STEM Innovation Grant Newsletter

February, 2016

Celebrating Continued Success in 2016!

With our first semester of STEM focused PBL implementation under our belts, we are excited to see the continuation of this great work in 2016! Your dedication to this work will yield unparalleled success for our students. You are truly transforming the learning experience to accelerate achievement in math and science.

Viewpoint on PBL - What Students Say

by Miles, Gaby, Ethan, Lauren, Madison and Aiden

Students from Novi Community Schools District, Michigan


"What we do we have in common? We were really lucky to have Project Based Learning teachers. Some of us are still in Project Based Learning classrooms and love it. Some of us have moved to more traditional classrooms. (It’s different. We like our teachers but miss PBL.)


Individually, we answered a simple question 'Why do you like PBL?' "


Read more by clicking the link below . . .

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Spotlight on the Gold Standard PBL Essential Design Elements: Challenging Problem or Question

John Larmer

Editor in Chief, Buck Institute for Education


"At the top of the diagram of the Essential Project Design Elements in BIE’s model of Gold Standard Project Based Learning is “Challenging Problem or Question.” That element is on top because it’s the seed from which a project grows; it’s what the project is “about” if you sum it up."


Click below to read more!

Visiting the Professional Development Lab Schools - STEM PBL in Action!

PDLS site visits are incredible opportunities to see STEM focused PBL in action with students. Many thanks to the teachers at Mulberry Elementary, Duluth Middle and Peachtree Ridge High Schools for their willingness to share strategies, lessons learned and implementation plans.


Described by visitors as the most effective and practical professional learning experience they have attended, the site visits are unique opportunities to observe not only your grade level or course, but to observe other grade levels and grade bands to understand the vertical alignment and progression of this important work. Please contact your STEM administrator for registration information.


Mulberry Elementary School

Wednesday, February 10th 9:30 - 11:30 (Kindergarten)

Wednesday, February 10th 12:00 - 2:00 (1st Grade)

Thursday, March 3rd 9:00 - 11:00 (2nd Grade)

Thursday, March 3rd 12:45 - 2:45 (4th Grade)


Peachtree Ridge High School

Thursday, February 4th 11:00 – 1:30

Thursday, February 18th 8:00 - 10:30


Stay tuned for future visitation dates at our professional development lab schools.

And the STEMMY PBL Award goes to . . .

These teachers were nominated by their colleagues in recognition of their exemplary work implementing STEM focused project based learning. Congratulations to these transformational teachers!



Irene Donahue, Peachtree Ridge High School


"Irene is creatively addressing the AKS and instructional calendar to prepare her Algebra students for the EOC! By creating a year-long statistics PBL project, Irene has not only ensured that her students will have the required content knowledge, but has provided the students a relevant and engaging way to see how statistics play a part in their high school and post secondary careers."



Tanya Downs and Hyun Jin Son, Peachtree Ridge High School


"Tanya and Hyun Jin make the Physics and PreCalculus connection come alive in their classrooms. Their PBL units reinforce concepts in both classes and allow students to learn higher level math and science through authentic, real world contexts. "



Penny Petty, North Gwinnett Middle School


"Penny was working on a great activity for plate tectonics! Her students were using code to create their own plate tectonics animations!"

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Do you know a teacher who is implementing exemplary STEM focused PBL? A teacher who has transformed instruction in their classroom and engages students in active learning? Nominate them for the STEMMY PBL Award!


These monthly awards will be given to a teacher at each level to recognize excellence in Math and Science content integration. What better way to honor the work of a colleague?