The STEM Elective is an approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. This course offers a space for students to deepen their appreciation for the integrated nature of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The course has an emphasis on the Engineering and Design standards of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in which students are empowered to use a maker mindset to routinely use a process that includes defining problems, planning, designing, testing solutions, reflecting, revising, and refining. Students will build a foundation in which they identify the criteria and constraints of a design problem, evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process, analyzing data from tests, and developing models so that an optimal design can be achieved.
Students will explore STEM in this year-long hands-on class in which students work in a collaborative setting to solve real-world challenges. Students will access STEM concepts through 2 main components of the class:
Students will be challenged to design and build various engineering and structures projects that use basic household materials. These challenges allow students to evaluate different building materials, work within material and time constraints, and consider budget as it may apply to the real world building projects that surround us. Some challenges will introduce concepts of various forms of energy and energy usage, as well as physical science standards about force and motion. Students will use math skills to calculate mass, weight and volume, kinetic and potential energy, speed and acceleration.
Coding and Electronics:
Students will explore technology via the use of different electrical components. They will use both software and hardware to design and test circuits and control the functions of LED lights, motors, and more. Students will use Arduino programmable circuit boards and modular robots that are programmed using C++ coding language. Within these explorations, students will apply science and math concepts to learn about gear ratios, frequency, and electrical circuits.