All students should be provided with opportunities to develop conceptual understanding prior to procedural fluency (NCTM 2014; CCSSI 2010). To develop students' conceptual understanding, teachers must learn such skills as how to select, plan, and enact cognitively demanding tasks (CDT) (Lambert and Stylianou 2013; Smith, Bill, and Hughes 2008) and to evaluate evidence of student learning (Hiebert et al. 2007). Therefore, teachers need opportunities to develop these skills to maximize their students' learning outcomes. Starting with a well-designed CDT is essential. In other words, before planning the Justin D. Boyle and Sarah B. Kaiser enactment of a task, teachers should analyze the task and make revisions to align it with student learning goals that promote conceptual understanding (Hiebert et al. 2007; Smith and Stein 2011).
Justin D. Boyle and Sarah B. Kaiser
Karen D. Owen, Lynn J. Kaiser, Sarah B. Bush and Kristin L. Cook
In this article, the authors share how a class of fifth-grade students from an urban elementary school channeled their creativity and critical thinking in an engaging STEAM investigation. Contributors to the iSTEM (Integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) department share ideas and activities that stimulate student interest in the integrated fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in K–grade 6 classrooms.