Defined STEM: Real-World Applications Impact Learning

Jay McTighe is an accomplished author, having co-authored 14 books, including the award-winning and best-selling Understanding by Design series with Grant Wiggins. His books have been translated into ten languages. Jay has also written more than 35 articles and book chapters, and been published in leading journals, including Educational Leadership (ASCD) and Education Week.

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Defined STEMI want to call your attention to what I think is a terrific resource from a group called Defined Learning. The product is entitled, Defined STEM, although the name can be misleading. They have created more than 100 performance tasks reflecting various careers and authentic projects. While their initial tasks were in the STEM areas (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), they have expanded their collection to include literacy and social studies tasks. Each task includes detailed directions for teachers and students along with detailed rubrics.

A unique feature of the tasks is the inclusion of introductory videos – short documentaries depicting “real-world” applications. These videos are engaging, motivational and establish the authentic context for the subsequent tasks. For teachers who wish to modify the tasks, Defined STEM offers electronic task and rubric design tools, including the GRAPSP format from UbD.

The tasks are sold on a site license basis to schools and districts. To preview, go to and enter this access code STEMACCESS. You will then be prompted to create your own user name and password so that you can peruse the materials.

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