Discovery Education STEM Connect is structured with a 3-part unit learning path of Challenge, Design and Solve.
Instructional Design of STEM Connect
The units in STEM Connect are based on the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges for Engineering and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, both of which require students to draw upon multiple disciplines to develop solutions.
To address these issues, STEM Connect requires students to use design thinking and the engineering design process to create, prototype, test, refine, and present solutions. The instructional design that supports STEM Connect is organized in three phases: Challenge, Design, and Solve.
In the Challenge phase of STEM Connect, students first encounter a real global issue. They are introduced to the issue by a story.
- In grades K-5, the story comes from the STEM Solution Seekers, a cast of characters that are on a mission to solve the problem.
- In grades 6-8, students are introduced to challenges from real-world STEM Solution Seekers. These are other students who have performed research or designed innovations in the related fields.
In the Design phase of STEM Connect, students are actively building towards a solution. They work together within the project parameters to develop a plan and a prototype solution.
In the Solve stage, students bring together the ideas and knowledge from Challenge and the plans from Design to create a final product or viable solution. The Solve phase begins with a hands-on activity, where students are given the opportunity to focus on process as they work through their solution.