Friday, November 20, 2015

Adding Inquiry using Defined STEM!

Adding inquiry and STEM activities into the content areas has been a priority for Angela and I since the beginning of our journey together. Some of the most memorable moments with our students involve inquiry and their voice and choice.

This year, our school was fortunate enough to subscribe to Defined STEM. Defined STEM offers a variety of resources, across all standards and subjects, with their subscription. These performance tasks present students with real-world problem solving around a specific career or industry. The performance tasks are inquiry based, and typically tackled in a small group. Defined STEM uses the G.R.A.S.P. Model to introduce their performance tasks.
Every aspect of the project/performance task is completely customizable. The subscription allows you to edit tasks, products, upload additional docs, videos, and/or links. Rubrics are included for each task, and those are also editable. You can even upload your own rubric. Once changes have been made to a performance task, you can share it with a colleague and your students. When given a link, they can easily access the student version!

Many of the classrooms at our school are implementing these performance tasks across subject areas. A STEM committee met last summer to look at ways we could embed this amazing resource into our already existing science units. The cross grade level conversations were empowering, and helped many of us get a better grasp on the website and all it has to offer.

After customizing the performance task and rubrics to best meet the needs of our students, I created additional materials that would support them during their product creation. I could easily link these docs directly to the online performance task so that ALL necessary materials are embedded right in the website link sent to students! I also created a PACING GUIDE to help us, as teachers, plan the inquiry project, AND to help our students use their class time wisely. Although many of our students are working on Genius Hour projects right now, this is our first inquiry group project. Angela and I felt the pacing guide would help keep them on track, and divvy up the product tasks.
For our first performance task, our students will be creating a SUPERSTAR MUSICAL GROUP! They will be working in their inquiry groups to problem solve and apply the knowledge they learned during their Physics of Sound unit. We introduced the performance task to the students today and they will be meeting with their inquiry group next week. We promise to post pictures of their progress over the next few weeks! 

~ Kate

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