STEM and Design Thinking

STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) utilizes problem-based learning to engage all students with hands on and real world learning opportunities. Through problem-based learning and design thinking; students engage in questioning, research, collaboration and engineering to develop solutions to community problems. Students brainstorm, build and test ideas to examine their thinking. We partner with the community who provide information, guidance and feedback on our work.

At Harmony Ridge, we believe that all students will benefit from STEM experience. Students will have multiple opportunities to engage in problem based learning in Science, Social Studies, Technology and even in Literacy and Math. All students will be engaged in at least one problem based learning opportunity a quarter and will be expected to communicate their learning through a presentation process.

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered approach in which students learn about a subject by working in groups to solve an open-ended problem. This problem is what drives the motivation and the learning.

A well-designed PBL project provides students with the opportunity to develop skills related to:

  • Working in teams.
  • Managing projects and holding leadership roles.
  • Oral and written communication.
  • Self-awareness and evaluation of group processes.
  • Working independently.
  • Critical thinking and analysis.
  • Explaining concepts.
  • Self-directed learning.
  • Applying course content to real-world examples.
  • Researching and information literacy.
  • Problem solving across disciplines.

We are excited to partner with Project Lead the Way (PLTW) and other learning platforms to provide these opportunities to our students. PTLW has this to say about their curriculum: Project Lead The Way provides transformative learning experiences for PreK-12 students and teachers across the U.S. We create an engaging, hands-on classroom environment and empower students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills they need to thrive. We also provide teachers with the training, resources, and support they need to engage students in real-world learning.

The Design Thinking Process

Design Thinking is an approach used for practical and creative problem-solving. Design thinking is formulated on the methods and processes that designers in such fields such as engineering, architecture and business use: hence the name "Design Thinking." Design Thinking can be applied to any field, you just need a problem to solve.

Design Thinking is people-centric. It focuses on humans helping humans; seeking to understand people’s needs and come up with effective solutions to meet those needs. It is a solution based approach to solving a common problem.

At Harmony Ridge, students will use the Design Thinking process to attack problem based learning.

“There is a substantial body of research confirming that having a concrete problem as the focus for knowledge acquisition helps students retain their learning and comprehend it better.”

University of Adelaide