Beyond STEM Project Based Learning

How a middle school has managed to integrate all subjects to make meaningful project based learning.

Photo of Niranjan Vasireddy
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Big Idea - Beyond STEM PBL - I wanted to share an inspiration that a Middle School in Portland, Maine has done to brilliantly integrate various subjects like, English, Geography, environmental studies and more into this Beyond STEM projects.

I strongly believe the we need to incorporate Beyond STEM PBL projects and make learning more meaningful and interesting.

https://youtu.be/i17F-b5GG94?t=17s


Potential for Impact: - Holistic Learning - Connecting various Subjects and skills - Creativity, Innovation & Better citizens

I think this has a very great potential for fostering deeper learning. When we connect languages to STEM project, children understand the power of communication. Connecting Social Sciences and Social and Environmental impact develops kids to become solution providers than problem complainers. PBL helps build skills for life along with subjects.


Value Pitch: - The future of education is not in smart boards or smart technology, it is in Smart Learning.

A learning which smartly incorporates all of the following: Work on Projects, Connect Subjects, Foster Creativity, Develop Skills, Better Grades and Happy community and results in better grades. This is something that can be done and has been done in Schools like Kings Middle School, in Portland, Maine. The video is a reflection of how kids not only developed new interest in learning but also helped them see the worlds problems in a new way. This method of Beyond STEM PBL makes sure that as teachers, we are able to give back to the society, well trained Solution Providing Citizens of the future.


How would I get this off the ground? - Collaboration

1. Identify quarterly subject specific goals for the class. 

        i.e. Grade 8 - English - Read a Novel, Write a letter to the Senator

2. Collaborate with other teachers and identify Projects that will help achieve above subject based quarterly goals.

3. Involve the community - Community buy in is essential

    Seek volunteers may be from parents/ corporates

    Sponsorship for rewards - 

4. Make it FUN - Gamify the Experience -

     i.e. Have silly rewards like "Flopper Topper" etc. Badges

5. Celebrate the Journey - Not the Destination.

     Team Spotlight of the week


The idea is to keep it simple and not complicate it. It is also important that there is agreement that the project help kids, complete the necessary quarterly goal in learning, so as to be in compliance with curriculum. 

Potential Challenges / Road Blocks.

1. Community Buy In

2. Curriculum compliance


What are the things that you guy see? Do you think this kind of Beyond STEM PBL develops well rounded global citizens?




     



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Photo of Mark Carlucci
Team

PBL is great, check out this, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RElUmGI5gLc, a school unleashed a group of seniors to do their own self directed project.
I think with the right kind of projects and support, students can become very creative and imaginative. Providing students with the freedom to take their control of their learning will give them the opportunity to take risks without fear of failing the class.

Photo of Niranjan Vasireddy
Team

Thank you for sharing the link. I enjoyed viewing it. Transforming education is wicked problem as there is no one right solution. It is about us as a society accepting the fact that we can learn by ourselves. I have seen this myself as a part of our summer camps and workshops. Kids are smarter then we give them credit for. I also believe that they are born curious and want to learn. Many times it is the "System" and or the "ignorant teacher" that get kids from being creative to being compliant. There is a lot for us to do as coaches and adults. First and foremost, I believe, we must undo our own brainwashing and beliefs about what education is as we have been taught. PBL and other ideas should not be looked upon as a silver bullet, but as a small start for us to see and develop new beliefs about how we could educate our children and future global citizens. PBL is very promising and currently seems to be something worth looking into as a part of a new start.

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