STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - has become an important part of the curriculum at the junior high and high school. Instructors have received professional development training in STEM curriculum as part of Project Lead the Way (PTLW).
At the junior high level, students take introductory classes centered around STEM concepts to provide the basic foundation to more in-depth study at the high school level. By using hands-on activities, students develop problem-solving skills learning how to apply math, science, technology and engineering to their everyday lives.
Seventh graders are enrolled in Pathways to Engineering (Design and Modeling). This course includes an introduction to engineering, with a focus on design, what engineers do, and how engineers solve problems throughout our society. Students learn design applications by using 3-D modeling software to develop solutions to medical and manufacturing problems.
Eighth grade students take a class called Robotics Engineering. This class introduces them to mechanical gear combinations and how those mechanisms are used in machinery they have seen and used. They are challenged to apply their knowledge to create mechanical devices that can also be operated through automation by programming machines they build in class.
High school students have several STEM electives from which to choose:
- Introduction to Engineering Design is a detailed study of the use of 3D solid modeling design software, with exposure to the design process, research and analysis, engineering standards and technical documentation.
- Principles of Engineering investigates engineering and scientific concepts in the solution of engineering design problems. Students develop problem-solving skills and apply their knowledge of research and design to create solutions to various challenges.
- Digital Electronics is the study of electronic circuits used to process and control digital signals such as those found in cellular phones, laptop computers and high-definition television.
- Engineering Design and Development allows students to work in teams to research, design and construct a solution to an open-ended engineering problem applying principles developed in the four preceding courses. The students are guided by a community member and must present progress reports, submit a final written report and defend their solutions to a panel of outside reviewers at the end of the school year.
- Robotics Lab uses robotics skills learned in previous engineering courses along with Vex programming to design, build and compete with robots on a competition level.