Activities You Can Use
We’ve designed the following two STEM-focused lesson plans to be problem- and project-based, culturally responsive, equitable, and inclusive for every student.
- The lesson plans follows the 5E Model of Instruction with five phases: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate.
- The constructivist learning exercises are student-focused, engaging students in curiosity-driven inquiry, hands-on activities, and career investigation.
- Each file includes student handouts and teacher slides.
- You can adapt the lessons for students in grades 3 to 12 by integrating appropriate science and math concepts and tasks.
Heat Island PBL
Buildings, cars, and concrete, oh my! As populations increase and cities expand, green spaces shrink. We need green spaces to absorb stormwater and reduce the heat swells in cities. An urban heat island occurs when a city experiences much warmer temperatures than nearby rural areas. The difference in temperature between urban and less-developed rural areas is dependent on how well the surfaces in each environment absorb and hold heat. This effect impacts air quality and, ultimately, people’s health. In this PBL, students learn about urban heat islands and ways to reduce heat, such as green roofs, and then choose a project to both acquire and apply new knowledge.
Plastic Pollution PBL
Plastic is everywhere, and we often use it and toss it without thinking twice. However, most plastics are not biodegradable. Plastics in our landfills last hundreds of years and filter dangerous chemicals into our groundwater. Many plastics aren’t disposed of and travel through streams and rivers into our oceans, harming wildlife. Over time, plastics break down into ever smaller pieces, known as microplastics. People inhale microplastics through the air, consume them through food and water, and even absorb them through the skin. Plastic pollution affects everyone, but vulnerable populations are at greater risk. Recycling can help reduce plastic production and plastic waste, but it isn’t enough! In this PBL, students learn about the life cycle of plastics and the impact of plastic pollution and then choose a project to both acquire and apply new knowledge.
Presenters, do your sessions align with the work we have done together? It is important that your presentions reflect the values and principles we’ve taught you all along. As a reminder, the following resources are the essential documents that summarize our expectations.