STEM PBL Teachers’ Resources

NEBHE’s PBL Projects have produced a clearinghouse of teachers’ resources to be used in the implementation and assessment of the PBL Challenges. The resulting teachers’ resources have been developed and revised based on field-testing findings from the STEM PBL and PHOTON PBL projects.

What is the PBL Education Process?

Watch the How-To’ Video to Learn More!

The PBL Projects approach to assessing student learning includes three separate measures: content knowledgeconceptual knowledge and problem-solving ability. This model, developed and field-tested during NEBHE’s previous STEM PBL and PHOTON PBL projects, is illustrated below.


Content knowledge is assessed by content quizzes specific to each PBL Challenge, concept mapping assesses conceptual knowledge, and problem-solving ability is assessed by a final Challenge report. A guide to team assessment can be found here. For further information on assessment strategies for PBL, please read the guide to Assessing Student Learning in PBL by Advanced Manufacturing PBL Co-Principal Investigator Nicholas Massa, Professor, Laser and Fiber Optic Technology, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC).

Additional Teachers’ Resources Include:

  • Sample STEM PBL Implementation Stories
    • A sample of Implementation Stories from each PBL Project (AM PBL, STEM PBL and PHOTON PBL) have been compiled from teacher and student survey feedback received after a Challenge is completed. The compiled stories are drawn from different levels of education to show a sampling of how the Challenges are used in real high school, two- and four-year college classrooms. In each Challenges’ Teacher Resources section, a wider breadth of implementation stories exist that pertain specifically to the implementation of that Challenge. This section of the Challenge is password protected to prevent student access. Passwords can be obtained upon request by contacting

Challenge Partners & Collaborators

The STEM PBL project has developed a series of six multimedia industry-based Challenges designed to stimulate problem-based learning in the classroom. With a focus on sustainable technologies, the Challenge topics include solar and wind power, green chemistry sustainable agriculture, and energy efficient lighting. STEM PBL Challenge partners and project collaborators can be found below.

Beyond Benign, Green Chemistry Education, Wilmington, MA

Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, Sustainable Agriculture, Carver, MA

FloDesign, Wind Power, Waltham, MA

Johnson & Johnson, Green Chemistry in Personal Care Products, Skillman, NJ

RSL Fiber Systems, Energy Efficient Lighting Systems, East Hartford, CT

SPG Solar, Solar Power, Novato, CA/Tucson, AZ

Sustainability Collaborative, Professional Alliance for Universal Sustainability, International

The Tookany/Takony Frankford Watershed Partnership, Watershed Management, Philadelphia, PA


PBL Pedagogy Courses Developed at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU)

During NEBHE’s STEM PBL project funded by NSF-ATE, Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PI’s) at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) adapted pre- and in-service technology and engineering education courses to include pedagogical lessons in PBL.

Students enrolled in the Teaching Technology and Engineering Education (TE-399) pre-service undergraduate course and the STEM PBL Applications for Science and Technology Teachers (TE-506) in-service graduate course experience PBL as a student in a STEM classroom. Pre- and in-service instructors are formed into teams to solve selected STEM PBL and PHOTON PBL Challenges (multimedia case studies) are offered at varying levels of instruction in order to receive a hands-on education in how to implement PBL into their own classrooms: structured (entirely instructor-led, least student autonomy), guided (instructor guided, increased student autonomy) and open-ended (instructor as facilitator, most student autonomy).

Through participation in the CSSU courses, pre- and in-service technology and engineering education instructors:

  • Learn how to incorporate problem based learning in the classroom by using NEBHE’s field-tested web-based PBL Challenges developed by the STEM PBL and PHOTON PBL projects.
  • Experience PBL as students tasked with solving a PBL Challenge would.
  • Receive a comprehensive overview of student and teachers’ resources developed by the project.
  • Learn field-tested assessment and implementation strategies for problem based learning.
  • Receive access to the PHOTON PBL and STEM PBL instructional materials.
  • Gain access to a PBL listserv for continued networking with the PBL project team and PBL practitioners.

For more information on the CCSU PBL pedagogy courses, please contact James DeLaura, chair, Technology and Engineering Education Department, CCSU at


Video Resources for STEM PBL

STEM PBL Co-PI Dr. Nicholas Massa and professor of laser electro-optics technology at Springfield Technical Community College, was interviewed on the Regional Educational Technology Network (RETN) in Burlington, Vt. on July 6, 2011. Massa presented effective instructional alternatives in STEM education that engage students by introducing the STEM PBL FloDesign Challenge as an example of a problem based learning activity in practice. Doug Webster, State Coordinator of Career & Technical Education for the Vermont Department of Education, President of the National Association for Workforce Improvement (NAWI), and a STEM PBL Advisory Committee Member, interviewed Massa.



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