Decidedly Academic. Distinctively Christian.
What in the world is all this buzz about STEM and why is it so relevant to our students at Foothill? For starters, we need to think about the way kids learn and process information. If we can help them “connect the dots” between academic learning and real world application, their interest sky-rockets and so does achievement!
STEM is an acronym educators use when referring to the specific subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. These fields represent key elements of our society and are a critical part of a thriving economy. As such STEM education is gaining momentum on the national education scene. Far too long, we’ve treated these subjects in air-tight, isolated clusters. This segmented approach never allowed for full cross-pollination of the subjects, until now!
Many STEM instructional activities require students to build things and utilize hands-on learning experiences. Similar to the experiential learning activities students enjoy at museums and science centers, learning shifts from textbooks and rote memorization to interesting, engaging and fun ways to learn.
Just the other day, I stood in a classroom where I watched one of our students flourish during a STEM activity. “Charlie” is normally a quiet, shy boy who doesn’t speak out a lot. When given a STEM project that required building a simple structure out of classroom supplies he sketched out a 3-D drawing in minutes which became the unanimous design choice for his group’s project. This activity surfaced Charlie’s hidden giftedness and he immediately emerged as the leader of that group with resounding peer affirmation.
Charlie’s success story would not have been possible without teachers who had been trained to implement a STEM curriculum. That’s why Foothill Christian School sent four teachers, this summer, to the nation’s most prolific STEM conference held in Denver, CO. Our teachers were inspired by the speakers and hands-on workshops. They began to catch the vision of how transforming this new approach could be at FCS. Upon their return, they shared these new techniques with their colleagues and it has ignited a passionate commitment to incorporate STEM activities on a regular basis at all grade levels.
So, the buzz on our campus can be heard as teachers share their creative ideas and success stories. The buzz is amplified on the playground and at lunch tables as students talk excitedly about their STEM projects. When you get students talking about their learning experiences outside the classroom, you know you’re on to something good. In fact, parents are catching the buzz at home, too, because their children are talking non-stop about school and spending the weekend researching the most recent STEM topic. That’s what the buzz is all about!