Top 5 STEM Education Articles of April

By Maggie O'Brien


Each month, we list 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:


Preserving the Early Excitement of STEAM


STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math) encourages investigation, hands-on learning, and creativity and incorporates interdisciplinary learning.I often say that STEAM education happens the most in early childhood, and has been for decades: Young students often gather for circle time and begin their day with songs that focus on academic content. Walls are covered with art that students have produced to learn about shapes, colors, or sight words. Read more...


STEAM Education Makes Our Students Better Risk-Takers. Here’s Why.

We Are Teachers

Teri Gilbert has taught everything from old school word processing to home economics at Jordan Middle School. It wasn’t until three years ago when she began teaching a computer creation class for seventh and eighth graders that her focus—and passion—turned to STEAM education.  Read more...


I Was a Bad Student Who Became an Astronaut. Let’s Stop Telling People They Can’t Be Good at Science


Since I’ve returned from spending a year in space, I’ve been traveling the world sharing my experiences. I’ve been surprised by one of the things I’ve heard from audiences: that they believe science is too difficult, too complex for a normal person to comprehend. Apparently, over one-third of the world thinks I’m a genius, because according to the 3M State of Science Index, 36% of people around the globe think you need to be a genius in order to have a career in science. I’m here to tell you that’s not true.  Read more…


PBL with a Purpose

THE Journal

In Loudoun County, VA, kindergarten students designed the games and toys used to stimulate the minds of orangutans in a zoo halfway across the country. Middle school students secured a historical marker for a local landmark that was instrumental to African American history. And high school students advised state leaders how they could use de-icing materials on roads and bridges that are less harmful to the environment. Read more…


A tale of two competency-based districts

eSchool News

Districts around the country are moving away from teaching models based on lectures and textbooks—but transition isn’t always simple. Creating a competency-based or mastery-based environment requires re-thinking everything, including teaching methods, assessments, and how to best prepare students for life after school. Both Kankakee Public Schools in Illinois and Naugatuck Public Schools in Connecticut are making the shift to competency-based learning, and have had their share of challenges along the way. Here, administrators from the two districts chart their journey and reflect on the importance that project-based learning (PBL) has in preparing students for college and careers. Read more...



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