Western Wisconsin STEM Consortia Project

group_soil-testingThe Western Wisconsin STEM Consortia (WWSC) project was funded by a Wisconsin Department of Public of Instruction Math and Science Partnership Grant. The project provided professional development for 60 K-12 teachers from nine school districts in Western Wisconsin, including a two week summer academy. The primary purpose of the project was to increase the academic achievement of students in mathematics and science by enhancing the content knowledge and teaching skills of classroom teachers.

The instructors of the summer academy included math, science, and education faculty from UW-Stout; and math and science faculty from Western Technical College. The instructors worked collaboratively to provide integrated and coherent classroom instruction and field experiences in math and science.

During the 2010 and 2011 WWSC Summer Academies, teachers formed ten multidisciplinary grade band teams to develop an integrated STEM curriculum project. The projects focused on the characteristics of living things and how living things interact with one another and their environment (Wisconsin Model Academic Science Standard F), the process and tools of scientific inquiry (Wisconsin Model Academic Science Standard C), and probability and statistics (Common Core State Standards for Mathematics).

Integrated STEM Curriculum Projects


Select a project from the list below to read a brief description. You may then download a “zip” archive file that contains the full curriculum package including a scenario, project overview, lesson plans, assessments and other resources.

You should be able to open a downloaded zip file by merely double clicking the file. If that doesn’t work, you can download StuffIt expander for Mac, PC, and Linux at http://www.stuffit.com. Look for “Stuffit Expander” under the Downloads menu.

2010 Projects

Loopy for Ladybugs (Grades K-2)

In this project, students will create and observe a ladybug habitat to facilitate their understanding of living things and their environment. Students will record their observations and questions in a science journal and investigate their questions using the process of scientific inquiry. Students will learn about the characteristics of living things, the life cycles of organisms, what an organism needs to survive, and how a habitat meets an organism’s needs. Students will also learn to read, interpret, and create graphs to represent data, including a bar graph to represent the number of ladybugs at each stage of their life cycle.

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Amazing Animals (Grades K-2)

In this project, students will investigate the characteristics and structures of living things, how living things interact with one another and their environment. Students will use technology, scientific methods, and mathematical processes in their investigations to collect, analyze, interpret, and display data. Students will learn about ecosystems, biomes, habitat, organisms, species, classification, food webs, life cycles, probability, and statistics.

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PONDering Ideas (Grades 3-5)

In this project, students will demonstrate an understanding of characteristics and structures of living things, the processes of life, and how living things interact with one another and their environment. Students will first investigate the water quality of a pond by measuring the levels of dissolved oxygen, pH, and temperature throughout the day. Students will use mean, median, mode, and range to analyze the data and make and interpret graphs to represent data. Finally, students will learn more about the organisms that live in and around the pond by creating a food web, terrarium, and aquarium.

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Project Karner Blue (Grades 3-5)

This project will foster curiosity and stewardship in students by establishing a butterfly garden, focusing on the Karner Blue Butterfly and wild lupine plant. Students will study, monitor, and investigate ecosystems, life cycles, photosynthesis, and the connections among these factors using the butterfly garden. Students will analyze the data collected using mean, median, and mode and draw conclusions based on the data collected.

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Aromatic Adventures (Grades 6-8)

In this project, students will study the benefits of producing and processing an indoor herb garden. The project includes options for students to design an indoor herb garden, research the benefits of different herbs, raise three common types of herbs, and complete production calculations to derive data that relates to plant growth and physiology. Students will use Excel to conduct a statistical analysis and create graphs to represent the data.

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The Amazing Forest Race (Grades 6-8)

In this project, through the application of science procedures, students will be able to navigate, sustain, and evaluate the value of a forest. Using proper tools and techniques, students will learn how to identify tree species, identify types of soil, complete soil testing, and calculate the value of a forest based on data collected in the forest. Students will estimate the height, diameter, circumference, and volume of trees to calculate the value of the forest. Students will also calculate the mean, median, mode, and range using an Excel spreadsheet.

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What’s the Dirt on Organics? (Grades 6-8)

In this project, students will participate in inquiry-based activities to compare and contrast conventional and organic farming in the areas of soil, plant growth, and food product choices available to them as consumers. Students will participate in taste testing to analyze the difference between conventional and organic foods. Students will also analyze soil content and learn what a seed needs to grow. As students collect and analyze data, they will learn about fractions, decimals, percents, statistics, and graphs.

