Subjects
 English Language Arts
 Math
 Science
Skills
 Critical Thinking
About Common Sense Privacy Ratings
Pros: The performance tasks are extremely thorough, result in student products, and cover key concepts in science and math.
Cons: Individualized student progress tracking and remediation tools are lacking.
Bottom Line: Excellent, wellthoughtout resources for developing problemsolving skills in the classroom.
Teachers can use Defined STEM to supplement their science and math curricula. They can assign all or part of the tasks in the unit folders, making assignments customizable to the needs of the class. Since most of the tasks involve realworld applications of concepts, they also can be used as enrichment activities for advanced students. Or,show the videos as a way to hook kids when first introducing a topic.
Continue reading Show lessDefined STEM has performance tasks, literacy tasks, and other resources for kids in grades K through 12, although the literacy tasks begin at grade 3. Many resources are aligned with Common Core Math, Common Core ELA, and Next Generation Science Standards. However, considering that this is a STEM resource, the science alignment is on the weak side.
Resources are organized by grade band, task type (performance, career, or literacy), and unit topics. There's also a chart that allows users to search by standard. Teachers can use the Task Center to organize and customize tasks and rubrics. A teacher dashboard exists, but its function is not entirely clear, and the links to professional development modules were not working at the time of this review.
Performance tasks, which are often difficult to develop, are at the heart of Defined STEM and are an excellent way for kids to use criticalthinking and problemsolving skills. Concepts are presented in realworld situations, challenging kids to apply their knowledge in unique ways. Connecting the performance tasks to careers is a clever way to give more meaning to science and math and inspire kids to learn. The literacy tasks empower kids to use reading and writing skills while learning about science, math, history, and more.
Defined STEM is an innovative resource that brings together important elements of STEM education. The focus of content is science and math. However, there are strong connections to engineering and technology, and most tasks require kids to read and evaluate informational texts. Rubrics are provided, although most are generic to a certain subject area or skill. However, users can customize any rubric to better align with specific tasks or assignments.
Overall Rating
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
The realworld connections within each resource are bound to excite and inspire kids of all ages.
Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly bakedin, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
The resources are centered on projectbased learning, which is an effective way for kids to build a wide range of skills. Remediation activities could help students who need more support.
Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
The site is well organized and easy to navigate, and a blog appears to be updated regularly. The professional development modules were not functioning at the time of this review.
Key Standards Supported
Building Functions
 HSF.BF.3
Identify the effect on the graph of replacing f(x) by f(x) + k, k f(x), f(kx), and f(x + k) for specific values of k (both positive and negative); find the value of k given the graphs. Experiment with cases and illustrate an explanation of the effects on the graph using technology. Include recognizing even and odd functions from their graphs and algebraic expressions for them.
Creating Equations
 HSA.CED.1
Create equations and inequalities in one variable and use them to solve problems. Include equations arising from linear and quadratic functions, and simple rational and exponential functions.
 HSA.CED.2
Create equations in two or more variables to represent relationships between quantities; graph equations on coordinate axes with labels and scales.
 HSA.CED.3
Represent constraints by equations or inequalities, and by systems of equations and/or inequalities, and interpret solutions as viable or non viable options in a modeling context. For example, represent inequalities describing nutritional and cost constraints on combinations of different foods.
 HSA.CED.4
Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. For example, rearrange Ohm’s law V = IR to highlight resistance R.
Geometry
 K.G.1
Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.
 7.G.1
Solve problems involving scale drawings of geometric figures, including computing actual lengths and areas from a scale drawing and reproducing a scale drawing at a different scale.
 8.G.9
Know the formulas for the volumes of cones, cylinders, and spheres and use them to solve realworld and mathematical problems.
Interpreting Categorical And Quantitative Data
 HSS.ID.1
Represent data with plots on the real number line (dot plots, histograms, and box plots).
 HSS.ID.2
Use statistics appropriate to the shape of the data distribution to compare center (median, mean) and spread (interquartile range, standard deviation) of two or more different data sets.
 HSS.ID.3
Interpret differences in shape, center, and spread in the context of the data sets, accounting for possible effects of extreme data points (outliers).
 HSS.ID.4
Use the mean and standard deviation of a data set to fit it to a normal distribution and to estimate population percentages. Recognize that there are data sets for which such a procedure is not appropriate. Use calculators, spreadsheets, and tables to estimate areas under the normal curve.
