ENROLL NOW

LEARN TO EXPERTLY USE STEM CHALLENGES TO PREPARE KIDS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY  

in a weekend

AND BRING JOYFUL, RELEVANT LEARNING BACK INTO YOUR CLASSROOM

[without chaos, frustration, or sacrificing your test scores!]

If you’re a teacher, homeschooler, or club leader who wants to prepare students for life in the 21st century while finding more joy in the process of learning, failing, and bouncing back, then you already know that kids need more than textbooks and technology alone.

We want our kids to grow up to lead successful, happy lives, and that means we need to set them up with the right skills -- a 21st century toolbox of sorts!

They’ll need to know how to work through problems that have never been seen before. They’ll need to communicate, be creative, and work well with others.

And perhaps more important than all the rest, they’ll need to develop growth mindset skills like resilience, perseverance, and comfort with productive failure.

We know we have to teach them how to do these things deliberately. We can't leave it to chance!

HERE'S WHAT YOU

MIGHT NOT KNOW

Well-Run STEM Challenges:

  • Teach students how to fail ... productively

    When our kids become adults, they'll need to know not only how to succeed, but how to fail. If we don't give them practice falling down, analyzing what happened, and trying again, we're sending them into the world without the skills they need to thrive.
  • Level the playing field

    We know our kids have different talents and abilities. Unfortunately, many classrooms have been tilted heavily to the "book-smart test-takers" for a very long time. 
    Students of all talents need their moment to shine. And high-achievers need experience with productive struggle, so they don't grow up to be "fragile perfects" unable to cope with a failed effort. STEM Challenges help you accomplish both teaching feats!
  • Develop soft skills in high demand

    Collaboration, communication, growth mindset, problem-solving skills ... these softer skills are in huge demand in the real world. STEM Challenges are the most efficient way to practice all these skills and more. 
  • Address STEM & other content standards

    You've got a lot of standards to "cover" and you actually want your kids to retain the information. STEM Challenges, like project-based learning, can be crafted to integrate content area standards within and beyond STEM -- which saves you time and engages students in relevant, richer learning experiences! Plus, focusing on ELA and math to the exclusion of everything else isn't working.
  • Bring joy back to your classroom -- without resorting to fluff

    Fun does NOT have to equal fluff! Fun with substance is attainable and so much more worthwhile! STEM Challenges give your kids (and yourself) the gift of brain-busting work disguised as fun.
  • Teach students to problem-solve, think critically & stick with it 

    ... and that's really good for your test scores without having to do your students the disservice of teaching to a test.

Even though the reasons to pursue rich, deep learning through STEM Challenges are obvious, the path to doing it successfully is anything but...

STEM Challenges can be chaotic

But they don't have to be

 
Going It Alone

If you’ve already implemented STEM Challenges, some of this might sound familiar: You find a fun STEM Challenge idea and you’re psyched to try it out. You aren’t sure exactly how to get started. Should you show them examples? Have them research? Start blind? You make your choice and now it’s time to build…

 

As your kids build, you wonder what to say/do/ask.

Is it a good time to catch up on grading?

Should you simply observe?

Should you ask questions to develop their scientific analysis and critical thinking?

What questions should you ask?

How much support should you give if/when kids struggle?

How much should you help?

 

You make your choices and then it’s time for the build to end…

 

You call time and then what? They've had a lot of fun, but how valuable was the learning experience? What do you do next to take this activity from a fun day to meaningful, deep, standards-based learning?

 

And, of course, all this assumes you ran into zero problems with students working creatively & collaboratively and pushing through when the task seems impossible. And may higher powers help you if you've run into an epic fail without a plan in place! 

 

STEM Challenges are Powerful Tools...

But they can be misused and mishandled like any other tool. Imagine using a chainsaw without any guidance or training; the results could range from messy to disastrous.  

 

Danger! Danger!

And here’s why that’s crippling, you're extremely busy and have an overflowing plate of demands on your time:  so many content standards, too little planning time, endless paperwork, staff meetings, parent conferences ... You can’t afford to waste your time or your students’.

