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Project-Based Learning: STEM to STEAM

with Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy

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Find out why the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy (DPEA) might be a model for a new kind of public education, via project-based learning in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM).
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Project-Based Learning: STEM to STEAM
Video Duration: 0s 2h 48m Appropriate for all Updated Sep 12, 2014


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In 2002, a school district in Goleta, California, attempted an experiment. They introduced DPEA, the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy, a program designed to teach twenty-first-century skills via project-based learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Once "art" was added to the program (STEAM) they attracted 50% more girls, and got better adoption from parents, mentors, the outside community, and students. The Academy has now been running for over ten years and is recognized as a pioneer in education reform, prizing independent thought and modern skills over standardized testing and book-based lectures. Here the students, teachers, and administrators tell us why it works. Learn about their cutting-edge robotics program, multidisciplinary approach, and the unique collaborations that happen between students, teachers, and parents.

When you're done watching the documentary, make sure to check out the bonus conversations in the Interviews chapter.

Education + Elearning


The engineering academy is very different compared to other classes in your normal high school. You have to continue to keep learning towards one final project. You're programming something that you actually had the idea for. You're machining something for your own project. Students are able to do things that people would never believe were possible in a high school setting. The basketballs go up through the elevator and then into our hooded shooter. The hood actuates so that it can be shot from different angles into the hoop.

In the early days, it was very small, a couple of classrooms with many obstacles along the way. The engineering academy really gave me the opportunity to cement my passion for science and engineering. You really have to be ready to rethink your design and constantly improve upon it. The kids did not realize they were actually at school anymore. We were actually working beyond the bells. They were really motivated in this case I wanna make this thing good.

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