What does STEM instruction look like at your school? If you’re not sure that you’re making the most of opportunities for cross-curricular exploration, you’ll want to check out Defined STEM. Their mission is to inspire and empower students while preparing them for the skills needed in the classroom and beyond. Their robust library of STEM projects and tasks is worth exploring!
Last month I visited Chicago to attend and present at ISTE’s annual conference. I had the chance to sit down with the team at Defined STEM. They gave me a tour of the fantastic tool they have created for teachers and students.
STEM Instruction Reimagined
Defined STEM provides the resources teachers need to easily and purposefully connect students with cross-curricular project-based lessons. Students can open up the Defined STEM platform and access activities chosen by their teachers. Their units are standards-aligned and include a wide range of high-interest topics.
If you’re a regular follower of the blog, or you’ve heard me speak at events list ISTE, you may know a bit about my background. As a New York City public school teacher, I taught at a magnet school and helped develop a thematic curriculum for my grade level. When I sat down with the folks at Defined STEM, I knew our goals were totally aligned. They are passionate about providing high-quality, high-interest learning experiences for students with strong interdisciplinary connections.
Defined STEM Platform
When you log into the Defined STEM platform, you can search for performance tasks from PreK through 12th grade. In addition to searching through these authentic assessments by grade-level or topic, you can also search for content aligned to specific national and state standards. This list includes the Common Core Standards and the Next Gen Science Standards.
Although there is a lot of content for you to explore, teachers can create their own, and customize existing performance tasks. There are also hundreds of videos that help demonstrate to students the real-world STEM connections to their classroom. As a teacher, you’ll also find video resources to support your own professional learning. If you’re not exactly sure which performance task is the best fit for your class, Defined STEM also has a special section for Curriculum Unit Suggestions.
STEM Projects for Students
In my book, Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom, I discuss the importance of thoughtful task development. The team at Defined STEM are committed to this too. Their framework follows the Understanding by Design Model by Jay McTighe. The folks at Defined STEM want to empower teachers with a purposeful planning process and clear structure to make sure the implementation of project-based learning is effective.
Once you log in to Defined STEM, you can locate a lesson, like the one shown here. You can preview the content, make customizations for your students and then assign the task. There is a long list of options to choose from once you open up the platform. I encourage you to take a look through their content and also think about your student interests.
Ready to get started? Head over to Defined STEM’s website to learn more!