Over the last few years, I have students participate in the Discovery Education and 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Within our program, we do what we can to promote collaboration and problem solving, and I can think of no better way to do that then to let students take on real-world problems to solve. Most of the time, we do this in a personalized learning format, which usually entails educators collecting resources, thinking through the process, designing appropriate lessons, and organizing and breaking down the steps students will need to take to complete their project. Putting a project together like this really can be a daunting and time-consuming task for most educators (especially with everything else on our plates). Now there are plenty of products out there with a “Personalized Learning” or “Problem/Project Based Learning” labels, but not all of them are designed as wholly as the 3M Young Scientist Challenge.
We have approached the 3M Young Scientist Challenge in several different ways.
- Through whole group instruction
- In stations/centers
- Through individual projects such as Genius Hour.
The resources provided do not just make my job easier in regards to this challenge, but with STEM activities in general. The 3M Young Scientist Lab website is jammed full of a variety of lesson plans, family activities, and interactives that begin at kindergarten continued through sixth grade and are available throughout the year whether you participate in the challenge or not.