The STEM Department is using a variety math and science initiatives in order to achieve the goals of:
- Partnering with the local organizations to offer community-based STEM opportunities for all ASD students
- develop in all students the content, skills and practices of STEM disciplines that will prepare all students for future success in STEM college programs and/or careers.
- Assisting students in understanding the connections between scientific inquiry and engineering design and their ability to read, write and apply math and science skills.
- Building student confidence, strengthening their abilities to question, research, design, engineer and present solutions to local programs and issues.
Current STEM initiatives offered at the elementary level include:
Using the science kits as a framework on which to build the STEM curriculum. Educational Technology and STEM specialists are aligning standards into the guides for the kits. Teachers in the classrooms will complete science lessons through engaging STEM initiatives that apply students' technology, mathematics, reading and writing skills.
NASA pre-engineering lesson
Additionally, we have rolled out a new NASA pre-engineering lesson. It is termed NASA’s BEST students. It uses an online curriculum to allow students at a variety of age levels to understand the process of re-examining a design and re-doing a build. It has been taught to several teachers by a NASA trainer, has been taught in an abbreviated form at the new teacher institute, and has been taught as an intensive at a couple of schools.
STEM initiatives offered to grades 6-8 include:
During the second semester, a conference is typically held for middle school girls. Although it has traditionally focused on math, this year it is the Middle School Girls STEM conference. It will be held the same day as the Sally Ride Academy.
FIRST Lego League competitions
Several middle schools will participate in the FIRST LEGO League® competition with schools from around the state.
Sea Perch Program
The Sea Perch Program ROV underwater robots program has been used at one middle school for several years. It is a project developed at MIT and incorporates many STEM curricular objectives. This fall, the STEM curriculum department set up a training for this project with representatives from the Juneau Economic Development Council and the US Navy. Teachers form other areas of the state also participated in the day long training. As a continuation, two additional ASD schools are building the underwater robots and are seeing the results of a project that uses mathematical and scientific knowledge in combination to produce a winning design. Hopefully, this will allow a city-wide competition in the spring.
The math department has new texts for Pre-algebra, Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra II. Trainings to use the new texts will incorporate more uses of technology. Science is the focus at the 9th grade level.