STEM Learners 1.5

  • 1.5 - Students demonstrate their learning through performance-based assessments and express their conclusions through elaborated explanations of their thinking.


    Teachers at BMSA excel at using performance-based assessments that allow all students to present and demonstrate what they have learned.  Assessing project-based learning is a strength for BMSA.  Most students have multiple opportunities to present their STEM learning to a range of stakeholders within and outside of the school.  Students present to parents, peers, and STEM workers in our local community.  Students have multiple opportunities to clarify, elaborate on, and defend their thinking and conclusions using verbal, symbolic, and visual means.  Teachers utilize rubrics for presentations, projects, written work, and digital portfolios.

    An area we would like to improve on is ensuring that all students are provided multiple opportunities to present their STEM learning to a range of stakeholders within and outside of the school. Each year, we seek to expand our current list of stakeholders to partner with us in STEM education.  To sustain our strength, we will continue to provide opportunities for our teachers to share performance assessments and multiple ways for students to demonstrate their learning with each other and those in our community.

    Performance-based Assessments at Barbara Morgan STEM Academy

PBL Presentations

  • pbl presentations
    Students work together or independently on real-world problems that require planning, research, discussion, and the ability to verbalize solutions.  Students present their PBL solutions to parents, classmates, other classrooms, and community stakeholders.

Student Explanations

  • 3rd grad math explanations team collaboration stem journal explanation
    Students use iPad applications such as Educreations, Camera, and Book Creator to record and explain their work.  Many teachers use platforms such as Seesaw and Edmodo to allow students to share these photos, videos, presentations, and digital projects with parents and other family members. STEM Journals are also used to record what was learned and/or steps taken in the design process.


  • stem demonstrations
    All students have opportunities to clarify, elaborate, and/or defend their thinking and conclusions using verbal products, especially in math.  Students are able to defend their thinking by participating in student led Socratic Seminars or through presentations to classmates, parents, and/or other stakeholders.  Students often extend their learning at home and share their learning back at school through opportunities such as "Scientist of the Week" or "Genius Hour." 


  • Rubrics
    Rubrics assure student projects and presentations are measured on 21st century learning skills and competencies. Many teachers offer student-led conferences during the year to give students another opportunity to present STEM learning.

Community Connections

  • community connections
    Students often seek input from experts in the field when working on their PBL's.  Parents, stakeholders, and these experts are invited to their final presentations.  A few examples include:

    • 2nd graders designed equipment modifications for Paralympic Athletes. They wrote letters to the Paralympic Committee, shared their digital presentations with them, and invited Paralympic athlete, Sammy Tucker, to their PBL share out.
    • A group of 5th graders helped to design our school garden space and estimate the cost of supplies.  They met with a master gardener for feedback before presenting their design to the BMSA gardening committee.  Home Depot partnered with us to donate tools, labor, and materials.  A ceremony was held where students were able to share out with BMSA staff and students, community members, Idaho's first lady, Lori Otter, members of Home Depot's outreach team, and Barbara Morgan.
    • Kindergarten students researching animals that will be added to the Gorongoza exhibit at Zoo Boise to make sure that their needs will be met.  Zoo officials communicated through e-mails with the classes and were invited to their PBL share out.  Students raised funds to adopt the West African Crowned Crane for a year and took a trip to Zoo Boise to visit it.