STEM projects can create relevant learning experiences by encouraging students to explore local problems within their community, while practicing cross-curricular skills. For instance, a science teacher may propose a STEM project centered on investigating and developing solutions related to a local invasive species affecting their local environment. Students can conduct research, propose solutions, and develop criteria for testing their proposed solutions. While these project steps are related to a scientific process, they also require students to practice reading, writing, and math skills and ultimately, make a difference in their community.
One great way to make a clear cross-curricular connection is by proposing, generating, and testing solutions found in novels or historical events that are being studied in English Language Arts or Social Studies class. The novel A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park could certainly lead to a STEM project after reading and discussing the novel Students can investigate and develop solutions that ensure access to water for all communities, which aligns to the content of the novel, a social/community application, and a scientific study. All great makings of a STEM project!