Empowered STEM Education is a project of Earth Force

When asked to solve problems facing their community, students leverage experience, harness internal and external resources, develop a plan, and push forward to find the best solution. Along the way, there is experimentation, failure, success, and ultimately consequences for actions. Students develop a sense of urgency, passion, and ownership – ingredients that are often hard to replicate in a traditional learning environment.

A 2016 report showed that students working on these kinds of projects outperformed other students by up to 49%. As schools adapt to prepare students for the 21st Century, it is imperative that students get more autonomy in their learning to prepare them for their roles as citizens, students, and employees.

Empowered STEM provides a framework for educators to combine Science and Engineering Practices with the content that they are teaching. By combining practice and content we create a learning context that is dynamic and drives students to deeper learning. When content and practice are taught separately practices become activities and content becomes memorization.

5 Reasons to Use Empowered STEM

How do we know it works?

The Community Action and Problem Solving process was devised by Earth Force in 1998 to increase student engagement in solving environmental problems. Since that time the process has been refined and improved through an ongoing process of testing, evaluating, and redesigning. Through this process we have been able to devise a model that is educator friendly.

We are primed to expand beyond environmental topics to apply the process to all of the issues that students care about – that is Empowered STEM.

In addition to our development, we regularly review the prevailing research to ensure that we are incorporating the latest thinking on education. You can read our background research on the three schools of thought behind Empowered STEM: Action Civics, High Quality STEM, and Project-Based Learning.

For more information on how these traditions work together, contact us at ese@earthforce.org.