Interpreting Integrated STEM: Sustaining Pedagogical Innovation Within a Public Middle School Context

Margery Gardner, John W. Tillotson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Integrated STEM education leverages interconnections between science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in order to reflect upon how each discipline operates within real world contexts. Students benefit from the integrated STEM approach because it values the real-life experiences of students along with the hands-on applications that mirror professional STEM work. Nevertheless, integrated STEM instruction remains ill-defined with many gaps evident in the existing research of how implementation explicitly works. The school setting central to this case study was a suburban public middle school that had sustained an integrated STEM program for a period of over 5 years. Through the use of phenomenological qualitative inquiry, we focused on both teachers’ and students’ experiences of participation in one integrated STEM model. Three major themes emerged as part of this inquiry. First, teachers engaged in continual reflection that along with district supports contributed to the durability of the model. Second, teachers and student engaged in dynamic learning transactions based on the particular task and concept covered. Third, science projects anchored learning opportunities deemed most successful by participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1283-1300
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Co-teaching
  • Interdisciplinary instruction
  • STEM education
  • Secondary education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Mathematics


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