That's why many educators abandon the idea of STEM Challenges or relegate them to holidays, optional makerspace corners, or "throwaway" days.

Without a clear plan for what to say and do to make STEM Challenges rigorous and truly integrated within and beyond STEM, educators may fall victim to overwhelm, thinking there's not enough time for STEM Challenges, or worse -- choosing fun, fluffy, challenge-less challenges and missing out on all the magic that comes from using STEM Challenges like a teaching pro.

But the good news is, you don't have to go it alone or throw together hodge-podge lesson plans full of trial and error. Joyful, feel-good teaching is just around the corner!

The 5 Reasons Why Most STEM Challenges Miss the Mark and Fall into the Dreaded Fluff Zone

 

(and how to guarantee yours won't)

 

Reason 1

Choosing the Wrong STEM Challenges

There is a wide range of STEM Challenge resources available. Some are near gold, others -- let's just be honest -- are the fluffiest of fluff.  

 

We need to select truly challenging challenges to help our students develop grit and fearlessness in the face of failure.

 

Teachers can (and should) tailor every STEM Challenge to their students to modify the difficulty and connect to grade-level standards.

Reason 2

Weak Facilitating During & After the Build

Have you ever felt a little awkward watching your kids during a build phase? Or struggled to understand how to be helpful without giving too much support? That's 100% normal!

 

Facilitation is a delicate art form, and it takes time and training to find your voice.


What you say and do (and don't say and don't do) is absolutely critical to the success of a STEM Challenge. What this looks and sounds like isn't so simple. It will change from class-to-class and year-to-year. Finding your "Goldilocks" just-right level of facilitation takes some practice.

Reason 3

Missing Opportunities with Epic Fails & Student Conflict 

Have you ever watched a lesson, lab, or STEM Challenge crash & burn and felt that moment of sheer panic, wondering how to salvage a lost class period?


Giving time and space for students to fail and bounce back is a sacred task of education.

 

☝️Remembering that is step one to getting yourself in the right headspace to use these frustrating experiences to your advantage.

The second step is learning how to navigate students through that experience to make their frustration and failure productive.

 

Reason 4

Assessing the product instead of the process 

If you're assessing students' designs, there's a near 100% chance you're undermining the most important benefits and goals of STEM Challenges.


Focusing on assessing the process over the end product teaches your students to think like scientists.

 

There are many ways to approach process-over-product assessment to support your biggest learning objectives!

 

Reason 5

Using time ineffectively -- or worse, believing you don't have the time at all

There are so many things vying for your instructional minutes, but they aren't all equally valuable.


You probably have more time than you think.

 

By prioritizing high-value lessons, expertly integrating content standards, creatively managing your schedule, and engaging students in brain-busting work they actually want to do, you'll discover minutes you didn't know you had.

Shh...I'm going to let you in on a little secret

STEM Challenges can be classroom magic, but that doesn't mean it's easy to crack the code. Expert implementation doesn't happen by accident. It took me years, a lot of falling flat on my teacher face, and getting back up again.

I've spent over a decade creating and refining that method. I started with holiday STEM, battled with time & facilitation issues and came out on the other side through a lot of trial and error.

I won't lie. I felt frustrated and like I was wasting a lot of time, but I knew there was limitless potential if I could get it right.

You don't have trudge through the same way I did though.

I've put together a step-by-step process teaching you everything I've learned so you can skip all the guesswork and dive straight into meaningful lessons with your students.

"This course is definitely worth it. Many classroom teachers I know have 'full-plates' already, but with the templates you provide, you make it very easy.

 You taught well how to easily plan and implement the challenges. The templates are great. I was pleased that your challenges are standards-based. I also liked the examples of adapting challenges for lower grades and upper grades.

I just loved the course. By far, it is the best STEM-type course I have taken so far."

CATHY ROBEY, STEM LAB TEACHER

"I'm so amazed at how awesome this training is! You've covered everything!!"

