Integrated STEM Plan Workshops at Timberline

This summer, over 170 of our amazing educators in Race to the Top schools are collaborating to create 120 new "Integrated STEM Plans" (ISPs) which utilize our SVVSD unit plans, Tier 1 best practices, other SVVSD resources, and the Understanding by Design framework (Wiggins & McTighue). Their ISPs are being created under the umbrella of SVVSD's STEM by Design model, which outlines 5 elements that can be seen in a STEM classroom.

Made possible by the US Dept of Ed Race to the Top District grant received by St Vrain, this initiative focuses on a number of specific goals. Our primary goal is to increase the level of rigor, engagement, and authenticity in classrooms across the district through challenge-based learning and connections to the local and global community. Basically, we are using STEM instruction to raise the bar, and increase expectations for teaching and learning. Secondly, we are using this opportunity to create a repository of STEM lessons and resources to be accessible by SVVSD educators in order to enhance and better define STEM integrated instruction in our district which is tied to our standards and district-wide unit plans. Secondly, the initiative provides a paid opportunity for our educators to engage in the creation of plans and materials, which will consequently build teacher capacity, confidence, and understanding of STEM integration elements and principles. 

As subscribers to the Stanford d.school's model of Design Thinking, we constantly take ourselves and our products through iteration and feedback. Last summer, we began this initiative and saw both successes and challenges that we could either amplify or improve upon. This summer, we have incorporated an introductory 2-day workshop which introduces our educators to the STEM by Design model, reminds them of the impact and best practices around using design challenges in class, and walks them through the ISP template, adapted from Understanding by Design's unit plan template. These workshops have received great feedback so far, and we are very much looking forward to offering this workshop two more times throughout this summer for participating educators. 

Day Two Outcomes and Agenda: 

Group brainstorms on incorporating 5 elements of STEM in their ISPs: