The Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) Academy is offered to Long Branch students. The science component is addressed by providing cross-content, integrated learning experiences. All subject areas promote and support scientific inquiry, intense hands-on experimentation, problem solving skills, and application of concepts to real-life situations. Our science curriculum is expanded through a variety of activities including virtual field trips, video conferencing, guest speakers, assemblies, and local excursions. In addition, the academy has developed partnerships with Liberty Science Center, Student Spaceflight Experiment Program, NASA, and various others that extend and support the mission and vision of the academy. All of these activities provide additional motivation to inspire our students to become excited about science.
The science curriculum will follow the Next Generation Science Standards that were developed to be rich in content and practice to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education. Every NGSS standard has three dimensions: disciplinary core idea (content), scientific and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts. The integration of rigorous content and application reflects how science and engineering is practiced in the real world.
The NGSS content is focused on preparing students for college and careers. The NGSS are aligned with the English Language Arts and Mathematics Common Core State Standards. This allows an opportunity both for science to be a part of a child’s comprehensive education as well as ensuring an aligned sequence of learning in all content areas. The SCT Academy will integrate engineering into science education by integrating Project Lead The Way (PLTW) into the science classroom. Engineering design will be raised to the same level as scientific inquiry in science classroom instruction at all levels, and by emphasizing the core ideas of engineering design and technology applications. PLTW’s Gateway program is a strong foundation for further STEM learning in high school and beyond, challenging students to solve real-world challenges, such as cleaning oil spills and designing sustainable housing solutions. Using the same advanced software and tools as those used by the world’s leading companies, students learn how to apply math, science, technology, and engineering to their everyday lives.
Computer technology is a prominent part of the classroom; the teacher no longer serves as the sole expert with control over content knowledge and instruction. With the help of computers, learning becomes more interactive with a shared responsibility amongst students and teachers. The teacher is a facilitator of learning, while students have a more active role in their learning. The computer technology component offers students the opportunity to develop higher order thinking skills through the integration of technology and scientific inquiry. The academy expands district offerings on the use of computers in the classroom by providing a stationary computer lab and a wireless lab for whole class, hands-on applications.
With Explore Learning-Gizmos, Achieve3000, Texas Instrument calculators, SmartSlate technology, and projection equipment, students are able to utilize technology that will enable them to be better prepared for their future.
All classrooms have a multimedia instructional workstation with network capabilities allowing for Internet utilization to support instruction. Student computers are located in each classroom to provide opportunities to integrate technology across curriculum areas. The Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics Academy promotes the use of computers in the classroom whenever and however it is appropriate and efficient.
In addition, the program enhances the instruction in all disciplines by effectively executing the following approaches:
* Computer Enhanced Support
* Project-Based Instruction
* Contextual Learning (Real-Life Context)
* Direct Instruction
* Cooperative Learning
* Higher Order Thinking
* Self Directed Learning