This study describes the implementation of a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) approach in chemistry to develop the critical thinking skills of 32, year 10 students completing a multimedia major at a vocational high school in Banten Province. Critical thinking is an important skill that students need to face 21st-century challenges. A qualitative methodology was employed to explore the development of critical thinking through multiple data collection of classroom observations, interviews, reflective journals, and a concept test. Critical thinking criteria were used to identify the question at issue, students’ conceptual understandings, their ability to connect ideas and to make assumptions and inferences. The application of a STEM approach was carried out by integrating it with a project-based learning model to explore the electrochemistry topic through etching on a metal plate and stainless-steel cup. Students integrated their understanding of chemicals using STEM principles to developing a project. Analysis of a critical thinking skills rubric, indicated that students could identify the question at issue and make inferences at a good level, while they reach a sufficient level on the measures of conceptual understanding, ideas connection, and assumptions. The challenges faced in this study were time management, lack of student involvement, and project development that must be in line with the learning topic. The integration of STEM in chemistry education has a positive impact on students’ engagement, motivation, collaboration, and creativity by undertaking projects in existing learning environments.

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