 HSS.ID.5
Summarize categorical data for two categories in twoway frequency tables. Interpret relative frequencies in the context of the data (including joint, marginal, and conditional relative frequencies). Recognize possible associations and trends in the data.
 HSS.ID.6
Represent data on two quantitative variables on a scatter plot, and describe how the variables are related.
 HSS.ID.6.a
Fit a function to the data; use functions fitted to data to solve problems in the context of the data. Use given functions or choose a function suggested by the context. Emphasize linear, quadratic, and exponential models.
 HSS.ID.6.b
Informally assess the fit of a function by plotting and analyzing residuals.
 HSS.ID.6.c
Fit a linear function for a scatter plot that suggests a linear association.
 HSS.ID.7
Interpret the slope (rate of change) and the intercept (constant term) of a linear model in the context of the data.
 HSS.ID.8
Compute (using technology) and interpret the correlation coefficient of a linear fit.
 HSS.ID.9
Distinguish between correlation and causation.
Interpreting Functions
 HSF.IF.1
Understand that a function from one set (called the domain) to another set (called the range) assigns to each element of the domain exactly one element of the range. If f is a function and x is an element of its domain, then f(x) denotes the output of f corresponding to the input x. The graph of f is the graph of the equation y = f(x).
 HSF.IF.2
Use function notation, evaluate functions for inputs in their domains, and interpret statements that use function notation in terms of a context.
 HSF.IF.3
Recognize that sequences are functions, sometimes defined recursively, whose domain is a subset of the integers. For example, the Fibonacci sequence is defined recursively by f(0) = f(1) = 1, f(n+1) = f(n) + f(n1) for n ≥ 1.
 HSF.IF.4
For a function that models a relationship between two quantities, interpret key features of graphs and tables in terms of the quantities, and sketch graphs showing key features given a verbal description of the relationship. Key features include: intercepts; intervals where the function is increasing, decreasing, positive, or negative; relative maximums and minimums; symmetries; end behavior; and periodicity.
 HSF.IF.5
Relate the domain of a function to its graph and, where applicable, to the quantitative relationship it describes. For example, if the function h(n) gives the number of personhours it takes to assemble n engines in a factory, then the positive integers would be an appropriate domain for the function.
 HSF.IF.6
Calculate and interpret the average rate of change of a function (presented symbolically or as a table) over a specified interval. Estimate the rate of change from a graph.
 HSF.IF.7
Graph functions expressed symbolically and show key features of the graph, by hand in simple cases and using technology for more complicated cases.
 HSF.IF.7.a
Graph linear and quadratic functions and show intercepts, maxima, and minima.
 HSF.IF.7.b
Graph square root, cube root, and piecewisedefined functions, including step functions and absolute value functions.
 HSF.IF.7.c
Graph polynomial functions, identifying zeros when suitable factorizations are available, and showing end behavior.
 HSF.IF.7.d
(+) Graph rational functions, identifying zeros and asymptotes when suitable factorizations are available, and showing end behavior.
 HSF.IF.7.e
Graph exponential and logarithmic functions, showing intercepts and end behavior, and trigonometric functions, showing period, midline, and amplitude.
 HSF.IF.8
Write a function defined by an expression in different but equivalent forms to reveal and explain different properties of the function.
 HSF.IF.8.a
Use the process of factoring and completing the square in a quadratic function to show zeros, extreme values, and symmetry of the graph, and interpret these in terms of a context.
 HSF.IF.8.b
Use the properties of exponents to interpret expressions for exponential functions. For example, identify percent rate of change in functions such as y = (1.02)t, y = (0.97)t, y = (1.01)12t, y = (1.2)t/10, and classify them as representing exponential growth or decay.
 HSF.IF.9
Compare properties of two functions each represented in a different way (algebraically, graphically, numerically in tables, or by verbal descriptions). For example, given a graph of one quadratic function and an algebraic expression for another, say which has the larger maximum.
Measurement And Data
 1.MD.4
Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another.
 2.MD.1
Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.
 3.MD.3
Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one and twostep “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs. For example, draw a bar graph in which each square in the bar graph might represent 5 pets.
 3.MD.4
Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units— whole numbers, halves, or quarters.
