Addressing Disciplinary Content and Practices within STEM Integration

Over the past decade, there has been an increasing focus on integrated STEM learning environments, where students are typically asked to engage with more than one STEM discipline in order to solve a specific problem situated within a real-world context. Breaking away from the traditional instructional model of siloed courses and learning experiences within science and mathematics departments, schools and teachers are seeking new models for implementing STEM integration, including innovative solutions involving collaborating teachers, block scheduling, and creating new integrated STEM courses. However, many questions still remain about what the best curricular and instructional practices are for STEM integration, as well as how teachers can overcome barriers to effectively implementing these types of experiences for students.

As part of the Trustey STEM Teaching Fellows program, teachers receive professional development around STEM Integration during their first two summer institutes. This study explores several facets of this work, including what obstacles teachers are most likely to face when conceptualizing, implementing, and assessing STEM integration, how both disciplinary content and practices can be woven together in these experiences, and how situating STEM Integration within a social justice-oriented context can impact learning outcomes.