Connecting PBL and STEM… 40 Free Engaging Resources To Use In The Classroom

Welcome to one of my most resource-filled posts ever!  One that is dedicated to highlighting some amazing free resources that will help support STEM-based PBL in the classroom .  Before introducing this goldmine of resources… I want to  thank you for continuing to return and for continuing to share this blog with others. If you haven’t subscribed, please take a moment to do so. You will be guaranteed future posts by subscribing by either RSS or email. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter at mjgormans. I really do enjoy  networking with all of you! Now… on to  that goldmine I promised you. Have a great week!

Entire PBL 

The sites below are considered to be great resources that provide ideas or blueprints for an entire PBL project. Included in most plans are project titles, content addressed, 21st century skills, driving questions, products, procedures, and evaluation. The resources in this collection tend to focus on the entire PBL process. – The people at the BUCK  Institute For Education have a great area where you can search for activities and projects already made. Note how many projects include both math and science. Want an extra bonus? Include the arts and make STEAM!

Teach 21 – The educators in the state of West Virginia at Global 21 have provided this amazing PBL site. Just pick a grade level and subject area. You will find projects that encompass the STEM areas.

Learning Reviews – The PBL portion of this site provides some outstanding links to web resources that cover science, math, engineering and technology. You will find grade levels along with the number of resources supplied.

Real Wold Math PBL – Small selection of projects based on math skills.

Math Matter Geometry – Selection of 10 Geometry projects developed in Indiana and hosted by Indiana University.

Math Matter Algebra 1 – Selection of about 20 Algebra 1 Projects from Math Matters at Indiana University designed for middle school.

Math Matters Algebra 2 – Selection of over 20 Algebra 2 Projects from Math Matters at Indiana University designed for high school.

iEarn – Projects based on contemporary issues with an emphasis towards collaboration beyond your district, state, and of high schools.

High Tech High School – Seven projects that have been successful at this PBL based school.

National Service Learning Clearing House – Hundreds of ideas. While not all may be PBL… they could sure be remixed to have all the components!

Exemplary Projects – While there are not a lot of projects… there are some cool ideas.

Foundation Components  PBL 

The following sites could be used as a foundation to build a PBL unit. Perhaps you’ll just want to use a portion of the site for a product, lesson, lecture, video, simulation, or activity in a new or existing PBL unit. While many focus on competition… remember that you do not have to compete., although it could be fun. Look at it as a giant smorgasbord of resources ready to be served up in building a STEM based PBL unit.

Siemens We Can Change The World Challenge – Great site loaded with resources, standards, and ideas. Either compete or just use the resources that are provided. Applicable to all levels of K-12 education.

Kids Science Challenge – Awesome and inspiring challenges involving bio-designed scientific inventions, sports on Mars, and detective science. Be sure to check out the great podcasts listed in Pulse of the Planet.

Young Scientists Challenge – Great resource for students in  K-8. Lessons, multi-media, and other materials that can be incorporated into PBL units.

National Engineer Week: Future City – Great Project Based Learning Activity incorporating STEAM along with Language Arts and Social Studies. Engage students with Sim City Software, model building, and a new curriculum designed to integrate disciplines.

The Jason Project – Wow, what an awesome set of free digital curricula filled with multi-media, simulations, readings, class activities, and projects! Check out that roller coaster simulation just to name one!

Siemens Discovery STEM Academy – Vast amount of lessons, multimedia and activities, along with webinars, that are some of the finest for both student learning and teacher professional development.

eGFI Dream Up The Future – A huge database that will engage students with its colorful and student centered interface. Make sure to check all the links, including all the STEM resources found in the Teacher Resource area.

NSF Resources For STEM Education – A great collection of teacher resources, instructional materials, assessment, and up-to-date research regarding STEM.

PBS STEM Education Resources Center – Great information from PBS including engaging lessons, activities, and of course those award winning PBS videos.

NSDL – The National Science Digital Library has some outstanding resource that include numerous links to some great STEM programs and organizations.

