for all.

8. Texas High School Project. (2010, November 15). T-STEM Design Blueprint. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from THSP: http://www.thsp.org/assets/ee/uploads/pdf/TSTEM_design_blueprint_11-15-2010.pdf

Used by T-STEM academies, the T-STEM design blueprint, rubric, and glossary serve as a guideline for building and sustaining STEM schools. The blueprint addresses seven benchmarks: 1) mission driven leadership; 2) school culture and design; 3) student outreach, recruitment, and retention; 4) teacher selection, development and retention; 5) curriculum, instruction, and assessment; 6) strategic alliances; and 7) academy advancement and sustainability.

9. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. (2010, September). Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education in STEM for America’s Future. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from The White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-stemedreport.pdf

The recommendations in this report suggest five priorities that provide a roadmap for achieving our STEM vision: “(1) improve Federal coordination and leadership on STEM education; (2) support the state-led movement to ensure that the Nation adopts a common baseline for what students learn in STEM; (3) cultivate, recruit, and reward STEM teachers that prepare and inspire students; (4) create STEM-related experiences that excite and interest students of all backgrounds; and (5) support states and school districts in their efforts to transform schools into vibrant STEM learning environments.”

10. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development. (2010, March). ESEA Blueprint for Reform. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from United States Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/blueprint.pdf

In providing students a complete world-class education and college and career readiness, we must strengthen STEM instruction and standards. The availability of grants will support the strengthening of state-wide STEM programs, and support districts in identifying effective instructional materials and improving teachers’ knowledge and skills in STEM instruction for all students.


Article by Karissa Poszywak
STEM Specialist
Transformation 2013 T-STEM Center at ESC Region XIII
Email: Karissa.poszywak@esc13.txed.net
Phone: 512-919-5139
Website: www.transformation2013.org

Special thanks to Joules Webb, STEM Specialist at ESC Region 20, for recommending these top ten resources.