Appendix C: Working with STEM Teams
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Organizing your class into STEM teams enables students to explore these sometimes intimidating topics in a non-threatening environment. As students work together, encourage them to share their ideas and content knowledge to solve real-world problems. The goal is to promote inquiry, collaboration, problem-solving and perseverance among all students.
When forming a STEM team, try to include students with a mix of different skills and abilities. Here are some facets to consider:
Individual experience and expertise
Potential team roles
If students are having trouble working as a group—one student is dominating the conversation, students are not engaged in the activity or students are uncertain of how to proceed—assign each student to a specific role. Possible roles are:
Project Manager: The project manager's role is to ensure that everyone in the group participates, stays on task, and has the resources they need to complete their work.
Head Scientist: The head scientist functions as the subject matter expert on birds and their habitats. He or she makes sure the team is following a plan based on sound science.
Technical Lead: When the team needs to work with data or numbers, the technical lead is the one to take charge.
Key Communicator: The key communicator takes the lead on preparing papers and presentations, making sure the team's ideas are fairly represented to the rest of the class.
Regardless of each student's role, all students should be encouraged to share their personal experiences and ideas.