VC STEM has developed the VC STEM 3D Tool: Discover-Dream-Design to define the attributes of “high-quality STEM learning.” The five attributes (listed below) were determined to be critical elements of high-quality by our VC STEM work groups.
  • Engagement: The degree to which an individual or group is active in STEM learning and exploration in a personally relevant way – internally, externally, and/or socially.  Igniting student imaginations and curiosity to explore.
  • Integration: Utilizing the point of intersection between the knowledge and skills of STE(A)M content areas. Engaging in authentic problem solving to apply multidisciplinary connections between STEM and other disciplines.
  • Experiential: Developing the characteristics of diligence and perseverance through applied, hands-on utilization of the Scientific Inquiry and the Engineering Design process.
  • Innovation and Creativity: Creating an environment that encourages exploration of new ideas, methodologies, and problem solving that establishes a culture of innovation and creativity.
  • Socially and Culturally Connected:  Understanding social responsibility, with sensitivity to cultural diversity and equitable access to STEM experiences for all learners; relating student investigations to the local community and the exploration of STEM opportunities and careers.
STEM education programs across Ventura County will use this tool to self-assess the quality STEM teaching & learning based on the five attributes.  The tool incorporates distinctive practices worthy of attention with observable examples of the attributes in a variety of settings from classroom and out-of-school-time environments for early learning to eighth grade. This tool provides a common language for quality programming. Learning environments are encouraged to self-assess their programming using the 3D Tool and to apply for recognition for a Golden Gear Award at the annual STEM-tastic event. The 3D Tool is available as the full tool with practices worthy of attention to highlight each of the attributes as well as a shorter implementation guide. The tool itself is also available. Four recommendations were made by VC STEM regarding elements of high-quality STEM learning and a full description of these recommendations is available for download.
  • Igniting Family Engagement
  • Build STEM Bridges through Collaboration and Partnership
  • Paving the Path through Learning Progressions
  • Savvy Organizations Navigate the Future with a STEM Lead

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