STEM education is an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to teaching. This focus gives students an opportunity to learn how to use core ideas and practices from science, mathematics and engineering to figure out solutions to problems and to deploy technology is service of problem solving It also gives students an opportunity to learn how to collaborate with others and to develop the literacy skills they need to read, write, and speak in the technical subjects. Unfortunately, STEM subjects are usually taught in isolation and there are few existing approaches to STEM education that integrate these subjects in a meaningful way.
We developed the Argument-Driven Engineering (ADE) instructional model as a way to integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in a meaningful way. This approach provides students with an engineering design challenge that requires them to use core ideas and practices from the different STEM disciplines to develop solutions to problems. Each design challenges revolves a relevant problem and highlights the ways that engineering solutions improve the lives of others. ADE also requires students to learn how to obtain the information they need, communicate what they know and how they know it, and evaluate the solutions and thinking of others. Argumentation, which is the process of proposing, supporting, critiquing, and refining claims based on evidence, is the foundation of all design challenges. ADE, as a result, makes STEM subjects more authentic for students, easily integrates the four branches of STEM, and, most importantly helps students learn the content they are required to learn to a higher degree than they do in a typical course.
ADE is a way of teaching that can be integrated into any grade 6-12 science, engineering, or mathematics course. The ADE instructional model consists of 8 stages. Each of these stages gives students an opportunity to participate in different science, mathematics and engineering practices. The stages of ADI are the same for each design challenges so students have an opportunity to improve over time. The 8 stage structure of ADE also makes it easy for schools or districts to adopt it as a way to increase student achievement in science, engineering, mathematics, or literacy because it can be used across grades and subjects.
We developed ADE using current research about how people learn and recent recommendations for how to integrate STEM subjects in a way that makes them more relevant and meaningful to students and teachers. We also field-tested and refined this instructional approach inside numerous classrooms as part of our research projects. If you are looking for a way to give students more opportunities to learn how to “figure things out” inside the classroom instead of just “learning about things” in science, engineering, or mathematics, ADE provides a way for you to make this shift.
All the instructional materials that a teacher needs to begin using ADI in her or his classroom.