Top 5 Articles on STEM Education and PBL

By Maggie O'Brien


Each month, we list news articles on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and project-based learning (PBL) that we find exceptionally inspiring and educational.  Topics range from research reports to feature stories about new STEM and PBL initiatives in schools.  These articles support Defined STEM’s mission of empowering students to build future-ready skills through authentic project-based learning.


Here’s what we liked this month:




Computer Science for All: Can Schools Pull it Off?

Education Week

Alante Klyce wants to be a dancer. Yet here she is, inside a sun-filled classroom at Lindblom Math & Science Academy on the city’s South Side, throwing around tech-industry terms like "ideation" and working with friends to design her first mobile app. It’s all part of the introductory computer-science course that every student in Chicago must now take in order to graduate. “I’m still not really that into technology,” said Klyce, 15. “But this is actually my favorite class now.” This is the promise of the nascent “Computer Science for All” movement: that…read more


Here’s How to Keep a STEM Lesson on Track

Middle Web

The Teacher’s Challenge: Prepare all students to think deeply and creatively so that they can become innovators, educators, researchers, and leaders who solve the pressing challenges facing global societies today. How will teachers prepare students to do that? more


How to Build Curiosity and Critical Thinking Within the Classroom

Education Week

During my global education experience in Brazil, I experienced firsthand the sheer power of curiosity and wonder. My host teacher took me on a day trip to visit an isolated school in the mountains. As the tiny village school came into view, I could see that nine or so classrooms surrounded an open-air square where students with guitars were gathered in a semi-circle to greet us. They sang and strummed, and then their teachers joined us all for a meal….read more….read more


The Six Must-Have Elements of High-Quality Project-Based Learning

KQED MindShift

Elizabeth Vega teaches pre-kindergarten at Loma Verde Elementary in Novato, California. Her school and district leaders want to do more project-based learning and have invested in getting teachers like Vega some training. That means she took one workshop on project-based learning, got excited about the possibilities, and then was sent back to her classroom to try it out. “It sounded all great when they talked us through it,” Vega said, but when she got back to her classroom, and only had her notes for pointers, the whole endeavor became overwhelming …read more


Tips for Project-Based Learning

National Science Teachers Organization

I’ve been using project-based learning (PBL) in my classroom for the past three years, and I love it—most of the time. At first, I struggled with creating strong questions for students to explore, making the product visible to others outside the classroom, such as parents or even experts in the field related to the project, counseling a student group that wasn’t functioning well, knowing when to step in and when to let the kids figure it out, and … well, you get the idea. Then, I realized that teaching is one giant PBL lesson! We, as teachers, are performing the key parts of PBL all the time and, therefore, teachers shouldn’t be afraid to embark on a PBL project or panic if things don’t go as originally planned. If PBL is new to you, here are a few suggestions…read more




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