STEM Program Overview
Our STEM classes are project and people-based. This means we study both how to be a scientist, and what it means to be a scientist; we learn about how many of America’s early founders were scientists and engineers and study the lives of great scientists throughout time. We ask questions about the role of science today, and about the potential of every person to be a scientist.
Every week, STEM students choose projects from a monthly project buffet that relates to that month’s STEM concepts. Students regularly report on their projects and mentors help refine analysis, methods, and conclusions.
In addition, every science class revolves around a scientific expedition (a theme that guides learning, with a summit project as it’s end goal). This summit project provides momentum toward an end product, a product or project that requires the scientific skills and knowledge of the entire class to complete. It drives learning and unites the class, and provides context for the mini projects and course content leading up to the summit project. Each scientific expedition also requires mathematical, technological and engineering skills, and we draw connections among all of these topics throughout the expedition.
Math is extensively used in our STEM courses. Students can no longer earn math credit in STEM and must sign up for a separate Math course. However, students still have access to the highly skilled tutors in Williamsburg’s Math Lab anytime they need assistance with a problem.
The expeditions encompassed within the STEM program include:
STEM 6/7A: Edible Garbage – In the Edible Garbage expedition, students use the Scientific Method to learn about food decay, food waste, states of matter and atoms, and conclude the semester by donating two or more hours in service to the homeless and hungry.
STEM 6/7B: Biomes and Bees – Students learn about the systems of plants and animals and the cycles of the Earth. They understand their own “circle of impact” and learn ways to sustain and care for our beautiful planet. They learn about the Colony Collapse disorder and end the term by participating in the Bee Cause Project.
STEM 6/7C: Life-size Science – This expedition focuses on the topic of biology, specifically the life sciences. Students learn about and build replicas of ten specific body systems, and research one disease in depth, sharing their findings with their classmates at the end of the term.
STEM 6/7D: Worst Case Scenario – Earth Science, including weather systems, is the major focus of this expedition; we also look at preparedness and emergency response, and how technology and STEM innovation is impacting all of those things. In our Summit Project, we spread awareness about or help refine our community emergency preparedness plans.
STEM 8A: Real Science – under revision. Details will be posted soon.
STEM 8B: Amusement Park Physics – under revision. Details will be posted soon.
Middle School STEM
|Courses||Recommended Grade||Credit||Delivery Format||Prerequisites||Versions|
|STEM 6/7 A||6/7||0.5||Live||None||Classic/Honors|
|STEM 6/7 B||6/7||0.5||Live||STEM 6/7 A (Recommended)||Classic/Honors|
|STEM 6/7 C||6/7||0.5||Live||None||Classic/Honors|
|STEM 6/7 D||6/7||0.5||Live||STEM 6/7 C (Recommended)||Classic/Honors|
|STEM 8 A||8||0.5||Live||None||Classic/Honors|
|STEM 8 B||8||0.5||Live||STEM 8 A (Recommended)||Classic/Honors|