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STEMPunX Lesson Plan Suggestions

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STEMPunX podcasts make great homework assignments. ​

Students can listen to a podcast then either write about or discuss the topics presented in the episode as an assignment in itself or to launch their own inquiry or research. ​​

Overview & Purpose

What will be learned and why?

  • Primary learning objectives will be achieved through making STEM connections.

  • Knowledge and understanding about multiple subject areas can be achieved by identifying Science, Technology, Engineering, and/or Math elements in each episode.

  • All subject areas (Math, Science, Arts, Social Studies, Language Arts etc.), can use STEMPunX as a jumping off point to convey lesson content involving episode topics. (see specific episode suggestions)​


(Skills/information that will be taught)

  • Each episode can have different learning outcomes. (See provided episode examples)

  • STEMPunX can be used to achieve learning targets, using high interest, student-centered approaches that address Common Core curriculum standards.




  • Students will provide evidence to support their conclusions with research and/or demonstrations.

  • These inquiry skills will satisfy demands across academic domains as well as offer opportunities for cross-curriculum cooperation.​


(Check for student understanding)

  • Students will demonstrate mastery of learning targets and understanding of STEM connections in written or discussion formats that address Common Core curriculum requirements: speaking, listening, reading, writing, and language.

  • Students will verify reliability of credible sources through citation of proper research.


(to reinforce the lesson)

  • Writing, demonstration, and/or discussion that explores compelling questions. 


STEMPunX can help elicit skills students need for their future and to be academically successful in the present.

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving.

  • Collaboration across networks and leading by influence.

  • Agility and adaptability.

  • Initiative and entrepreneurialism.

  • Effective oral and written communication.

  • Accessing and analyzing information.

  • Curiosity and imagination.

  • Listening

STEMPunX is written to support and inspire teachers

with alternative methods of addressing

Common Core Standards 


Some specific standards that the STEMPunX podcast can reinforce are:  Speaking, Listening, Reading, Writing, Language, Differentiation, Rigor and relevance framework 


While the standards set grade-specific goals, they do not define how the standards should be taught or which materials should be used to support students. States and districts recognize that there will need to be a range of supports in place to ensure that all students, including those with special needs and English language learners, can master the standards. 


STEMPunx is accessible to English language Learners due to its audio and video components that include step-by-step explanations and domain-specific vocabulary. Research confirms these visual and audio cues allow intellectual access for many subjects.


Some thoughts about how STEMPunX can buttress Core Curriculum standards:

  1. STEMPunX is “Research and evidence based” 

  2. Student discussions can address topics in a “Clear, understandable, and consistent” manner. 

  3. STEM itself is “Aligned with college and career expectations”

  4. Student responses to questions will demonstrate comprehension “Based on rigorous content and application of knowledge through higher-order thinking skills”

  5. Our lesson plans are “Built upon the strengths and lessons of current state standards”

  6. STEMPunX is not just a local program but is “Informed by other top-performing countries” and one of our main goals is “to prepare all students for success in our global economy and society”.

STEMPunX can be used in all Subject Areas:

Language Arts

English: writing assignments
(1, 2, 3 paragraph essay, etc.)

Research: answering questions












Social Studies

Social and Political Studies




Family and Consumer Science




Performing Arts


The following questions are some suggestions of

discussion topics for each episode:


0. (video) Eagles at the Dalles Dam

  • Are eagles endangered? Why or why not? 

  • How are eagles part of the food chain? What is the food chain?

  • How do eagles migrate and why?

  • Is bird watching a science and why is it (important) popular?

  • What are some other raptors. How are they alike or different? What is a raptor?


1.  The Why  

  • What is a podcast?

  • What is the meaning behind the podcaster's discussion?

  • Create your own podcast.

  • How does the word choice of the episode support the topic?

  • What is the tone of the speakers?

  • How does what they say make them credible?



  • Is STEMBot an example of artificial intelligence? 

  • What kind of "Bots" currently exist?

  • What kind of "Bots" are possible or needed in the future?

  • Are "Bots" going to helpful in the future?


2.  Bees and Pollinators

  • Are bees endangered? 

  • What is Colony collapse?

  • Why are bees important?

  • How is honey made and what makes them different?

  • Do bees do math​?

  • How do bees get to and from the hive?

  • What is the importance of a queen and the bee hierarchy?


3.  To Drone or not to Drone

  • Should UAVs be used for delivery?

  • What are other examples of UAV uses?

  • How is drone technology evolving?

  • What do you think is the future of UAVs?

  • UAVs have been around longer than you think… explore the history.

4.  Do fish feel pain?

  • Do you agree?

  • Explore fish biology.

    • What are some fish species native to your area?

    • How are fish different?

  • What is a riparian area? What is important about them?

  • Do all fish migrate? How can some be both salt water and fresh water species?

  • What is the future of fishing?

5.  Ocean Cleanup

  • What's out there?

