Month: September 2015

Engaging Students in STEM: Engineering Design Process

In staying with the current trend on STEM Notebooks and their importance in developing young researchers, thinkers and problem solvers, I wanted to write a post on the Engineering Design Process.

In the world of STEM, the Engineering Design Process is a cornerstone, yet when students are asked about it, they generally mix it up with the Scientific Process and think that they are the same thing.  This also happens commonly when teachers ask students to do science fair projects.  A lot of the time these seemingly innocent projects end up being engineering projects instead (which, for clarification, is not a bad thing!).

To help students to best learn or review this process, I like to use a foldable to help.  This Engineering Design Process foldable gets cut, folded and glued into students’ STEM Notebooks and is there throughout the year to help guide them through the process of identifying, selecting, creating and refining.

Get the Engaging Students in STEM Bundle Pack including the Engineering Design Process and the Engineering Design Process Foldable!


Engaging Students in STEM: Notebook Rubrics

When using STEM Notebooks, it’s a good idea to have a rubric for students so that they know and understand the expectations for their notebooks.  Depending on the grade level you teach and/or how structured you want to make the notebooks, you might choose a general rubric rubric or a more detailed one.

A general STEM Notebook rubric is easier to create since it is not divided into multiple categories. It lists for student the basic expectations that their notebooks need to meet and makes them easy to grade since the expectations are more general.  This type of rubric is ideal if you’re new at using STEM notebooks or if your students are not used to using rubrics.

A detailed STEM Notebook rubric is much more specific in that each element is divided out and assessed on its own (rather than the one above where everything is lumped into one general sort of category).  This rubric definitely takes more time to grade, but shows students exactly what areas they need to address.   Its also more precise in determining a grade since assessing each category makes it less subjective.  This type of rubric is ideal if you (and your students) are experienced with using rubrics.

Both of these rubrics share common elements and are designed for students to glue them into their STEM Notebooks. They each also compliment each other so that teachers have the ability to start with the general rubric and move to the more detailed rubric as as students become more familiar with the rubric expectations.

Get the Engaging Students in STEM Bundle Pack including the Basic and Detailed Interactive STEM Notebook Pages!


Engaging Students in STEM: STEM Notebooks

If you know me, you know that I am a huge fan of Interactive STEM Notebooks and will take just about any opportunity to write about them and sing their praises.  Aside from being an efficient way to conduct formative assessments, these notebooks help to stretch student thinking (and learning).

If you’ve never used them before in your classroom, STEM Notebooks are a practical way to encourage students to take charge of their learning.  Depending on the teacher, these notebooks can be used for many things- class notes, labs, diagrams, vocabulary, etc- but no matter what their contents, at their core they are used for students to process and reflect upon what they have learned (and as a side benefit, provide a great class-wide organization tool).  This active participation and demonstration of process, amplified in the NGSS, encourages students to work towards becoming better problem solvers.

Implementing STEM Notebooks in your classroom might seem overwhelming, but they pay dividends when they provide a study tool for students and an formative assessment tool for you.

Get Interactive STEM Notebook pages with the Interactive STEM Notebook Bundle!


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