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Pitsco Debuts STEM Expeditions


Pitsco Education continues its innovative development of cross-curricular STEM content with the release of STEM Expeditions. (Photo credit: Pitsco)

Pitsco Education’s cloud-based “STEM Expeditions” promote science inquiry, math practices, and engineering design principles by incorporating STEM concepts into real-world, relevant activities.

Each Expedition begins with an Essential Question, which sets the focus and shapes students’ thinking. The overall goal is to create critical thinkers and problem solvers by presenting real-world challenges to engage learners with the subject matter. The Expeditions feature a wide range of 28 topics from robots and rockets to food safety and flight to engineering and electricity.

Fundamental to the Expeditions learning process are collaboration and teamwork. Students collaborate in pairs and in teams as they seek to answer their Essential Question while recording data in logbooks and data sheets to authenticate their learning. The cornerstone of the STEM Expeditions is the powerful flexibility of the curriculum. The Expeditions are designed to be implemented either rotationally or in a whole-class fashion. The rotational scheme works much as Modules do: student pairs proceeding through one Expedition after another within a seven-day rotational window, with separate pairs working through different titles. 

Whole-class implementation allows for anticipatory framing, concept clarification, and refocusing. Expedition components include story-based scenarios, student portfolios (with portfolio checklists), logbooks, hands-on activities, assessments, additional resources, teacher’s notes, and a digital grading rubric, which facilitates easy interaction, assessment of learning, and recording of grades. Flexible furniture facilitates the combination of teacher-led and student-led learning.

Every Expedition incorporates problem solving via the engineering design process: Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve. (Image courtesy Pitsco)

The program offers multimodal instructional design with a high degree of problem solving and student choice regarding learning resources used. This facilitates the deeper learning targeted by Common Core and NGSS. (NGSS and ITEEA standards are primary. Expeditions also offer alignment to Common Core ELA and Math standards.) Audio and video instruction complementing hands-on projects and teacher instruction.

In a prepared statement, Matt Frankenbery, Pitsco Vice President of Education stated, “Every expedition incorporates problem solving via the engineering design process (ask-imagine-plan-create-improve), which students detail in their logbooks as they write for reflection and documentation of the overall experience,” according to a news release. “By the end of the expedition, students have well-documented proof to justify their answers to the essential question. … STEM Expeditions represent Pitsco’s most significant curriculum development since Modules. Each Expedition focuses on a single topic and includes extensive hands-on experiences with equipment and materials, performance and skills assessment, problem solving, teamwork, and data collection and analysis.”

Pitsco’s unwavering focus on innovative educational solutions and unparalleled customer service began when the company was founded in 1971 by three teachers. Using product flyers promoting just a handful of kits and related curriculum in the beginning, Pitsco expanded rapidly from a humble dream to a multifaceted corporation with thousands of products, more than 200 employees, and a simple vision: Leading education that positively affects learners. 

For more information about STEM Expeditions and Pitsco’s other innovations plus video demonstrations, visit Pitsco’s website at http://www.pitsco.com/Curriculum/Integrated_STEM/STEM_Expeditions#sthash.KlTHyLQv.dpuf.

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