STEM & PBL @ Rolesville High School

Inquiry, Creativity, and Student Ownership

Welcome Back!

Greetings RHS Faculty,

This year as a RAM Family we will embark on the mission of becoming a fully immersed STEM School that actively engages RHS students through Project Based Learning and Strategies That Engage Minds. In our first year we began to venture into these areas with limited exposure and introduction. However this year, we as a faculty will dive head first into learning what STEM Education, Project Based Learning, and the 5E Instructional model are and begin with the implementation stages. We know there are many questions, concerns, and comments that you may have about the transition from where we were last year to where we will go this year. We would ask that you begin organizing your thoughts to share with us as we go through this process of Professional Development starting Monday, August 18, 2014.

In preparation for that meeting we would like for you to write down your questions, pre-read the article attached The 8 Elements of Project Based Learning, and begin a list of project ideas for the classes you will teach this fall using the “Initial Project Brainstorming” chart also attached. To promote uniformity, everyone should think about their favorite unit, topic, and/or Essential Standard that they will be teaching in the 2nd quarter of the first semester. We will explain why this matters during our time together Monday and Wednesday of next week. Note: This is purely a brainstorming activity so don’t limit yourself to just one project idea. Challenge yourself by asking what will my students not see related to the topic we will be learning about? What ideas and questions will arise from students… and yourself concerning the topic? It is essential to positive Professional Development that you participate in this PRE-Activity so we can all actively participate in learning on Monday.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that as teachers, we are all learners at heart. Standards may change, methods are sometimes renamed, and educational philosophies & policies are always evolving. However, we adapt and overcome to be the best educators we can be because that’s what we are, the best. Get some rest this weekend and prepare your mind to be challenged and engaged in the coming week!

p.s. Watch this video on youtube: We will talk about it next week!

Kind regards,


Ms. G, Mr. Smetana, & Mr. Balmer


The 8 Essentials of PBL

  1. Significant Content
  2. Need to Know
  3. Driving Question
  4. Voice & Choice
  5. Inquiry & Innovation
  6. 21st Century Skills
  7. Public/Authentic Audience
  8. Revision & Reflection

PBL Timeline for RHS

Year One: Pilot

Objectives: Semester One

  • All Classes develop and implement at least ONE PBL Unit in the first semester.
  • PBL Check Point Days will help Teachers with PBL Professional Development
  • PBL Unit is DUE (uploaded to shared drive) by October 29th
  • Required implementation by Nov. 7th – Dec. 19th
  • 2nd Evaluation will be PBL focused


  • 1st Quarter: Plan
  • 2nd Quarter: Implement
  • 3rd Quarter Review & Revise
  • 4th Quarter: Reintroduce

We will cover STEM Principles and PBL Checkpoints

  1. September 5th:
    1. STEM Principle: Integrating STEM Curriculum
    2. PBL Check Point: First page of the “Project Overview” Completed (Content Standards, Project Idea, Driving Question, & Entry Event)
  2. October 17th:
    1. STEM Principle: On-going Community and Industry Engagement
    2. PBL Check Point: Completed “Project Teaching & Learning Guide”
  3. November 7th:
    1. STEM Principle: Connections with Postsecondary Education
    2. PBL Check Point: Completed “Project Overview”

North Carolina Educator Evaluation System (NCEES)

  1. 1st Evaluation: Traditional/Video (Depending on Evaluator)
  2. 2nd Evaluation: Video Evaluations (PBL Unit)
    1. Videoing must be done 11/7 – 12/19 45 min
    2. Video Due no later than 1/9/2015 (Uploaded to the Shared Drive/youtube)
      1. Film the Process, ideally the “In Depth Inquiry” Stage of the PBL Unit that you are developing.
      2. You aren’t filming the Product.
  3. 3rd and/or Final Evaluation: Traditional/Video (Depending on Evaluator)