Standard 12

STANDARD 12 

STEM CURRICULUM ORGANIZATION: School/program provides high-quality STEM courses and curriculum aligned to recognized standards and organized into interdisciplinary frameworks. 

INITIATIVES/ACTIONS: 
- Planning for STEM learning across the curriculum
- Initiating the One School, One Book initiative as a shared STEM learning experience for all students across grade levels
-Creating a common template for lessons and the creation of a lesson bank




What Does It Look Like?

The school embedded STEM courses into their master schedule in the form of Engineering Lab, Lego Lab, and Computer Science (coding), in addition to Makerspace activities, so that every student has an opportunity to benefit from a high-quality course.  These courses incorporate a variety of interdisciplinary activities that address curriculum standards for each grade level. When you walk into the Lego Lab, you often see students completing a build that has been purposefully tied to a science, writing, or math standard. For example, students build a maze with Lego® bricks and use small mirrors to reflect the beam of light so that it travels through the maze.  Also, a large amount of time has been given to developing the STEM mindset in classroom teachers regardless of their subject area. The school grew from few teachers incorporating STEM activities to everyone participating. The biggest change we have seen is social studies and reading teachers who have embraced the inclusion of STEM practices and processes in their content areas. Students are able to develop better understanding of the history topics by participating in STEM builds and simulations. One example is the trench warfare simulation where the students must design weapons, "paper balls", that will reach the opposing sides' trenches.  

lego green screen

Another way that STEM learning is supported at our school is that we collaborated as a group to build an interdisciplinary framework for our STEM activities, including ideas for assessment that connect to all curriculum areas. This allows teachers access to lessons that can be implemented in their classrooms. All grade levels can see examples of projects that have been completed by other grade levels which helps with vertical articulation.  We are further developing the school by using common language and common templates for our STEM units and projects.

lesson bank

One new strategy that we included last year is the One School, One Book initiative.  This is a school-wide reading of a literary text which inspires the incorporation of STEM with other disciplines.  Students participated in engineering challenges, answering text dependent questions, and writing about what they learned based on the story. The success that we experienced with this project last year has us looking forward to reading the sequel, Bayberry Island, incorporating additional STEM experiences across the curriculum.


One Book

One Book Writing

River of Words

Strengths

Students have many opportunities to apply their learning through the incorporation of STEM with standards.  The lesson bank created provides ready-made lessons for teachers to implement. 

Sustainability

Teachers continue to look at ways to have students apply the learning based on state standards through high quality STEM activities. Teachers continue to generate new standards-based lessons and add them to the shared bank. 

Challenges

One challenge is that we need to ensure that the placement of the lesson bank in Google Drive is always accessible regardless of its owner and its location. New teachers come to use these platforms with varying experiences in STEM, and we need to purposefully offer differentiated assistance as they begin to implement these practices across the curriculum.

Continuous Improvement

More emphasis needs to be placed on the STEM unit bank.  We need to monitor the bank periodically to ensure that lessons are not being misplaced in Google Drive.  Through this monitoring, we will ensure that new people get access, and that teachers are reminded to upload the effective lessons that are taking place.