Design Squad Nation – Another great service from PBS filled with some entertaining and engaging ways to integrate STEM into any classroom.

Museum of Science – Great database to search for lessons and ideas involving science, math, engineering from one of the finest science museums located in Boston.

Discover Engineering – Let your students discover engineering in some very exciting and engaging ways. From skateboards to roller coasters the activities and videos will bring you back for more.

ACSEville – The civil engineers at ASCEville have some amazing simulations, games, and adventures for your students. Have you ever built a gum drop dome or a paper bridge? Check it out… you may not want to leave!

Google Science Fair – How about a virtual science fair that can go beyond your classroom, district, state, and even nation? This is an event that will turn on the 21st century skills and the new common core!

KhanAcademy – Ready to flip the STEM classroom? Then check out these thousands of videos from Khan! Every area of Science and Math can be explored in short informative video clips. Either do a total flip or just reinforce skills in a short student controlled lesson.

TeachersDomain – Want to continue doing a flip? Then visit this site from WGBH, a PBS station in Boston. You will find videos, activities, and simulations! Best of all, you can archive it in your own classroom at the Teachers Domain Site.

PBS Teachers – Brand new site filled with lots of resources and videos. Search by grade level and curriculum area. Teachers can create an online classroom filled with outstanding and engaging material.

Wolframalpha – Not your typical search engine. This is a computational search engine that is a plus for any STEM educator. It is easy to use and its ability to find data is just plain fun!

Ciese– Dedicated to improving K-16 STEM education through the meaningful and effective integration of technology, CIESE fosters the use of research-based instructional methodologies and technologies to improve and pioneer novel technologies to explore and better understand their impact on improved education and society.

My Science Box– At My Science Box you’ll find complete, scaffolded lesson plans to teach a 4-6 week middle school science unit through activities, projects, and field trips.

Cases Online – A collection of inquiry-based lessons to engage exploring the science behind real-world problems. Promotes self-directed and life-long learners, critical thinkers and keen problem solvers. Cases are grounded in Problem-Based Learning (PBL), Investigative Case-Based Learning (ICBL),

Physics Online – Check out the projects link for some ideas that just might start a project.

Molecules Matters – provides PBL instruction and support for students and teachers with an emphasis on nanotechnology.

Software for STEM based PBL

How about free software to promote STEM in the classroom? Along with multimedia programs such as Movie Maker and iMovie… the programs listed below will facilitate students in their 21st century skill development. Since they are free, students can use them at school and download them to also connect at home.

SketchUp – A great CAD style product from the people at Google. I like to call it “CAD that’s fun!” Explore a world of educational resources that will engage students in the classroom allowing them to innovate and create!

West Point Bridge Project – Whether it be math, science, or engineering… students will enjoy this free program from the West Point Academy. Watch students compete in collaborative groups as they learn valuable content and understand the world of math and science through simulations and modeling.

Scratch – Wow… computational thinking at its best. A program that allows student to design a computer program with integration into any subject area. Learn more by watching my archived webinar at Discovery!

Google Earth – Another free and amazing program that will excite your students in any STEM class. Make sure you visit this educator page filled with resources on how to use Google Earth in the classroom.

Well, there you have it… a goldmine that will keep you mining resources for a long time  Please continue to join me as I discuss other ways you can promote 21st century technology and learning in the classroom. But that’s not all… future posts will also contain resources on Digital Curriculum,  evaluating web resources, Project Based Learning, STEM, Web 2.0, and so much more on 21st Century Learning. Please take a moment to subscribe by RSS or email! Your subscription means a lot to me and I thank you in advance. You can also give this article a retweet if you scroll to the bottom! It’s a great way to spread the word and I appreciate your support. Remember to follow me on Twitter at mjgormans. Thanks, and until next time… I am certain you will want to branch out with some STEM based PBL in the classroom  Have a great week! – Mike


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31 responses to “Connecting PBL and STEM… 40 Free Engaging Resources To Use In The Classroom

  1. Great resources in one stop shopping format

  2. Pingback: Connecting PBL and STEM… 40 Free Engaging Resources To Use In The Classroom | 21 st Century Educational Technology and Learning « The Sharing Tree

  3. Hi Michael,
    I attended your webinar on Wednesday on STEM and PBL. Thank you for all of your web resoures! I look forward to following you on Twitter as well.