ANGIE C.
STEM FACILITATOR

"This course is 6 hours of extremely valuable information all in one place! 

 

I have watched several of your YouTube videos and am a part of your Facebook group, and you truly are amazing. I knew this would be the same and even more.

 

I really liked your Q&A during sharing and the walk through before sharing. I learn something new each time I watch your videos."

 

LINDA ADHAMI, TEACHER

Introducing

The STEM Challenge Field Guide

A step-by-step process to ensure your students are having purposeful fun in the classroom while stocking their toolbox for life in the 21st century.

The STEM Challenge Field Guide is the ONLY program of its kind that teaches you…

1. How to select and tailor challenging STEM Challenges for any age group so you can ensure your instructional minutes are well-spent and standards-based.


2. Exactly what to say & do (and not say/do) before, during, and after STEM Challenges to build gritty, resilient, problem-solvers.


3. How to turn epic fails and student conflicts into epic learning opportunities so your kids get the practice they need falling down and bouncing back.


4. How to integrate content area standards to get tons of academic value from every challenge and impress your principal.


5. How to assess in ways that support process over product, so you don't make the mistake of undermining your goals.

 

6. How to use your time wisely to make it all work within the practical realities of your day and troubleshoot some of the most common student issues.

 

So if you’re ready to finally put an intentional system in place while avoiding hodge-podge plans, uncertainty, and trial & error...

 

Here's how we'll help you get here:

Module 1

Plan Like a Pro

You've heard before that failing to plan is a plan to fail, right? This module is about getting your foundation set for success.

Here you'll set your goals and learn to put a plan in place that will get you and your students where you want to go!

Even if you've never done a STEM Challenge before, this module breaks down the planning process into simple, easy-to-follow steps that will make you feel confident about expertly executing high-quality STEM Challenges.

Highlights:

  • Set your goals for student outcomes so you are crystal clear on where you're going.
  • Learn how to select high-quality challenges and avoid the fluffy fakers!
  • Learn how to take any STEM Challenge and tailor the criteria & constraints to your students and grade-level standards.
  • Implement the 7-step process that ensures your challenges are rigorous and meaningful learning experiences.
  • Examine the pros & cons of student budgets to determine if they're right for your class.
  • Explore options for student planning methods so you don't get stuck in the "sketch, then build" rut that doesn't work for a lot of kids.
  • Use my STEM lesson plan template to effortlessly create plans that keep you feeling organized and your principal smiling!
Module 2

Facilitate the Build

What you say & do while students are building (and don't say/don't do) will make or break your STEM Challenges.

Finding that Goldilocks (just-right) amount of support is the biggest mystery for most educators. 

What, exactly, should it look like and sound like? 

This module helps you clear that hurdle with ease -- and without having to spend the next several months or years with messy guesswork. 

I've got you covered!

Highlights:

  • Use my cheat-sheet question list to know exactly what to say and do (and what to avoid) during a build to get the best results.
  • Learn what to look for and take note of during the build to develop students' scientific reasoning & analysis.
  • Create an escape hatch for yourself when students are looking to you to help them solve design problems. You know you won't be helping them by helping them, but that doesn't mean it's easy to navigate without feeling like the bad guy!
Module 3

Create Your Post-Build Routine for Reflection, Analysis & Assessment

Right after you call time on the build, it's time to lead students through the MOST important parts of any STEM Challenge. 

What's the point in doing STEM Challenges at all if the students don't make meaning from them, right? 

Leading students through these steps of the process can be tricky, but it's the most critical thing to get right as a facilitator. Once you know how to do it well, you'll never short-change these steps again.

This is where STEM Challenges go from being just a fun day to becoming rich, deep, memorable learning!

Highlights:

  • Learn exactly what to do the moment the build phase ends.
  • Learn how to guide students to process & synthesize information from the challenge by asking the right questions and leading thoughtful discussions.
  • Use my post-build questions cheat sheet to facilitate group presentations.
  • Learn when to move from group work to individual reflection.
  • Use my universal design analysis templates to help students reflect on any challenge.
  • Learn how to use assessment to emphasize process over product, so you don't compromise the goals set in the planning module.
  • Use my assessment templates as-is or edit them to serve a number of process-over-product student goals. 
Module 4

Extend & Multiple Iterations

To get all the value out of your STEM Challenges, you'll want to weave in content standards from all your subject areas like a connection-making guru.

