Fake STEM vs True STEM

Can you tell a fake STEM project from a true STEM project? Use this handy checklist as a reference.

Start-to-finish instructions or restrictive materials
ensure projects turn out essentially the same.
Projects turn out unique. They are constantly evolving
through the design & engineering process.
Projects are often completed with little-to-no
understanding of the math, science or engineering
that makes them work.
Projects include labs & processes that grow student
understanding (math, science, engineering concepts) to a
level where they can deliberately create something new.
Data is not used to evaluate or engineer designs, nor is
the scientific method. Construction materials may not
allow for precise or accurate (usable) data.

Data is used to evaluate & engineer designs.
Construction methods allow designs to have consistent
& precise (usable) data. Students have “now-I-get-it”
moments when they see how & why the concepts are used.
Projects are selected & driven by the novelty of the
finished product (what can be shown off).
Projects are selected, and driven by, what kids get out of it
(such as experience, knowledge, inspiration).
Projects offer few curricular connections or standards
alignment. They often serve as a distraction from
academic achievement.
Projects are curricular and standards aligned. They
enable students to apply academic knowledge at
higher cognitive domains.

Once built, students are “done”.                       

Students use every available minute to evolve their designs.


Download the STEM Check List

STEM Check - PDF