STEM: We are committed to developing learned and inspired global citizens. We provide a dynamic, rigorous education that focuses on collaboration, critical thinking and character development. In our unique standards-aligned elective curriculum, nationally acclaimed Project Lead the Way course-work is infused, engaging students in a variety of STEM investigations.
Learning is an ongoing process. To truly learn, one must have the opportunity to make choices and mistakes. I had the opportunity to see former Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science at Yale University, Ainissa Ramirez, Ph.D. at the California Science Teachers Conference in Sacramento, 2015, where she spoke on the need to “build a relationship with failure” which rang true to me as a science educator.
Dr. Ramirez states: “We need to give our children more opportunities to build a relationship with failure. In my estimation, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education is a key way to do it. In STEM, failure is a fact of life. Experiments don't work out, the data doesn't look right, or someone knocks over your experiment. There are plenty of places to learn persistence and resilience. We can also learn how failure is instructive to the design and innovation process. Science and innovation are based on trial-and-error (which is just a glorified way to say "fail a lot").”
I believe science classroom experiences provide students with a supportive and nurturing environment in which to fail and through guidance and support grow, building lifelong skills of perseverance in times of challenge and adversity. Students, particularly at the junior high school level, are at a crossroads for learning. A teacher has the ability to either engage or disengage a student from the educational system. I believe students are worthy of the opportunity for personal choice in their education and life while acknowledging that they are still youthful enough to need careful guidance.
Through careful analysis of the science standards and frameworks, my goal is to cultivate in my classroom a strong foundation of knowledge, appropriate forums to relate students’ knowledge to their surroundings and their ability to make educated choices for the future. Those abilities will enable my students to be adaptive to an ever-changing society while also strengthening their ability to affect changes as well.
This unit is designed around authentic performance assessments with students working to solve crimes using scientific knowledge and deductive reasoning. It introduces crime investigation techniques and tools; analysis, operation, and function of a forensic laboratory; application of scientific concepts; and the use of physical evidence. We will explore the utilization of scientific principles at crime scenes in areas such as hair and fibers, fingerprinting, impressions, blood, DNA, and a variety of other biological, chemical, and physical science applications. Case studies and videos are used to show real life applications of techniques we will learn in class.
Students will explore human body systems and senses including developing a deeper understanding of the nervous and cardiovascular systems via advanced dissection of a mammal brain, eye and heart. Using PASCO Probeware, students investigate factors that affect homeostasis. As part of PLTW Medical Detectives, students will investigate the nervous system and factors that affect the structures and their functioning.