This year at SCS, Integrated STEM classes in 5th-8th grades are an exciting mix of STEM topics, including an introduction to engineering, computer science concepts, design thinking practices, robotics, electronics/circuits, and energy education. As these classes build, we will also be introducing studies about flight & space, modern architecture, and biotechnology. With 5th-8th grade SCS technology classes previously titled Computers, we will be moving towards the new Integrated STEM title for this coursework. More specifically, we will be studying multiple areas of technology education, with a focus on integration of content areas and embedded technology concepts that are necessary to future STEM professions. Not to worry, we will still be looking at using computers and technology efficiently while introducing computer literacy applications and providing opportunities for students to be effective on their devices. It is our goal for students to not only utilize technology but grow as creators of technology, peer collaborators, open communicators, and effective thinkers in problem solving. Over the course of four years, 5th-8th grade students will have an opportunity to learn a little more about each of these topics. Each grade level will rotate through topics; not all grade levels will study every unit each year. Fifth grade students will have the opportunity to explore all topics by the end of 8th grade.
Currently students are building virtual circuits, creating working circuits, using 3D modeling design tools, programming virtual robots, and building their first robot on the VEX IQ platform. In addition, we are in the process of progressing from block based coding to text based programming languages. For the first year of this transition, students have been resilient in embracing their use of technology and adapting to the new direction of the Integrated STEM Program.
by Arthur Morken, STEM Teacher