Standard 7


PROJECT-BASED AND INQUIRY LEARNING: Students engage collaboratively in authentic inquiry during ongoing units of study. 

INITIATIVE NAME: Students synergize to complete every STEM Lab challenge collaboratively.

Students are immersed in opportunities to engage in authentic inquiry both in their classrooms and in STEM lab.  Grade levels develop their units of study at the beginning of the year and create inquiry-based activities that allow the students to apply content knowledge to solve problems.  Regarding collaboration, one of the most well-known habits to students is Habit 6, Synergize, as this is a core approach to all learning in STEM lab and many activities in science, social studies, ELA, math, and Related Arts throughout our school day. More information about Habit 6 - Synergize - from The Leader in Me is included below.

Click here to view the units of study


Challenges in STEM lab always require students to work collaboratively. In fact, collaboration has been fostered and directly taught through the use of student roles within groups. When these roles were first introduced, cards were used to determine which student held each role, direct instruction was given regarding the responsibilities of each role, and rubrics were used to help students self-reflect and improve their collaboration skills. As synergy has become more deeply ingrained in the culture of learning at M.C. Riley throughout all classrooms, such scaffolds are no longer needed, and students are able to grow and demonstrate collaborative skills without devoting as much time to rubrics, direct lessons, and the like. Similarly, most students demonstrate progress with their synergy skills throughout their learning career at M.C. Riley. The main goal in kindergarten STEM lab (and classrooms) is to successfully communicate and work together to complete a challenge, and this goal continues to need some support from learning facilitators. As students progress through the grades, their responsibilities in collaboration grow, while the scaffolds are needed less. 

Click here to view the Rubrics for Evaluating and Self-Reflecting on Collaboration

Collaboration Roles

Collaboration Pics
Collaboration Pics

Continuing to teach collaboration in early grades and give continuous opportunities for practice are our goals to continue building capacity in this area. Documentation of our successes in facilitating collaboration is also a focus for the future.