Principles of integrated STEM Curricula at new middle school pathway
Problem solving through curricular pathways
- Focus areas in fields of STEM
- Scientific thinking (hypotheses, rigor, open-ended solutions, collaboration & feedback)
- Students define and solve relevant & compelling problems
- Students select 3-year elective course sequences all connected to a single theme, focused around one of the fields of STEM.
- Students explore integrated scientific themes, such as wind and water in the geographic region, how to make new things from old things, etc...
21st Century Pedagogy
- Iterative cycles of design-thinking
- Common language of Next Generation Science Standards, Math, and ELA practices
- Hands-on project-based learning opportunities
- The design thinking process draws on methods from engineering and design, and combines them with ideas from the arts, tools from the social sciences, and insights from the business world.
- Patters in the standards can be organized and synthesized across interdisciplinary areas, specifically the "practice standards," which outline the skills demonstrated by proficient students. (View Standards for Mathematical Practice; the descriptions of literate students' "capacities" in the language arts common standards; the guidelines for developing English-language-proficiency standards that correspond to the common core, developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers; and the NGSS' science and engineering practices.)
- Interdisciplinary Culminating Projects
- Community Panels
- Culminating projects explicitly integrating STEM fields with the core classes (including Social Sciences and English Language Arts)
- ePortfolios accessible anywhere, 24/7
- Partnerships with Loyola Marymount University and Silicon Beach organizations foster authentic student engagement in learning opportunities
- Demonstrations are defenses of student work and learning processes
- Community and students encourage and challenge each other to consider additional perspectives.
- School-wide book study
- Growth Mindset
- Social-Emotional Learning
- Students are in a safe and respectful environment, where social and emotional skills are specifically taught, practiced, and addressed within the context of the pre-adolescent and adolescent brain development.
- An emphasis is made upon empathy and emotional intelligence.
- Individuals with a growth mindset believe that anyone can learn and achieve, errors are opportunities for improvement, new and unfamiliar endeavors should be explored, learning is as much about "process" as it is about "product", and that failures are only temporary setbacks.