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Creating a Frisbee Golf Course (Grades 9-12)

In this project, students will identify and research the factors important to creating a Frisbee golf course, collect data related to course design and environmental concerns, analyze the data using statistical techniques, use the data collected to make informed decisions about the process of course development, and defend and advocate the value of the Frisbee golf course. Students will also have the opportunity to work with local ecologists and parks department employees to identify and evaluate concerns related to the environmental impact of a Frisbee golf course and learn about career opportunities in Natural Resources.

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Pew – Dumpster Diving for the Environment (Grades 9-12)

In this project, students will develop an awareness and knowledge of the benefits of recycling as it pertains to a high school student and their local environment. Students will collect data on the materials found in the garbage cans of the school and community. Students will use Excel to enter, organize, and graph the data collected and determine the mean, median, mode, range, and standard deviation. The students will develop an environmental plan of action for recycling in the school and community based on the data collected and present their findings and recommendations to peers and the community.

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Something for Nothing? Repurposing Food Grade Oil into Biodiesel (Grades 9-12)

In this project, students will investigate the feasibility of converting recycled food grade oil for practical uses within their community. The students will learn to work collaboratively, gather data, represent data accurately, and draw conclusions from the collected data. Students will use mean, median, mode to analyze the data collected and bar graphs, line graphs, and pie graphs to represent the data collected. Students will have the opportunity to cooperate with community producers of food grade oil, synthesize biodiesel fuel, and analyze the fuel produced for efficiency. In addition, students will analyze the economic factors related to biofuels.

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2011 Projects

Under Siege (Grades 9-12)

After building a basic catapult to observe how changes in launch angle and force affect an objects range and height, students will improve or build a new catapult to destroy an opposing force’s castle. Students will learn how changes in design and setup will change an object’s motion when launched.

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Tugging Tootsies Through the Trough (Grades 9-12)

Students will investigate and design a prototype to carry a product through water in the most efficient manner. These boats will be used in conjunction with the study of surface area, volume, velocity, acceleration, and free-body (vector) diagrams.

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The Simple Life - A Study of Simple Machines Used in Colonial and Pioneer Days (Grades 3-5)

In this project, students will explore how simple machines were used during the colonial and pioneer days and how simple machines have changed over time. Students will apply their knowledge of forces and geometry to develop a simple machine project and present their projects to the class. Note: Students will need knowledge about the concepts of friction, gravity, and force before this unit.

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Playing Around with Force and Motion (Grades pK-2)

Students will explore how the forces of gravity and friction affect how they play on playground equipment at school. Measurement data, questions, and observations will be recorded in a journal. As a final project, students will design and create a piece of playground equipment, explaining the forces employed when using it.

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If You Build It, Will It Fly? (Grades 6-8)

Students will participate in project-based learning activities to investigate how forces affect the motion of objects. Students will design and construct a model glider and consider the combination of forces that impact their design and construction of a model glider.

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Forces 500 (Grades 3-5)

Students will be investigating forces and motion by building and testing race cars. They will use geometry concepts for measuring and determining relationships among shapes.

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Food for Thought (Grades 9-12)

Design, produce, advertise and market cookies (or other food items) using geometry and physics themes. Topics included are forces, force diagrams, simple machines, business planning and measurement.

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Flying Food (Grades 6-8)

In this project, students will be challenged to design a package that has the least amount of volume and materials and the most amount of durability in order to protect the precious contents, saltine crackers, from breaking. To test the durability of their packages, the students will be dropping them from different heights and checking for unbroken crackers.

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Catapults - Launching into Physics (Grades 6-8)

In this project, students will identify the relationship of speed, force, and trajectory to on the distance a spherical object will travel when launched by a catapult. Students will also determine which variables can be altered to reach a predetermined distance and calculate the ideal force and angle to launch push an object a certain distance.

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Cars III...The Race is On (Grades pK-2)

This project will introduce students to the characteristics of force, motion and simple machines, as well as measurement, geometry and data collection. Students will be using scientific methods, technology, and mathematical processes while designing, building and racing model vehicles.

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