In this series, we’ve been investigating how to best plan a STEM unit.
Although this is a student component and not a teacher component as we’ve been discussing, it’s an important component. After students generate a list of possible ideas, how should they determine which one is the best one to use? Most student groups are likely to take a vote, flip a coin, or even come to a deadlock if no one wants to budge from their own idea. Arming students with best-practice ways to make decisions is key and will help them with the project at hand as well as with life decisions.
One strategy that students can use to help make decisions is is simple Pro/Con Chart. Requiring students to write down pros and cons will help them to clarify their idea more fully and communicate their data through writing.
Another great strategy is a Decision Matrix. In this model, students are asked to think through their top ideas by answering key questions that will help them to determine which idea is the best solution.
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Lane specializes in STEM education, curriculum design and professional development and makes teachers’ lives easier through innovative, standards-based STEM lessons.