This unit was designed as a way to incorporate STEM into a more traditional Science Fair model with connections to STEM careers. Students are encouraged to choose a topic that they are deeply interested in and they learn how to connect scientific thinking to concepts outside of science class. They are also introduced to future STEM careers and community resources. The unit is directly aligned to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Common Core.
In order to help students achieve their best work, following is a list of suggested activities, teaching points, and resources to cover before, during, and after the STEM Fair unit. Initially, students are taught about the scientific method and complete activities to internalize the fluidity of the steps of the method. I teach this at the very beginning of the school year and revisit it throughout the year. After working on the scientific method and learning more about STEM as a concept, students delve into learning about STEM as a career path. Finally, students complete the STEM Fair later in the school year. Students conclude the unit with a final essay assessment of their own learning, their level of understanding, and address their work engagement.
I assign the STEM Fair in mid-January and begin discussing it with students. Students complete one assignment every week or two, turn it in via Google Classroom, and then culminate in a STEM Fair in late April. By spreading out the assignments and the work, we are able to continue our other work in science class while completing the STEM Fair work concurrently. As a wrap-up for the STEM Fair, students assess their own work, understanding, and areas of necessary growth.
At the end of the packet is final information regarding how to conclude the unit and wrap-up students’ presentations.