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STEM Essentials

STEM Essentials- The Plan

By December 11th, 2023No Comments

So what is the first thing that you need to know to plan a STEM lesson or unit?  There are so many elements that will need to be incorporated, but where to start? The answer is not as clear cut as one might think because there are a couple of things that happen in tandem, so the first essential is: The Plan

STEM units are student-centered and teacher facilitated.  As a result,  they need to be meticulously planned.  The vast majority of planning for a STEM unit takes place prior to the unit even beginning.  So, all the pieces need to be in place so that students will have all of the tools and resources they need in order to be successful.

The Plan involves selecting a unit or group of curriculum strands that you already teach to use as a basis for your STEM unit.  You might select a core unit for your grade level, a group of standards that your students have difficulty with, or even a group of standards that you students find just dead boring.  However you decide, you’ll want to make sure that you can make a connection from these standards to a real life issue or problem.

Once you have turned these ideas around in your head, it’s time to think of what exactly the challenge will be.  The challenge is a one-sentence (usually) statement that defines the problem for students:

Design, construct and test a laser tag game prototype system that uses a
system of mirrors and lenses to direct light through a simple maze to strike targets.
(example from Ohio Department of Education)

Now that you have laid the the basic plan by  selecting your topic and curriculum,  you can continue to flesh out the standards you will use and work to specify your challenge statement so that it is clear for students.

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