 4.MD.1
Know relative sizes of measurement units within one system of units including km, m, cm; kg, g; lb, oz.; l, ml; hr, min, sec. Within a single system of measurement, express measurements in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Record measurement equivalents in a two column table. For example, know that 1 ft is 12 times as long as 1 in. Express the length of a 4 ft snake as 48 in. Generate a conversion table for feet and inches listing the number pairs (1, 12), (2, 24), (3, 36), ...
 4.MD.2
Use the four operations to solve word problems involving distances, intervals of time, liquid volumes, masses of objects, and money, including problems involving simple fractions or decimals, and problems that require expressing measurements given in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Represent measurement quantities using diagrams such as number line diagrams that feature a measurement scale.
 4.MD.3
Apply the area and perimeter formulas for rectangles in real world and mathematical problems. For example, find the width of a rectangular room given the area of the flooring and the length, by viewing the area formula as a multiplication equation with an unknown factor.
 5.MD.1
Convert among differentsized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multistep, real world problems.
Modeling With Geometry
 HSG.MG.1
Use geometric shapes, their measures, and their properties to describe objects (e.g., modeling a tree trunk or a human torso as a cylinder).
 HSG.MG.2
Apply concepts of density based on area and volume in modeling situations (e.g., persons per square mile, BTUs per cubic foot).
 HSG.MG.3
Apply geometric methods to solve design problems (e.g., designing an object or structure to satisfy physical constraints or minimize cost; working with typographic grid systems based on ratios).
Number And Operations In Base Ten
 1.NBT.1
Count to 120, starting at any number less than 120. In this range, read and write numerals and represent a number of objects with a written numeral.
 4.NBT.4
Fluently add and subtract multidigit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.
 4.NBT.5
Multiply a whole number of up to four digits by a onedigit whole number, and multiply two twodigit numbers, using strategies based on place value and the properties of operations. Illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models.
 4.NBT.6
Find wholenumber quotients and remainders with up to fourdigit dividends and onedigit divisors, using strategies based on place value, the properties of operations, and/or the relationship between multiplication and division. Illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models.
 5.NBT.5
Fluently multiply multidigit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.
 5.NBT.6
Find wholenumber quotients of whole numbers with up to fourdigit dividends and twodigit divisors, using strategies based on place value, the properties of operations, and/or the relationship between multiplication and division. Illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models.
 5.NBT.7
Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals to hundredths, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.
Ratios And Proportional Relationships
 6.RP.1
Understand the concept of a ratio and use ratio language to describe a ratio relationship between two quantities. For example, “The ratio of wings to beaks in the bird house at the zoo was 2:1, because for every 2 wings there was 1 beak.” “For every vote candidate A received, candidate C received nearly three votes.”
 7.RP.1
Compute unit rates associated with ratios of fractions, including ratios of lengths, areas and other quantities measured in like or different units. For example, if a person walks 1/2 mile in each 1/4 hour, compute the unit rate as the complex fraction 1/2/1/4 miles per hour, equivalently 2 miles per hour.
 7.RP.2
Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities.
 7.RP.2.a
Decide whether two quantities are in a proportional relationship, e.g., by testing for equivalent ratios in a table or graphing on a coordinate plane and observing whether the graph is a straight line through the origin.
 7.RP.2.b
Identify the constant of proportionality (unit rate) in tables, graphs, equations, diagrams, and verbal descriptions of proportional relationships.
 7.RP.2.c
Represent proportional relationships by equations. For example, if total cost t is proportional to the number n of items purchased at a constant price p, the relationship between the total cost and the number of items can be expressed as t = pn.
 7.RP.2.d
Explain what a point (x, y) on the graph of a proportional relationship means in terms of the situation, with special attention to the points (0, 0) and (1, r) where r is the unit rate.
 7.RP.3
Use proportional relationships to solve multistep ratio and percent problems. Examples: simple interest, tax, markups and markdowns, gratuities and commissions, fees, percent increase and decrease, percent error.
Statistics And Probability
 6.SP.5
Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context, such as by:
The Number System
 7.NS.1
Apply and extend previous understandings of addition and subtraction to add and subtract rational numbers; represent addition and subtraction on a horizontal or vertical number line diagram.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
 RI.K.1
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
 RI.1.1
Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
 RI.2.1
Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
 RI.3.1
Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
 RI.4.1
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
 RI.5.1
Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
 RI.6.1
Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 RI.7.1
Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 RI.8.1
Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 RI.910.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
 RI.1112.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
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