STEM and project-based learning

Project-based learning provides an opportunity for real world connections to be made and contexts explored within the four disciplines of STEM. Project expectations are made at the start of the project and are revisited with checkpoints for understanding using a range of assessment strategies. Students have models and guidelines for high quality work and know what is expected of them to successfully complete the project. Opportunities for reflection, feedback, and modifications are provided through various stages in the project. Technology is used in a range of ways to enhance and promote student learning and deepen understanding. Projects pose important questions for students to think about and inquiries for students to explore. Students engage in critical and creative thinking as they solve the problem presented. Teachers play a crucial role in framing questions and guiding students to think and frame their thoughts and devise possible solutions as they work mathematically, scientifically and technologically to solve problems which present themselves.

A major consideration when planning projects is catering for the learning needs of all students. Students learn best by making connections, designing, building, testing, evaluating and modifying designs until the project outcomes are achieved. Throughout this process students are actively engaging in critical and creative thinking. They engage in active problem solving by gathering data to inform planning, when they conduct investigations, designing or through the development of prototypes and solutions. They leverage digital technologies throughout the project in communicating findings, solving problems, and assisting with the collation and analysis of data.

Project-Based Learning toolkit

NSW Department of Education Futures Learning has released a Project-Based Learning toolkit comprising 4 sections:

  • Introducing PBL
  • Developing the project experience
  • Implementing the project
  • Key practices that support PBL

This toolkit is a guide and aims to help teachers who are new to PBL gain an understanding of the steps and strategies that can be used to implement it effectively.

See: Project-Based Learning toolkit

Project Based Learning - Dan Rytmeister