Part Two… Transforming STEM Education from a Noun to a Verb… 15 Steps


Welcome to the second of two articles as I relate the importance of making sure STEM is considered a verb. The first post involved the “why”, and this second post provides 15 ideas for the :how”. There are a lot of definitions in regards to STEM education usually in regards to the nouns including Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.. As I reflect on my observation of STEM practice in my travels across the country I have become more convinced that STEM is a verb, and not just a set of nouns. In fact, STEM action is something all content areas can embrace as they engage students in authentic learning. I have some great posts coming your way involving PBL and STEM. Most of all, thanks for being one of those 30,000+ visitors a month and over 14,000 subscribers.

Also, remember that I can come to your conference or school district and provide engaging, authentic, practical, and purposeful professional development . See booking info and please contact me anytime at (  Last, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way this school year…So Sign Up Now and please pass this on with a retweet!   – Mike Gorman (

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb!

Part Two… Transforming STEM Education from a Noun to a Verb… 15 Steps

I do hope you enjoyed that first post which I related the reasons “why” I believe that STEM must be considered a verb. I also included the necessary idea that STEM really is a part of all content areas. Please feel free to take a look if you missed it. Now that we understand the “why” it is important to look at the next steps that allow us to implement the “how” as we build a stem school culture. I suggest taking a look at these steps (ideas) and use them as you either build and/or vet your STEM culture of learning.  I hope you notice each one even starts with a verb. Perhaps that will help you as you complete an action plan. Please  feel free to share with others…  and enjoy your STEM journey!

  1. Think of STEM as a verb, not a noun. What are the skills that make up that STEM-based occupation? It can be seen that these skills not only include the Four C’s, but also components of each C.
  2. Create a clear vision and mission for STEM in the school or district. Make sure this definition is understood by everyone including those educators that may not think of themselves as STEM.
  3. Incorporate STEM thinking into lessons in all content areas. This STEM thinking includes the ability to problem solve, authentically learn, think in critical ways, invent, produce, persevere, collaborate, empathize, and design.
  4. Emphasize the skills that are needed in those future careers, not the career itself. While it is beneficial to learn about different careers, it is important to note that these will change and students may go through multiple careers. Many of the important skills will remain the same.
  5. Integrate digital technology in STEM when appropriate, and it is able to amplify the standard. An example might be to teach with real protractors before using a digital protractor.
  6. Incorporate PBL (Project Based Learning) and 5E lessons into  STEM instructional experiences.  These methods can provide the process for student ownership, engagement, and authenticity.
  7. Look outside of the classroom to incorporate STEM as an authentic learning experience. Use the community, country, and world to allow students to contribute  while allowing them to see  real world connections to content and skills being taught.
  8. Facilitate and assess (intentionally) not just content, but also the STEM (21st century and beyond) skills. Find, or build rubrics, that address the 21st-century skills which include the 4 C’s of Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. Understand that each of these C;s includes indicators and subsets that can be assessed. An example might be that  empathy is a part of collaboration or active listening is part of communication.
  9. Practice a STEM culture of learning… make sure that students are doing. This doing must include not only hands-on activities but also important metacognition. Students must not only do, but also think about what they are doing (which should be connected to the standards). Find ways to make this thinking visible. It is only when students do… and then think, that real learning takes place.
  10. Step beyond STEM one time activities and making. Build a STEM culture that builds inquiry, is supported by authenticity, promotes rigor, and allows for student self-regulation and  ownership of learning. Always keep the necessary curricular standards and skills at the forefront of STEM.
  11. Allow for student ownership while promoting real inquiry. Provide ways for students questions and inquiry, while intentionally building specific habits and literacy skills to find answers.
  12. Promote a culture of focused and engaging rigor allowing for student to face hurdles and eventually achieve satisfaction and success.
  13. Look outside your school day and find programs that students are excited about at home and after-school. Develop ways to bring these into the instructional day while mapping to curricular standards.
  14. Amplify with digital devices when appropriate, plan first before purchasing STEM technology equipment, and embrace those non-technology items that allow students to make.
  15. Allow for student voice and choice that align with both 21century skills and curricular standards in order to provide student engagement, inquiry, and purpose.


Opportunity – Stanley Black & Decker and Discovery Education  announced the Making for Good Challengea challenge encouraging students to develop a unique product that addresses societal and environmental needs. An extension the Innovation Generation: Making an Impact program, the challenge asks high school students to work in teams to design a product solution that will help solve an environmental or societal problem in their home, school or community. And the nationwide challenge will award up to $30,000 in scholarships, grants and prizes.  Read more about the Making for Good Challenge, visit and please consider sharing this news.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.   Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? In fact, I have a STEM is a Verb Session and Workshop I can bring to your location. I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. While I am booked through 2019, I do have some dates open starting in 2020! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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