Our Schools

December 2014 - Science Technology Engineering Math

STEM education is a way to combine many related disciplines.....into a single, integrated program that emphasizes the inter-dependencies among the four disciplines and their applications to everyday life. (STEM Classroom 2012)

This year the New Providence School District is developing a strategic plan for the development of an integrated STEM program. This newsletter will highlight some recent STEM activities from the various schools.

An Hour of Code

As part of the Computer Science Education Week New Providence schools recently participated in an Hour of Code.

The Hour of Code program is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in over one hundred and eighty countries around the world. Through this event students engage in a variety of introductory tutorials and activities in computer science designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics.

In addition, the program helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity and provides a foundation for success in any 21st-Century career path.

Elementary students across all grades participated in various the Hour of Code activities. Kindergarteners played the role of computer programmers by using an app called "The Foos" to write code. Students in grades 1-6 experimented with several coding applications online using the 'blockly' code. Students successfully used the new Frozen coding application, the Angry Birds activity, and an application that allowed students to create their own Flappy Bird game!

Other students used an app called Lightbot on the iPads that challenged students to program a robot to light up specific squares in a sequence.

All activities were designed to let the students gain a practical understanding of basic coding, including sequencing instructions, writing simple procedures and utilizing loops to solve levels as well as learn the basics of drag and drop programming. Whatever activity the students chose, it required them to think critically, troubleshoot problems, and persevere until they were successful.

Middle School students use code everyday as part of their Robotics Mod. This course incorporates drag and drop programming into the engineering design process, that includes team building, brainstorming, problem solving and design review.

As part of the Hour of Code program, all Middle School students spent their Science classes investigating a number of coding activities including Code with Ana and Elsa, and an introduction to programming using the Angry Birds platform.

Two Computer Science classes at the High School give students the opportunity to code everyday. In these courses students start with the basic concepts and techniques of computer programming and learn to program with the fundamental data types, classes, objects, methods, and control structures used for decision-making and iterative algorithms. Students progress on to problem solving in numerous disciplines and the planning, design and documentation of a program.

To help promote coding during the Computer Science Education Week, students were given the opportunity to code after school in a program offered by the Math Department. In addition, students can continue their study of code through the High School Computer Programming Club.

For more information on all the activities please visit Code.org

Bridge Building

New Providence students recently competed against more than twenty other teams in the Union County Bridge Building Competition. The competition involved designing and building a Through Truss bridge using a predetermined set of simple supplies and then adding weights to test the effectiveness and efficiency of the bridge.

The NPHS advanced bridge teams placed third, fourth, and sixth in the competition and the novice team took second. Both teams outperformed all other public and magnet schools. Congratulations to all the students involved.

To see more detail of the Bridge Building Competition please visit the District web page.

Hydrogen Car Design

New Providence recently hosted the eighth annual Hydrogen Fuel Cell Model Car Challenge. The STEM program teaches high school students about alternative fuels and is organized by TransOptions, a transportation oriented nonprofit organization and The Linde Group, a local gas and engineering company. Forty three teams of students from 14 New Jersey high schools competed at this year's event.

To participate in the challenge, students from the Physics Club designed and built a hydrogen-powered model car by modifying and adapting the simple kit provided. Students had to include in their design a method to produce, store and transfer the hydrogen needed to power their cars and then submit a written portfolio documenting their car concepts, designs and comments. On competition day students raced their cars, and awards were given to teams for their cars' speed, craftsmanship, engineering and progress journal.


NJ STEM League

New Providence has joined the NJ STEM League. The NJ STEM League is in its inaugural year and hopes to provide students with the same opportunities to compete against other schools that sports teams have. They will compete in the upcoming STEM League competitions in February and April. In the February competition the teams will have an opportunity to use the engineering design process to design, document, build, and test a vehicle using the brick holder system used in many types of machine systems. Stay tuned for more news on this exciting event.

Science Olympiad.

Teams of New Providence Middle School and High School students recently participated in the New Jersey Science Olympiad. The competition is designed around high academic standards and requires the use for problem solving, critical thinking and technology integration skills. The students are provided with a whole range of subjects in which to compete including challenges entitled Anatomy and Physiology, Fossils, Design Challenges, Disease Detectives, Protein Modeling, Elastic Launch Gliders and the Solar System. Congratulations to all the students who participated.

Summer STEM Opportunities

Below is a list of summer STEM possibilities. The list is purely informational and does not reflect recommendations made by the New Providence School District. Interested parties are recommended to research programs extensively before signing up.