Doing this well not only justifies the time spent on STEM Challenges, it helps kids make connections within and beyond STEM.

We also explore why multiple iterations are a crucial step in the process and how to make them work in the practical realities of your classroom calendar.

 

Highlights:

  • Learn how to find ideal connections before, during and after challenges.
  • Learn to identify ideal & stretch connections in math, science, technology, ELA, social studies, art, music, PE, character education and STEM careers.
  • Use my checklist to decide when you should do multiple iterations of a challenge.
  • Explore options for conducting multiple iterations.
Bonus 1

Practical Bits

After you go through the core content of the course, there will be a few practical matters to address to make the whole process run smoothly in your classroom.

Highlights:

    • Learn what materials to have on-hand and get storage, organization and distribution tips.
    • Learn what to do with completed designs.
    • Learn how to group students for higher engagement.
    • Learn where to get additional ideas, resources, and support.
Bonus 2

Troubleshooting

STEM Challenges can be magical, but that doesn't mean it's all sunshine and rainbows!

There will be some bumps in the road. You can let them derail you, or you can have plans in place to use these bumps as the educational gold they are!

Highlights:

    • Learn exactly what to say and do the moment it becomes clear your STEM Challenge is heading for an epic fail. These will become your most powerful lessons of the year when you're prepared for them!
    • Learn how to address other common issues:
      • Look-alike designs
      • Copying
      • Students who shut down because it's "impossible" or they "hate" STEM Challenges
      • Group disagreements over choosing ideas
      • Tears
    • How to win over skeptical principals so you can continue to teach the way you know is best for your kids and their future

 

The STEM Challenge Field Guide Guarantee

The STEM Challenge Field Guide is for anyone who facilitates STEM Challenges with kids of any age -- classroom teachers, homeschoolers, media specialists, and those who run clubs. (See the FAQ for more specifics.)

I am confident the video tutorials, templates, resources, and PDF support documents will improve your confidence in your practice and make you feel like the master teacher you are.

There is a 30-day guarantee on the course so you have the time to check it out for yourself and make sure it's right for you.

There is nothing like those feel-good teaching moments when you've crafted a lesson that empowers students to take charge of their learning ... and they're actually enjoying rising the the challenge of the brain-busting work you've put before them!

So feel free to take the course for a test spin. If you don't see the outcomes you're looking for, simply reach out via email in the first 30 days of purchase for a full refund, no questions asked.

Here’s what you’re getting when you enroll today:

The STEM Challenge Field Guide Step-by-Step Video Tutorials with PDF Support Guide- $150 Value

  • Bonus 1: Practical Tips Module $25 Value
  • Bonus 2: Troubleshooting Module - $25 Value
  • Bonus 3: STEM Resource Pack - $40 Value

Total Value: $240

When you add it all up, that’s a value of $240

But when you enroll today, you’ll get access to everything for just:

Pay Monthly

2 Monthly Payments of

$26

ENROLL + PAY MONTHLY

OR

Pay Upfront

One Payment of

$47

PAY IN FULL + SAVE

Want a Sneak Peek?

Check out the course welcome, where I lay out what's in store for course members and take you on a tour of everything included.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What educators ask before signing up for
The STEM Challenge Field Guide

Kerry recently conducted a live version of this training to teachers in Mustang, OK. Here are three questions and the attendees' unedited, un-redacted responses.

 

1. Before attending this PD, were you struggling with any aspects of STEM Challenges (e.g. planning, facilitating, assessment, etc.)?

