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How to Use This Site

Building STEMSS Lesson, Unit Plan, or Case Study: The outline below is provided as an example of how to develop a STEMSS lesson plan on a “Topic of Interest” using information on this site. Lesson plan construction should be based on the BCSC’s 5 E model.


1) Look at topic-related standards for science, technology, math

• Benchmarks
• National Stds
• State Stds (WI, MN) or other states
• Other Stds (engineering, plants, etc)

2) Look at the standards in relation to one another on the STEM literacy maps:
* NSDL Science Literacy Maps

Before you build a lesson/unit plan/case study on your topic:

3) Look for lessons already developed - examples can be found from the resources below.

If you can’t find a lesson/unit plan on your topic:

4) Build your own lesson plan (smaller topic focus)

• look at standards (see #1 above)
• modify an existing lesson plan (see #2 above) if possible to fit your needs
• look at 5E’s structure of this example lesson plan: Botanical Illustration
• look for info on web by searching the resources on this website
• look for grade-level books and materials related to topic in Murphy Library
• look for connections to disciplines other than STEM
• list references

5) Build your own unit plan (larger topic focus): the two examples below are units produced by AAAS.

AAAS’ “Evolution” Teacher Packet  (PDF)
Communicating and Learning About Global Climate Change (PDF) 

Building a Case Study:

6) Build your own case study with a more in-depth focus on one topic: two examples built around international scientific cooperation and science and society are provided below.

While many National Science Education Standards (NSES could be included in this example, the focus here is on international cooperation among scientists and educators and specifically “Many different people in different cultures have made and continue to make contributions to science and technology” (NSES p. 166): NSES Content Standards: 5-8, A (use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data, p. 145), F (scientists and engineers work in many different settings…p .169), and G (science as a human endeavor, p.170).

Antarctica: A Case Study of International Scientific Cooperation

Twelve countries comprised the first signatories that built the Antarctic Treaty Today, many additional countries are part of the treaty which serves as a good way of discussing global cooperative scientific endeavors. The links below provide educational materials for teachers interested in Antarctica, the natural world found in an extreme environment, and the tools, needs, and cooperative spirit of the people working there.

Start with:

Building International Connections into a lesson or unit:

7) The global perspective in STEMSS topics and education has received a great deal of press.  As a pre- or in-service teacher, you can build lessons or units which emphasize this global perspective to your K-12 students; however, to get a global perspective requires looking at the way other countries view education and the STEMSS disciplines.  For the example below, we provide links to universities and education generally, and STEMSS related education specifically for Scotland.  

General Information:


Scottish Schools of Education:

Scottish STEMSS standards:

Connecting STEMSS to other disciplinary standards:

STEM Teaching Organizations

Building a lesson or unit around a grade-level book:

8)  A great way to get students interested in a STEM topic is to start with a fictional or non-fiction story, especially a story you know they like.  The best stories to choose both grab your students’ attention but are also high quality resources.  If using a non-fiction book, it is essential that the book is of the highest quality from both a readability and accuracy standpoint.  Here is an example of building a lesson around the topic of  how organisms can camouflage themselves.  

Look for science trade books for your specific topic:

Example:  The 2008 SB&F Children’s Science Picture Book winner - Where in the Wild? Camouflaged Creatures Concealed and Revealed by David Schwartz and Yael Schy, with illustrations by Dwight Kuhn (Tricycle Press).  

Look for a lesson on this book or build one your self: Science NetLinks “Tools” section list lessons built around SB&F Prize winners.  A lesson for Where in the Wild? Camouflaged Creatures Concealed and Revealed will be on this site soon.  Lessons for past SB&F winners are also on this site and listed by the book title and grade level.  

Look for additional materials which correspond to your topic on the homepage of this site.  Here are two interesting examples related to camouflage:

Additional Information

US Dept of Education’s Designing Effective Science Instruction  

US Dept of Education’s Designing Effective Math Instruction