Project Based Learning for Math and Science

DIY: Project Based Learning for Math and Science
By Heather Wolpert-Gawron
(Routledge/Eye on Education, 2016 – Learn more)

anthony jonesReviewed by Anthony Jones

I must admit that with such an incredible emphasis on STEM these days, the title of this book seems to be one that every educator should consider looking into. However, as I read further, it seems that this book does not live up to the title. Perhaps my expectations of DIY science are a bit different than that of the author’s.

diy pbl for math and science jonesIn the first two units, students are looking at websites and reading articles and responding to those. Students are creating assessments from the readings. There are “homework hints” with each lesson, but each of these seems to be to do research or find a website to visit in order to read some specific content outside of the classroom. Then students are asked to write or journal about these.

In unit 3, the students do research on a specific island in the Galapagos Islands, and then their project is to create a PowerPoint presentation. They also have journal writing and an oral presentation to the class. I am not sure this was the DIY type of activities that I was expecting.

It was not until unit 4 that an actual “project” (in my mind) was created. The students are asked to do a lot of research and collaboration before designing a roller coaster. There is very little, if any, actual DIY involved. It is also suggested that this unit be a month-long unit.

In unit 5, everything is tied to ELA standards and is focused almost entirely on writing a persuasive essay. As I was reading through this, I was struggling mightily to find either the DIY or the math/science piece of the STEM portion that I was hoping to find.

To say I was hugely disappointed with this resource would be an incredible understatement. I am not sure that I could in good conscience recommend this book to any educator that I know.

Read another review of this book:
“A Superior Guide to Project-Based Learning”

Anthony Jones (@MathGuru7) is an educator, technology assistant and team leader within his district. He has been teaching math for 11 years. He is a fan of using Twitter for educational purposes and regularly contributes to #educhats, including #tlap, #txeduchat, and #bfc530. He has a passion for student success and integrating curriculum with technology and real-world applications.

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