Inspire STEM Students with Project-based Learning

Project-based learning can truly engage and motivate students to dig deeper into the concepts behind hands-on projects. This is especially true in STEM education. A recent study shows that STEM students in project-based learning programs perform better on exams and have higher GPAs than those in more traditional programs.

In particular, project-based learning has been found to be especially effective when it comes to women’s success in STEM education programs. This means the method can help to bridge the gender diversity gap in STEM fields.

A study of graduate students showed that project-based learning led to a significant increase in several skills essential to career success: time management, responsibility, problem solving, self-direction, collaboration, communication, creativity, and work ethic.

These are all great reasons to integrate project-based learning into your STEM courses. But how do you get started?

Simon Monk, Maker and bestselling TAB author, recently sat down with John Rennie, Editorial Director for AccessScience, to talk about how Maker projects can inspire students to learn more about STEM topics.

“The Maker movement… starts with making something, and then they backfill with the theory,” Simon explained. “You can learn an awful lot from a simple project that goes wrong because you want to know why it doesn’t work,” he said. Math, for instance, is “a way of making magical predictions about what’s going to happen in the real world,” according to Simon. Here’s a clip from their conversation.

You can watch the full interview here.

report in the Interdisciplinary Journal of  Problem-Based Learning found that institutional support is critical to the success of these initiatives. Curricula focused on project-based learning along with predesigned projects that cover STEM theory can help make such programs effective.

Download our free AccessScience Maker Project which features step-by-step instructions on creating a laser grid intruder alarm along with links to detailed information on the fundamental physics concepts behind the project.

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