The Academy’s main focus will be to assist the schools with building a robust STEM-based program which is critical to our students’ future success. Our STEM difference is that The Academy will develop cutting edge instructional practice to meet the educational and workforce needs of the 21st century in an intentionally Christ-centered atmosphere.
Middle School STEM
Middle School is the ideal time to begin STEM. The primary focus of the Middle School STEM initiative is to develop project based curriculum units that foster critical thinking skills, and by their nature, provide engaging and diverse opportunities for learners. The engineering design process and the application of skills and knowledge to the solution of real-life problems will be the focus of our new curriculum.
In addition, the curriculum for each grade level will focus on a specific science/engineering skill. In house professional development for math and science teachers will ensure the successful implementation of these units, as well as complementary and cohesive math and science curricula.
High School Curriculum Enhancement
Our goal for the high school curriculum is two-fold. First, we will identify opportunities to include authentic problem solving and design challenges, and incorporate them into our traditional course offerings. In addition, in order to improve achievement and exam performance, we will provide additional resources to support our AP science and math students.
To achieve these goals, we will utilize the professional development offerings of our partner institutions and purchase state-of-the-art technology and equipment. Additional in-house professional development for math and science teachers will ensure the successful implementation of these enhanced units and laboratory investigations as well as complementary and cohesive math and science curricula.
Engineering Course Offerings
A new engineering curriculum has been developed and will be introduced at Coyle and Cassidy High School during the 2019-2020 school year. In 2020-2021, our plan is to introduce a first-year engineering course at Bishop Connolly High School and to add a second-year engineering course at Coyle and Cassidy. These courses will provide opportunities for students to work as part of a problem solving team, designing solutions to problems in areas including alternative energy, structural design, aerodynamics, electronics and robotics. Students will utilize tools such as CAD programming software, 3D printers, and Arduino technology.
Extracurricular STEM Activities
To enhance our regular course offerings and afford all students the opportunity to participate in authentic problem solving outside of the classroom, we are planning a number of extra-curricular STEM activities.
- In addition to expanding our robotics team to include high school level students, we plan to increase opportunities for our students to engage in local and national level science, math and engineering competitions.
- We have planned a monthly “Maker Space Challenge” to encourage students to utilize Coyle’s newly expanded maker space regularly. Our first challenge, for example, will be to design a school-supply storage container to cover sink openings that are no longer being used in our middle school science laboratory.Students will be encouraged to utilize 3D printers in this practical design challenge.
- Science and Engineering students will participate in an Engineering Outreach program through which elementary level design challenges will be offered on a regular basis as workshops at local libraries. Outreach projects for the upcoming school year include “Wind Powered Sail Cars”, “Paper Circuits”, and “Vibrabots” (student designed vibrating robots).
- To support students as they prepare for careers in STEM fields, we plan to offer opportunities to interface with practicing professionals. Through a ‘Lunchtime Lecture’ series or a day devoted to recruiting alumni to share their expertise with our students, our goal is to provide accurate information surrounding program prerequisites and requirements, financial planning and realistic career expectations.