Happy Holidays

December 2017

New Developments in NP STEM

This year, as the STEM initiative enters its third year, a number of new additional programs have been introduced. These programs are designed to promote the district's mission to prepare and inspire the next generation of students to meet the challenges of a global society through a series of rigorous and challenging STEM courses. In addition, these programs emphasize 21st Century skills while incorporating ‘real world’ innovation, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving skills.

This newsletter will highlight these new courses and some additional recent developments. Enjoy!

New STEM Rooms

This summer saw an extensive overhaul and redevelopment of the district's facilities and the creation of new exclusive STEM rooms in each school. These rooms are designed to be modern flexible learning spaces that provide opportunities for students to freely move throughout the room as they investigate design challenges and real-world problems.

For a quick tour of the STEM rooms and the additional new facilities at all the schools, please view the video below. Thank you to everyone who voted for the Bond Referendum that enabled this process.

STEM Additions 2017


This fall saw the introduction of the new K-6 STEM program. Based on administrative research, community discussions and feedback from elementary teachers involved in the STEM pilot program, a new STEM teacher was added at both AWR and Salt Brook schools. The program is designed to give students an overview and exposure to the STEM fields and occupations and promote interest for further involvement.
Over the course of the year, students will be exposed to a variety of engineering design challenges, coding and programming, design-thinking based on classroom literacy connections, sustainable goals and global challenge activities and Makerspace involvement.

In addition, extracurricular STEM clubs are open to 3rd through 6th graders at both elementary schools

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MS Robotics

The Middle School introduced a Robotics Club this year with the goal of exposing students to the technical and interpersonal skills necessary for them to succeed in today's world. Students design VEX robots and use online programming to compete in the VEX IQ Challenge Game, a worldwide competition. The club recently competed against 35 other teams in their first competition held at NPMS.

MS JR Engineering and Waterbotics

This year middle school students will be exposed to two newly designed STEM exploratory courses.

Robotics has been modified to include Waterbotics, a program developed by Stevens Institute of Technology and PSE&G that engages students in a series of design challenges or "missions". These missions gradually increase in complexity and ultimately lead to the design of a fully functional underwater robot capable of maneuvering in a three foot deep pool. The program reinforces the concept of iterative design and demonstrates the value of testing and redesign.

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JR Engineering is an inquiry-based course that encourages students to solve authentic, real-world, integrated engineering challenges by

  • conceptualizing, building, and testing concrete models of solutions
  • Working collaboratively to critique and build on their peers’ ideas

  • Communicating and defending solutions based on evidence.

Students Discuss the STEM Courses


HS Aerospace Engineering and Environmental Sustainability

This year the High School introduced two new Project Lead the Way courses, Aerospace Engineering and Environmental Sustainability.

Aerospace Engineering gives students the opportunity to explore the fundamentals of atmospheric and space flight by exploring the physics of flight. Students bring the concepts to life by designing an airfoil, propulsion system, and rockets. They learn basic orbital mechanics using industry-standard software and explore robot systems by designing and programming remotely operated vehicles.

Environmental Sustainability allows students to investigate three real-world challenges:

  • How to provide clean and abundant drinking water.
  • How to design a system to provide an adequate food supply to impoverished areas.
  • How best to harness and use renewable energy.

Through a series of hands-on activities and simulations, students apply their knowledge to research and design potential solutions to these true-to-life challenges.


Week of Code

Technology Specialists from both Elementary Schools designed a wonderful interactive Week of Code for the first week of December and that provided students across all grade levels opportunities to engage in coding through apps, programs, and robot activities. In addition to the suggested coding activities, additional specialty programs were provided.

  • Technology Industry specialists from Barclays visited Salt Brook school to help 4th graders code using Scratch programming.
  • The K-6 STEM teachers worked with the 5th and 6th-grade students to code Dash robots and then explain their work to Kindergarten students by playing a coded 'Hot Potato' game.
  • High school students from the Computer Science course visited the elementary schools and helped elementary students with programming languages and Dash robot programming.
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STEM Competitions

In the recent Union County Bridge Building Competition, New Providence took second place in the novice division and second and third in the advanced division.

In the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Competition, New Providence was awarded second place for documentation and fourth place for their overall design of their cars.

News Channel WMBC was there to record the event and produced the news segment below.


Professional Development

As part of the district's ongoing partnerships with New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and Stevens Institute of Technology, teams of K-12 STEM and Science teachers attended a variety of focused professional development workshops this fall. Eight teachers attended NJIT in October to work through a variety of STEM design challenges in association with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Some of these design challenges will be incorporated into the K-12 curricula.

Stevens Institute visited New Providence and worked with both K-6 and 5-8 teachers on the incorporation of the Next Generation Science Standards engineering practices into the Science and STEM programs.