Abstract. This study aims to investigate the experiences of gifted students while designing a STEM-based environmental project within a real-world context. The study employed a single case study with embedded units design in order to investigate the strategies that gifted students exploited in designing their STEM Projects, as well as their experiences in the actual design process. The data collected in the current study were in the form of video recordings, audio recordings, student artifacts, individual and group assessment forms with open-ended questions, and the teacher’s journal. The participants of the current study involved 17 students from 3-4th and 5-6th grade science classes at a Science and Arts Center. The analysis of the data was achieved using content analysis. The findings indicated that when students were presented authentic STEM learning experiences that involve personally or contextually meaningful content, they adopt a critical thinking disposition that allowed them to investigate the criteria and constraints presented in the problem scenario, as well as the financial and environmental perspectives.
Keywords: STEM education, gifted students, engineering design, environmental education, case study