STEM SOS is a rigorous, interdisciplinary, standards-focused, and engaging STEM teaching approach that is teacher-facilitated, student-centered and directed through sets of project- and inquiry-based (P&IBL) projects. This new PBL approach is to maintain the focus on standards-based teaching while enriching and extending the learning of students through PBL projects. The goal is to promote not only collaborative skills and student ownership of learning but also to promote student success in state and national standards.
Project Based Learning (PBL) is a constructivist instructional approach where students are engaged in meaningful inquiry of personal interest to them and where collaboration and personalized learning are emphasized. Research confirms that PBL is an effective and enjoyable way to learn and develop deeper learning competencies required for success in college, career and civic life.
Buck Institute of Education
The STEM SOS PBL Showcase is designed to promote and share exemplary student work in PBL projects that can serve as valuable learning and teaching tools for students, parents, teachers, and other educators.
Harmony Public Schools have developed a STEM curriculum that incorporates project-based and inquiry-based learning titled “STEM Students on the Stage (SOS)™” with the Race to the Top grant funded by U.S. Department of Education with the goal of not only increasing students’ STEM knowledge and interest but also balancing student-centered teaching with state and national standards to promote success and investment in the learning process through PBL projects
Students complete one interdisciplinary pbl/stem type project based on math, or science conten for each year. These math or science projects also contain integrated Social Studies and ELA components. Upon completion of project, students present their findings through their e-portfolios as a short presentation video and web content.
With the completion of year long projects, students are designing their brochures with QR codes.
Level III PBL projects are also long term projects that students engage in either individually or in small teams throughout the school year. Level III is a completely student driven process where research and applications are carried out by students without a project handout guide. Students usually work with mentors and sponsors from their communities such as professors, engineers, doctoral students, and STEM industry leaders to support their projects. Level III projects include advanced research projects such as science fairs, advanced STEM challenges such as science Olympiad, and other making and tinkering type projects such as robotics, rocketry, solar car, weather balloon, etc.
Harmony believes that students become actively engaged in STEM, share their work in collaborative and social settings, and shine through presentations, displays, and competitions. The Harmony STEM Share and Shine approach makes STEM engagement socially desirable for students. Through this “Share & Shine” approach, STEM festivals at each Harmony campus have become annual public events to showcase student work and PBL artifacts shared with the entire school community.