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STEM PBL Units connect learning to community

Pitsco's new curriculum melds STEM and project-based learning for authentic real-life experience

Published October 1, 2020
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PITTSBURG, KS (October 1, 2020) – To engage students in meaningful learning, we need to create opportunities for them to apply their knowledge, creativity, and critical thinking to novel projects. Pitsco Education's new STEM Project-Based Learning (PBL) Units fulfill this need, providing real-life relevance, student empowerment, and personalization and flexibility.

(Printable PDF)

Whole-class STEM PBL Units enable students to make STEM connections locally and regionally by completing STEM projects and corresponding STEM PBL Activators. Students also develop lifelong learning skills and transferable STEM knowledge to move them into a future with technological advancement moving at an unprecedented pace.

Pitsco's STEM PBL framework is student driven and aligns closely with the PBLWorks Gold Standard, the HQPBL, and The Legacy Cycle. However, it is unique in that it is specific to STEM and includes a five-step method utilizing the engineering design process.

“When we developed this STEM PBL framework, we reviewed other leaders in the PBL environment to create a framework that works with any PBL training teachers have had, while placing an emphasis on STEM concepts and content,” explained Pitsco Vice President of Education Matt Frankenbery. “One of the strengths of STEM PBL is that it challenges students to look for projects that can be completed in their community using resources that are available to them. Rather than providing a scripted outcome where all projects look the same, STEM PBL provides open-ended challenges that result in unique, student-driven projects.”

The STEM PBL framework includes:

  •  A STEM Challenge
  •  Authentic Inquiry
  •  Student-Driven Problem-Solving
  • Applied Development
  • Public Engagement

These units provide educators with a concept map to impart foundational knowledge through activity lesson plans in a variety of STEM topics. Teachers can jump-start deeper learning through the provided STEM PBL Activators or create their own program by downloading the STEM PBL Planning Form template available online.

All titles follow a design/redesign structure using the engineering design process. Units can be implemented as stand-alone curriculum or supplement existing curriculum.

Fifteen STEM PBL Unit titles are available, covering four topical areas: Construction, R&D, Green, and Tech.

Teachers ready to get started with STEM PBL have two professional development opportunities:

  • Getting Started with STEM PBL is an e-learning course that provides training on how to implement Pitsco STEM PBL. This course is included with each Activator purchase.
  • Creating STEM PBL enables teachers to develop their own unique STEM PBL based on the Pitsco STEM PBL framework.

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Pitsco Education is the leading provider of hands-on K-12 STEM solutions. STEM education prepares learners for the future through the integration of science, technology, engineering, and math concepts using relevant hands-on applications to connect school, community, and work. Our various products, activities, curriculum, and solutions promote positive learning experiences and continued classroom success.

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“Any time I have asked for help you have responded almost immediately via the phone or in person. Your constant inquiry of our operation, our successes, and our barriers has been crucial in our ability to run the Academy as we have. We could have not done it if it wasn’t with your support.”

– Jairo A Maldonado, EdM, assistant principal, Westfield High School, Houston, Texas

We enable young learners to develop the mind-set, skill set, and tool set needed for future success.

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