So you’re ready to start a STEM program at your school, where do you begin? First, check out our programs including the STEM Leaders Academy for principals/administrators and our trainings in Common Core-aligned literacy/math teaching methods.
Need something faster? In just 3-4 weeks, you can organize your own design challenge to get teachers and students thinking with a STEM mindset.
Here’s a quick guide to how one school we worked with organized their very first design challenge. The tips come straight from Aimee Kennedy, Battelle‘s Vice-President for Education, Philanthropy and STEM Learning and a former principal.
Step 1: Determining Design Challenge focus
Two topics presented to Staff as options for 2nd semester Design Challenges:
- The Millennium Development Goals with a student exhibition in March
- The Olympics, with student exhibitions in May
Step 2: Dividing into Design Teams
- Each Staff member came to staff meeting prepared to answer:
- For each Design Challenge Topic, something students could create or produce that is relevant to my content and the Design Challenge Context is:
- *instead of—not in addition to
- A way that at least two other content areas could tie into my proposed products is:
- Each teacher individually decided on ONE of the two design groups
- Fishbowl protocol for both design groups—lots of accountability; little risk
Step 3: Teacher Design Team Planning Targets
After Fishbowl protocols, teachers finalized design team choice; goals for each group for the following week
- Finalize student product(s)
- Draft a Rubric for student product(s) for exhibition
- Plan the logistics of exhibition—outside evaluators
- Back-map calendar for each working group’s content classes—who is covering what and when
- Plan Hook activity
Your turn: What will your school do?
Got a great idea for a first design challenge? Just leave it in the comments below and help other schools do more with STEM.