Teachers’ Reported Use of Phenomenon-Based Learning in Secondary STEM Classrooms

Danielle R Towns-Belton, Tennessee State University


Even though phenomena, observations or experiences that appear in our lives daily, areparticularly important in STEM, historically they have been a missing component inscience education, which frequently focused on general content knowledge.Concentrating primarily on content knowledge does not always give students the tools toapply knowledge to real-world situations. Initiating learning through the lens of a real-world phenomenon encourages students to build STEM knowledge. Rather than having adisconnected learning experience, with phenomenon-based learning, students are moreequipped to make sense of the world around them, design solutions, and problems solve.The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how STEM educators implementphenomenon-based learning and what techniques they use to increase STEM literacy intheir classrooms. The participants in this study included STEM educators in an urbanMiddle Tennessee school district. Data sources included demographic surveys, interviewswith each of the participants, and curricular artifacts. The research question that guidedthis study was “How are STEM educators implementing phenomenon-based learning?”Insight into the teachers’ motivational, planning and implementation process wasrevealed. Several conclusions were drawn based on this study of teachers’ reported useof phenomenon-based learning including 1) teachers chose activities primarily basedupon administrative support, the more resources, the more rigorous the activity; 2)teachers select activities that will gain attention and interest of their students based uponacademy, hobbies, and culture; and 3) STEM literacy is promoted primarily with the useof journal articles while alternative options are available.

Subject Area

Science education|Curriculum development|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Danielle R Towns-Belton, "Teachers’ Reported Use of Phenomenon-Based Learning in Secondary STEM Classrooms" (2022). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI28970199.