  4. Pingback: Northwest Region Pennsylvania STEM Network | Blog | Connecting PBL and STEM

    • A big thank you to an amazing network in Pennsylvania! I will have to dig into your site. I am sure there will be a wealth of resources. Enjoyed my time in Philadelphia at ISTE2011 and am trying to make plans for a presentation at PETE! Heard great things about that February conference. Again, thanks so much for sharing and please stay connected. I will do the same! Have a STEMTASTIC Week! – Mike

  5. National Geographic and ePals jointly developed these STEM PBL projects, most of them available in both English and Spanish:
    * Climate Change:
    * Habitats:
    * Natural Disasters:
    * Water:
    * Weather:

    Each project also has a Teacher Forum and a Student Forum. These are terrific ways to globalize your classroom, bring in perspectives, information (and metric measures) from classrooms in 200 countries. (Translation to 58 languages available in the forums.) ePals staff moderate the forums, so there is no inappropriate language or bullying…only civil discourse.
    It’s free to join ePals and to use these ePals projects.
    ePals also features projects created by teachers, with examples of student work:

    • Rita, Thanks for the awesome resources. In fact, I have been planning on highlighting ePals in a blog and you have put it back on my radar. There are some amazing things ePals is doing both in STEM and outside of STEM. One includes a program I reviewed for Tech and Learning Magazine based on literacy for kids in connection with virtual mentors in the worldwide community. Awesome ideas. Tim and the whole crew at ePal are providing a great free service along with some quality fee based services. ePals has also been a partner with BLC… Alan November’s amazing conference in Boston every summer. Thanks for reminding me and please keep your community tuned in. I do have a review of ePals coming soon. Thanks for the read! Have a wonderful week! – Mike

  6. Thanks for sharing your expertise and insights. We are continually learning from you.

  7. Dear Michael:
    Thank you for putting together all this fabulous resources. I currently volunteering for an enquiry based learning and teaching program in Colombia that would like to expand. I would love to speak to you about it.
    I leave you a link to a video that shows how the program works. I look forward to speaking to you.
    Thank you for your time (and the resources, of course).

  8. Please excuse my ignorance but what is PBL and STEM?

    • PBL stands for Project Based Learning… basically students are learning by doing and getting practical experience. STEM takes the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math and integrates them together in order to connect understanding. Hope that helps a littel and thanks for the question! – Mike

  9. You really make it seem really easy with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be actually something which I think I’d never understand. It sort of feels too complex and extremely huge for me. I’m looking ahead to your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

    • Thanks for the comment and the visit. As you begin remember to take small steps. Do not try to do it all at once. Perhaps one lesson or one idea you think is neat. One step at a time will allow you to see great changes over time. I wish you the best on your journey and please return so we can network some more! – Mike

  10. Mari Enwright

    As our team moves forward in planning our PBL for our 5th graders this resource will be most helpful. I agree with the other reviewer…One stop shopping is wonderful! Thank you for sharing.

    • Mari, Thanks so much for the kind words. I really do hope you continue to return and do some more one stop shopping. Please encourage others to join me at this Blog and we can learn from each other. Wishing you the best with the PBL, it really is a great process! – Mike

  11. Allen Nice-Webb

    Very Helpful Resource Collection – Thanks!

  12. Amanda

    Thank you for the wonderful resources! Needed this information to start planning for what will hopefully be an exciting school year!

  13. Pingback: Connecting PBL and STEM… 40 Free Engaging Resources To Use In The Classroom | 21st Century skills of critical and creative thinking |

  14. Pingback: Diigo links 10/16/2013 | DrAlb

  15. Catherine Sobieszczyk

    Take a look at for free 10 minutes case study videos that connect, engage, and inspire students with problems to solve.

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