"[Science] is more than a school subject, or the periodic table, or the properties of waves. It is an approach to the world, a critical way to understand and explore and engage with the world, and then have the capacity to change that world..." — President Barack Obama, March 23, 2015
At Ste Jeanne d'Arc School, our STEM Program encompasses Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
STEM is a major focus of the science curriculum. The STEM program Engineering is Elementary (EiE) was implemented into our existing fifth grade science curriculum. Students explore topics on magnetism called "The Attraction is Obvious: Designing a Maglev System" and an ecosystem topic called "A Slick Solution: Cleaning an Oil Spill.”
Two popular STEM labs covered by seventh grade science teacher, Mr. Bernard Gilbert are the prosthetic arm and baseball labs. During the baseball lab program students have the opportunity to explore the possibility of a career in engineering. The class travels to UMass Lowell’s Baseball Lab to explore the physics behind baseball. They run several experiments using equipment such as an air-cannon to test baseball durability and the coefficient-of-restitution of each ball. They also put baseball myths to the test, such as the effects of corking a bat, “juicing” a baseball, and whether a player can hit a ball so hard that they knock the hide off the ball. These experiments demonstrate the scientific method in action and explore careers that may interest them, baseball and engineering!
During the prosthetic hand STEM-based lab, students bring the engineering design process to life. Using a five-step process (ask, imagine, plan, create, improve) students use their knowledge of the human hand to research and test materials to determine what works best. Students work in small groups to design, build, and test a prosthesis that is able to grasp, lift and release a cup. Students learn that engineers, scientists, and medical personnel work together to research and improve the functionality of prosthetic devices as technology improves.
Technology is essential to STEM. Students need to have a firm understanding in order to compete and succeed in today’s society. Ste Jeanne d’Arc School is outfitted with state-of-the-art technology. All classrooms are equipped with SMARTBoards and computers; we have a dedicated, full-time Computer/Technology Teacher, the Computer Room and Library/Media Center are outfitted with Apple computers and have two MacBook laptop carts with enough laptop computers for everyone.
The success of our iPad initiative has allowed us to give students in grades 5-8 an iPad, at no cost, to use during the school year. Our seventh and eighth students have had iPads for two years now and this is the first year for our fifth and sixth graders. The students are thrilled about the iPads! The teachers have iPads as well and are finding new and exciting ways to use them in the classroom. Eighth grade teacher Sister Jeanne Archambault said, “It’s been unbelievable what the students can do on the spot. They (iPads) are a God-send!”