  • How did it get there?

  • Is the ocean cleanup working?

  • Why should we care?

  • What are some other ocean dangers?


​6.  Holiday Whovian Sci Fi

  • Does time actually exist as a thing or occurrence? 

  • Time relativity 

    • Compare time spent in class vs time at home.​

    • Compare time alone vs time with friends.

  • Explore the history of time measurement.

    • When were clocks invented and why?

  • What is the theory of relativity? Does it affect you


7.  Calendars around the globe

  • Create your own calendar

    • of your life​

    • of your future

  • Why do we measure dates?

  • Are seasons still important? Are they changing?

  • What do holidays​ mean to you? How are they different around the world?


8.  Repair and Reuse Electronics

  • Is recycling important?

  • How can we Reduce waste?

  • What can we Reuse?

  • Create a Reduction program



  • Create a STEM art project

  • Why should Art be included in STEM?

  • What is art? Can Science be art?

  • What does art have to do with Technology/Engineering?

  • What do you think is the Art of math?


10.  Snowpocalypse 

  • What is the benefit of snow?

  • Why is the type of snow important for skiing/snowboarding?

    • How wet is snow

    • How is “artificial snow made? And Why?

  • What is the connection between snow and summer?

  • How is technology and math involved in snow events?

  • How does climate change affect snow packs?


11. Communication

  • Other than talking, what are some communication methods?

  • Read “Letter from the Birmingham Jail”. 

    • What does it mean?

    • Is it still relevant?

    • How can you use it to start a conversation?

  • What is non-violent action? Is it relevant?

  • How can/do we use Technology and Engineering to communicate?

  • Do you think the STEMPunX conversation between Joe and Tommy was interesting? Why or why not.


12.  Artificial Intelligence

  • Are robots intelligent?

  • Should doctors use AI to diagnose patients?

  • What is the meaning of AI?

  • What is the future of AI?

  • What is the difference between AI and Computer Learning?


13. Math is Universal

  • How do YOU use math? Do you think you will use it in the future?

  • Is math a language? Is it an art?

  • How is math part of music?

  • Why do you need math to do coding?

  • Other than base ten, what are some number forms we use and why?


14.  Is that really a Black Hole?

  • What is a black hole? 

  • How can we take a picture of something we can’t see?

  • How is light important to photography?

  • How can exploring space create a better future?

  • Create an experiment that can be performed on the International Space Station.


15. ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, OH MY!

  • What is the connection between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO? 

  • Compare camera and phone photography.

  • Why are photography apps so popular? Are they more important than written blogs?

  • Is a picture really worth a thousand words? What is a thousand words worth?

  • Create a photo essay about one of the STEMPunX topics.

  • Create a video STEMPunX episode. (send us the link)

16. (video) Science of Cooking

  • Is cooking really a science? Or an art? Or just something we have to do to survive?

  • What is the impact of eating vegetable based foods?

  • What is the impact of eating meat based foods?

  • What foods can you experiment with to create new recipes?

  • Make some treat for your class and explain how it was made.


17. He He Helium Shortage?

  • Is it okay to keep using non-renewable resources? Are there replacements?

  • What resources do we use that are endangered?

  • What are the political consequences of resource monopolization?

  • How can exploring space help with resource production?

  • Why is superfluidity important? What is it?.


18. What you thought you knew, but didn’t.

  • What is the most important meal of the day and why? 

  • Make an argument for cotton bags. Plastic bags. Paper bags.

    • What about all those boxes Amazon delivers every day?

  • What obscure things can you tell us about that we didn’t think we knew?

  • What are the laws about bugs in our food? 

    • Is eating a bug a bad thing?

    • Are bugs going to inherit the Earth?

  • How can you learn something you don’t know?

19. Bioluminescence and Bionics

  • Why do plants or animals glow in the dark? 

  • How can we bio-engineer something bioluminescent that will be useful?

  • What are the ethics of bio-engineering?

  • Is creating a plant that generates electricity realistic? Useful? Weird?

  • How many and what are the arthropods are there in or around your house?

    • Are they useful or important?

    • Are they just food for other animals or insects? 

  • Are fireflies really on fire? Why do they glow?

20. I have an IDEA

  • What are some innovative ideas you have that can make good experiments?

  • How can you use arduinos and/or rasperry pi?

  • What can failure teach you about success?

  • Invent something

  • LISTENING: Using audio clues in the podcast, identify each of the speakers by their voices (Bruno, Tyler, Dallas, Thom.) Who speaks first, second, etc.?

  • What is white hat hacking? Why is it important?

20. Theater STEM

  • What ways could you use 3D design to build something?

  • Using Sketchup, create a 3D design?

  • In the previous episode students at the IDEA Lab created props for a theater production. How is designing props involved in STEM? Do some prop designs.

  • Write a 5 minute play and design the set. 

  • Is theater (or story-telling) important and why? 

SPX Episodes

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