  • Planning and scheduling
  • Assessment
  • Yes - Inspiration
  • Facilitating and ensuring they really understand the why behind it
  • I was having a hard time integrating and I loved how you integrated so many subjects. I defiantly [SIC] want to try to do more STEM challenges!
  • Teachers needing to hear your inspiration!
  • Planning and implementing
  • multiple iterations
  • Post challenge activities
  • I was struggling on the assessment and including other areas into my STEM activities.
  • All of it. Planning and facilitating are the hardest.
  • Facilitating
  • Facilitating the end of the Stem lesson!
  • assessment
  • Oh yes, all aspects of STEM!!

 

2.  Did you have any breakthroughs or valuable takeaways from the training?

  • Yes, the value in taking the extra time for discussion in STEM
  • The format for planning!
  • I definitely love the idea of doing more challenges and finding ways to incorporate more of our everyday learning into them.
  • How easy it is to incorporate into all subjects
  • I loved this training! My favorite part was teacher facilitation and the share/Q&A. I also loved teaching our kids to fail. They struggle with this so much. Thank you!
  • Love the whole thing, but loved the way your presentation built on itself to help them understand the process and why.
  • Enjoyed you actually walking through the process of a stem activity
  • I MUST do multiple iterations! It's okay to take several days. I also got great ideas for varying the planning stage.
  • So much! The entire process makes so much more sense.
  • I never thought about adding the growth mindsets into challenges and use those as a goal.
  • Start small. I think I try to do too much.
  • The q&a and reflection process
  • The processes you gave us were excellent!
  • Enjoyed all the ideas to pull in other content areas
  • So many takeaways, it's hard to list them all! I was most surprised at not doing research before the building. I always thought that in my head but never out loud, so it felt good to be justified! Also, loved the gallery walk!

 

3. What would you say to a friend who was on the fence about signing up? 

  • It’s worth it to help make the most out of your stem time
  • Attend it! It’s helpful
  • Do it!
  • It's amazing and inspiring
  • I would tell them to go! Their mindset on STEM would change completely!!
  • Are you crazy! GO!!
  • This shows you how to implement and connect all subject matters
  • You will get relevant information to use in class the next day.
  • If you do not feel good about STEM challenges, go to this workshop! It will definitely change your perspective!
  • It is worth the time. There is valuable information that can help incorporating STEM into a regular rotations.
  • It can all be integrated across the curriculum.
  • It will surprise you how easy you can integrate it.
  • Don’t hesitate! Just go!
  • I would highly advise them to go
  • DO ITTTTTT!!!!

 

Great question. You'll get:

  • Four tower challenge resources in print and paperless versions. We use these challenges to explore the possibilities for taking a simple tower challenge and making it rigorous and appropriate for any age group.
  • Universal STEM Challenge templates for lesson planning, design analysis, and assessment.
  • STEM Ideals Character Education Series.

To see each resource up close and a full description, use the links below:

Resource List

I believe this course is right for classroom teachers, homeschoolers, media specialists, and those who run clubs or after-school groups.

Basically, if you're going to be doing STEM Challenges with kids of any age, this course addresses best practices for implementation that apply to any teaching situation.

That said, there are some pieces that are specific to teachers of large groups of students.

Remember, there is a 30-day guarantee on the course. If you decide to purchase and find it doesn't apply well to your particular situation, simply reach out in the first 30 days after purchase for a full refund.

 

Elementary, middle, and even high school teachers will get a lot from this training as the focus is on tailoring any challenge for your age group.
 
In the same way that toddlers, kids, and adults have all built "shelters" whether it be out of blocks, for a doll/pet, or for people, most challenges can be adapted for any age.
 
However, most examples given in the course for content extensions, troubleshooting, etc. are directed mostly toward elementary and middle school.
 
While many of the practices / approaches shared do apply to any age group, preschool teachers may not be satisfied with the lack of specific early childhood examples, although there is an interactive comments section where you can leave questions for your specific situation under each training video.
 
Again, there is a 30-day money back guarantee in place so you can check it out for yourself to see if it is a good fit.

Kerry Tracy has 10 years of classroom experience in 2nd - 7th grades. Her master’s degree is in Design-Based Learning, which heavily informs her approach to STEM challenges.

