How do you know if an experiment is actually valid? With so many projects, games, and lessons using the “STEM” label, telling the real thing from the wannabes can be tricky. But our newest infographic is here to help.
Just because something requires assembly, science, and technology doesn’t mean it qualifies as a true STEM project. In fact, there are some important differences between a real STEM project and one that doesn’t quite fit the definition.
What is a True STEM Project?
STEM – which we know is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – has become the shorthand way to describe a type of learning experience found in many homes and classrooms.
There’s a reason so many parents, teachers, and kids have been so excited about STEM. When a true STEM project takes place, young learners have ample opportunity to explore, find connections between data, and learn why a process-driven approach is so important.
For teachers, true STEM projects mean alignment with national and local learning standards. This helps satisfy curriculum requirements and product knowledge transfer among students.
Fake “STEM”, on the other hand, doesn’t deliver on these promises. Sure, students may build something. Or they may use technology. But at the end of the project, they’re left with a clear feeling of, “So, now what?”
When you’re planning your next activity for your kid, check out our handy checklist below and see for yourself whether it’s true STEM (and likely to inspire learning) or flawed STEM (possibly fun but empty).
For examples of true STEM projects, check out our Lessons. All 120+ lessons are based in learning standards. They’re carefully designed to promote innovation, design & engineering, process, and continuous learning.
Our Lessons are the perfect way for your child or students to spend an afternoon (or a long winter break). Learn more and subscribe for instant access here.