Our STEM program is designed to engage students in a relevant and exciting curriculum that breaks down the walls between science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The topics and content are presented through a project-based and hands-on approach with a purposeful sequence of lessons and skill development. Students are encouraged to take risks, persevere, adapt, create, and innovate in each class.
- Develop 21st Century Skills including critical thinking, problem-solving, creative thinking, entrepreneurship, and collaboration.
- Learn key knowledge and skills across a range of topics including the ability to ask higher level questions and investigate complex ideas.
- Have consistent opportunities and instruction to make the connection between in-class learning and the real world.
- Learn how to apply the scientific method to everyday life.
- Become creative and innovative problem solvers.
- Learn about the global environment and their role as a global citizen.
- Become critical and conscientious digital citizens.
Nursery, Transition, and Kindergarten
Students explore science both in the classroom and the Early Childhood science center. Units of exploration include the study of weather, plants, animals, the earth, human growth, wellness, light, color, five senses, seasons/weather, human growth, animals, nutrition, plants, sea life, insects, sinking and floating, ecology, caring for the environment, balancing and weight, magnets, electricity, and the rock cycle. Students also gain a general technological awareness in their science class and through the purposeful use of iPads and SMARTboards during the school day.
Students participate in three STEM program units taught by our Science, Technology, and Innovation Teachers throughout the year. The faculty coordinates and collaborates to provide a robust learning environment that reinforces STEM concepts across all of the rotations.
The curriculum used in this unit is created and developed by the Smithsonian Institute and the National Science Resources Center and focuses on the following areas: physics, engineering, biology, and chemistry.
Grade 1 – Comparing and Measuring/Solids and Liquids
Grade 2 – Balancing and Weighing/Changes
Grade 3 – Chemical Tests/Sound
Grade 4 – Motion and Design/Floating and Sinking
Grade 5 – Electric Circuits/Microworlds (Cells)
Classroom Environment: Students gather for class in the Elementary science lab.
This section of the rotation takes an interdisciplinary approach to STEM with a focus towards entrepreneurship and innovation. The curriculum includes selections from:
- Next Generation Science Standards, life sciences, chemistry, and physics
- Electronic technologies (such as Sphero SPRK and LEGO WeDo) and non-electronic technologies
- Engineering Design Process and Engineering is Elementary curriculum
Through this rotation, students will explore various STEM topics and experience the power and importance of STEM, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation while having fun!
Study Trips In & Around Washington, D.C.
- Grade 1 – Recycling Center and Chocolate Factory
- Grade 2 – Museum of Industry and Patent and Trade Office
- Grade 3 – Bureau of Printing and Engraving and Newspaper Production Facility
- Grade 4 – Naval Museum and Naval Surface Center
- Grade 5 – Television Studios and Botanical Garden
Classroom Environment: Students explore and learn through projects in the innovation room and from expert guest speakers and through attending study trips to many Washington, D.C., area institutions and venues.
This section of the rotation focuses on developing students’ digital skills which will serve them through their time in school and beyond and learn the responsible use of technology. The curriculum includes:
Digital storytelling using iPads and various apps to create digital stories
Programming and coding using Code.org, ScratchEd, and Google CS coding
Typing/Keyboarding using Typingclub.org
Digital citizenship using Common Sense Media and Google Digital Citizenship curriculums
Grade 1 – iPad coding, digital citizenship, digital storytelling
Grade 2 – Code.org coding program, digital citizenship, graphic design
Grade 3 – Code.org coding, keyboarding, digital citizenship, graphic design
Grade 4 – Google CS Coding, Google Be Internet Awesome, keyboarding
Grade 5 – Google CS Coding, Google Be Internet Awesome, keyboarding, Google Slides
Classroom Environment: Students meet in the technology lab for class.
Middle School (Grades 6-8)
Once students reach Middle School, the hands-on learning continues with focused units in and content knowledge acquisition about biology, chemistry, engineering, geology, physics, and more. Students continue to develop their skills and knowledge about digital citizenship, word processing, multimedia production, electronic presentation, desktop publishing, and use of databases and spreadsheets.
The curriculum is based on a hands-on approach that focuses on three major units of study: Magnets and motors; geology; and life science and plants.
Emphasis is placed on developing the scientific reasoning skills of observing, measuring, and identifying properties. Students are required to conduct an independent science fair project on a topic of their choosing. A comprehensive Geology unit prepares students for a one-week study trip to the Desert Southwest. Students have science three times a week.
The curriculum focuses on Life Science topics which include the origins of life, evolution, characteristics and classification of organisms, ecology, behavior, immunity and disease, animal body systems, heredity and genetics, and botany. These topics are reinforced with extensive laboratory work, which is evaluated with a comprehensive practical exam at the end of the year. Methods include hands-on experiential learning employing scientific laboratory skills as well as learning from discussions and textbooks, emphasizing that science is a way of understanding the world. A major goal is preparation for high school biology courses. Classes are daily.
Physical Science serves as a serious introduction to the study of physics and chemistry. Topics covered include laws of motion, forms and uses of energy (heat, mechanical, nuclear, electrical, etc.), wave motion (sound and light), classification of matter (elements, compounds, mixtures), atomic structure and the periodic table, chemical bonding and reactions, and solutions of acids, bases, and salts. Laboratory work forms an integral part of Physical Science, as chemistry and especially physics are well suited to an inductive approach to learning. Emphasis is placed on quantitative analysis of data, especially graphing. Classes are daily.