Holy Family Academy

Update on Middle School STEM Curriculum

Planned STEM Modules for 2012-2013

Our faculty has been working diligently to fine-tune our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum, particularly the “hands-on, minds-on” applications that will be taking place at Harper College’s Avante center every Friday afternoon. I am excited to share with you the following trimester-long modules that our middle school students will explore—

  1. Discovering Design-—Using a curriculum developed by INTEL, the students will be introduced to fundamental engineering concepts that help them think like engineers. They will understand the steps of the design and discovery process, and will be challenged to brainstorm, design, build, test, evaluate, redesign and share their solution with others.
  2. Introduction to Solar Energy, Force and Motion—Using curriculum developed by the University of Kentucky and the University of Virginia, students will learn about force, motion, energy, and friction. Working collaboratively in small groups the students will design and build a miniature solar car. This module will also incorporate an engineering application developed by NASA in collaboration with Design Squad.
  3. Economics and Financial Literacy— How many times have parents been asked, “Why do I have to learn math?” This module will answer that question by focusing on the math elements of economics. While many high schools do not offer courses in financial literacy, our middle school students will gain financial awareness and explore financial literacy in an engaging, age appropriate manner.

Please keep in mind the following:

  • Introducing the engineering component to our curriculum is an addition to our curriculum and significantly increases our math and science offerings in a meaningful, hands-on way.
  • These design-based units stress working collaboratively-- the teacher is not “telling” the students what to do, but rather the students are using their knowledge to create, innovate and make decisions to solve problems. Because of the unique aspect of these modules, students will be evaluated in a different, less traditional manner than assigning a letter grade.
  • Providing a foundation in engineering and economics exposes our middle school students to a variety of careers thereby better positioning them for college readiness and the work world.
  • Mirroring the work environment, each STEM module will blend students from all three grades. This blending is purposeful and is designed to build leadership and communication skills, along with tolerance and compassion for others—obvious skills needed to succeed in the 21st century work environment.
  • We ask your patience while we implement this new curriculum. We are “engineering” an innovative curriculum, which requires us to evaluate and redesign as we discover new things. I know of no other private or public middle school that is embracing STEM in the manner in which we have designed.
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