23 Formative Digital Resources: A STEM, PBL, Common Core Series - A Goldmine of Resources

23 Formative Digital Resources: A STEM, PBL, Common Core Series - A Goldmine of Resources

Welcome to a series that is must read for any PBL or STEM educator. It will include information to reflect and build upon as you consider both PBL and STEM. Best of all, it will finish with over 50 amazing resources you will want to investigate. First, to ensure you do not miss one of these valuable posts or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Quick Note I have been getting a lot of requests asking if I will make a visit to your school, organization, or conference. Please be aware that I am available to assist you in providing professional development and presentations. I have had the opportunity to network in person across the country and invite your inquiry at my booking information page and at mjgormans@gmail.com.

The STEM and PBL Series

Part 4… 23 Formative Digital Resources ….A STEM, PBL, Common Core Series… A Goldmine of Resources

Project Based Learning is built on lessons/activities rich in formative learning experiences along with student interaction and production. Note that I did mention formative learning, two powerful words for the 21st century classroom. It can best be described that formative learning molds, or forms, the learning experience. The goal is of course a successful summative assessment. I would like to go beyond that by stating, "that real learning takes place."

Remember, formative learning may include check off sheets, conferencing, observations, discussions, exit slips and a multitude of other items including traditional quizzes. There can also be formative learning experiences that include labs, inquiry, gaming, internet activities, use of any manipulative, simulations, and anything else that could be used as a scaffold for student success in the lesson.

It is the formative learning that is a key to the PBL Essential Element of "revision and reflection." It is this element that allows student to take risks, have minor setback, innovate, apply strategy, remix, evaluate, succeed, and learn! Enjoy the multitude of formative possibilities below. I would like to learn from you. Please share with me any others websites you think should be included to facilitate STEM. Remember that formative is more than assessment… it is learning. It can come in many ways!

  • Activities
  • Simulations
  • Games
  • Reflections
  • Journals
  • Peer review
  • Videos
  • Peer and Teacher interaction
  • Readings
  • Critical and Creative brainstorming and thinking


  • Siemens Discovery STEM Academy – Vast amount of lessons, multimedia and activities, along with webinars, that are some of the finest for both student learning and teacher professional development.
  • eGFI Dream Up The Future – A huge database that will engage students with its colorful and student centered interface. Make sure to check all the links, including all the STEM resources found in the Teacher Resource area.
  • NSF Resources For STEM Education – A great collection of teacher resources, instructional materials, assessment, and up-to-date research regarding STEM.
  • PBS STEM Education Resources Center – Great information from PBS including engaging lessons, activities, and of course those award winning PBS videos.
  • NSDL – The National Science Digital Library has some outstanding resources that include numerous links to some great STEM programs and organizations.
  • Design Squad Nation – Another great service from PBS filled with some entertaining and engaging ways to integrate STEM into any classroom.
  • Museum of Science – Great database to search for lessons and ideas involving science, math, and engineering from one of the finest science museums located in Boston.
  • Discover Engineering - Let your students discover engineering in some very exciting and engaging ways. From skateboards to roller coasters the activities and videos will bring you back for more.
  • Google Science Fair - How about a virtual science fair that can go beyond your classroom, district, state, and even nation? This is an event that will turn on the 21st century skills and the new Common Core!
  • KhanAcademy - Ready to flip the STEM classroom? Then check out these thousands of videos from Khan! Every area of Science and Math can be explored in short informative video clips. Do a total flip or just reinforce skills in a short student controlled lesson.
  • TeachersDomain - Want to continue the flip? Then visit this site from WGBH, a PBS station in Boston. You will find videos, activities, and simulations! Best of all, you can archive it in your own classroom at the Teachers Domain Site.
  • PBS Teachers - Brand new site filled with lots of resources and videos. Search by grade level and curriculum area. Teachers can create an online classroom filled with outstanding and engaging material.
  • WolframAlpha - Not your typical search engine. This is a computational search engine that is a plus for any STEM educator. It is easy to use and its ability to find data is just plain fun!
  • CIESE- Dedicated to improving K-16 STEM education through the meaningful and effective integration of technology, CIESE fosters the use of research-based instructional methodologies and technologies to improve and pioneer novel technologies to explore and better understand their impact on improved education and society.
  • My Science Box- At My Science Box you’ll find complete, scaffolded lesson plans to teach a 4-6 week middle school science unit through activities, projects, and field trips.
  • Cases Online - A collection of inquiry-based lessons to engage students by exploring the science behind real-world problems. Promotes self-directed and life-long learners, critical thinkers and keen problem solvers. Cases are grounded in Problem-Based Learning (PBL), Investigative Case-Based Learning (ICBL),
  • Physics Online - Check out the projects link for some ideas that just might start a project.
  • Molecules Matters - provides PBL instruction and support for students and teachers with an emphasis on nanotechnology.
  • Science Net Links – A premiere site for STEM resources. What a wonderful place for educators to find quality teaching tools, interactives, podcasts, and hands-on activities, and best of all… it’s free!
  • MIT+K12 - An amazing site that allows teachers to ask MIT students to make a video to make a difference. A site filled with amazing possibility and engagement!
  • MIT BLOSSOMS - This incredible Video Library contains over 50 math and science lessons, all freely available to teachers as streaming video, Internet downloads, DVDs and videotapes.
  • NeoK12 - Wonderful site with multimedia, simulations, and activities to help with formative learning. Blog Link For Write Up. Example
  • Molecular Workbench - Hundreds of simulation activities to allow students to better see science.
  • NASA Wavelength - NASA has hit a home run with this sites containing thousands of STEM based resources.
  • Physics Central - All things physics with awesome application to real life
  • Encyclopedia of Life - A multimedia goldmine of life on earth
  • Figure This - Activities based on real life math applications
  • Interactives - Great visuals that help students understand math and science theory.
  • Nobel Prize Labs - Great simulations that activities that connect to various Nobel Prizes.
  • Illumination - Great set of lessons and activities for all grade levels.
  • Illumination Web Links - Great set of web links and lessons sorted by standards.
  • Seeing Science - Fantastic ideas to help students really see science
  • Odyssey of the Mind - A selection of challenging activities based on design to push critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication with groups of students.

Michael Gorman oversees one-to-one laptop programs and digital professional development for Southwest Allen County Schools near Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is a consultant for Discovery Education, ISTE, My Big Campus, and November Learning and is on the National Faculty for The Buck Institute for Education. His awards include district Teacher of the Year, Indiana STEM Educator of the Year and Microsoft’s 365 Global Education Hero. Read more at 21centuryedtech.wordpress.com.