Since 2015, she has focused her time on developing multi-grade level/differentiated STEM challenges with supporting videos and PD to help other teachers discover the radical magic these types of cross-curricular, hands-on methods to deliver content can be in the classroom -- when done thoughtfully!

Learn more about Kerry here.

 

I am certain that when you complete the training and exercises, you will feel extremely confident in your ability to expertly implement STEM Challenges in a way that brings purposeful fun to your classroom and truly prepares your kids for life in the 21st century.

If you take the course content and are not satisfied, simply notify us within 30 days of purchase for a refund.

Washington State Teachers:

This course has been approved for 6 STEM Clock Hours through the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP is an official OSPI approved provider).

Transcripts will be sent as follows:

  • Those who complete the coursework before May 5 and submit $15 to CSTP will receive transcripts by June 1, 2020.
  • Those who complete the coursework from May 6 - August 5, 2020 and submit $15 to CSTP will receive transcripts in late August 2020.

Additional instructions are provided inside the course.

 

All Other States, Countries, & Territories:

You will receive a certificate of completion for 6 hours of STEM Challenge Professional Development.

Every district has its own rules, so you'll need to check with them to see if the certificate will be accepted.

No problem, I'm happy to assist!

Drop me a line: [email protected]

Include "course question" in the subject line for a faster response. :)

Course members have lifetime access to the course and its resources.

Of course!

Here’s what you’re getting when you enroll today:

The STEM Challenge Field Guide Step-by-Step Video Tutorials with PDF Support Guide- $150 Value

  • Bonus 1: Practical Tips Module $25 Value
  • Bonus 2: Troubleshooting Module - $25 Value
  • Bonus 3: STEM Resource Pack - $40 Value

Total Value: $240

Plus, if you pay for the course using the single, full-payment option before February 4, 2020, you'll also receive an additional bonus worth $39.96:

The 10 STEM Challenge Bundle in print and paperless formats!

Here’s what you’re getting when you enroll today:

The STEM Challenge Field Guide Step-by-Step Video Tutorials with PDF Support Guide- $150 Value

  • Bonus 1: Practical Tips Module $25 Value
  • Bonus 2: Troubleshooting Module - $25 Value
  • Bonus 3: STEM Resource Pack - $40 Value

Total Value: $240

When you add it all up, that’s a value of $240

But when you enroll today, you’ll get access to everything for just:

Pay Monthly

2 Monthly Payments of

$26

ENROLL + PAY MONTHLY

OR

Pay Upfront

One Payment of

$47

PAY IN FULL + SAVE

The STEM Challenge Field Guide is PERFECT for you if you are… 

  1. Just getting started and want to do things right from the start.
  2. Already using STEM Challenges & you're all about honing your skills and strategies. There is always room to grow!
  3. The teacher who wants to honor who your kids are right now and prepare them to thrive in the 21st century. 
  4. Willing to hunker down for about six hours to do the work. (Don't worry, you can and should spread it out over a couple of days).
  5. The teacher who fears your kids may not not be getting the real practice they need to handle failure productively. You're also excited about how developing just that one skill will set your kids up for amazing success and happier lives.
  6. The teacher who wants to skip the chaos, uncertainty, trial & error, and inefficiency of figuring out best practices on your own. 

If you said “yes” to at least 4 of the above, I can’t wait to meet you inside The STEM Challenge Field Guide!

Here’s what you’re getting when you enroll today:

The STEM Challenge Field Guide Step-by-Step Video Tutorials with PDF Support Guide- $150 Value

  • Bonus 1: Practical Tips Module $25 Value
  • Bonus 2: Troubleshooting Module - $25 Value
  • Bonus 3: STEM Resource Pack - $40 Value

Total Value: $240

When you add it all up, that’s a value of $240

But when you enroll today, you’ll get access to everything for just:

Payment Monthly

2 Monthly Payments of

$26

ENROLL + PAY MONTHLY

OR

Payment Upfront

One Payment of

$47

PAY IN FULL + SAVE
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