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STEM

LEADING LRCA STUDENTS TO SUCCEED IN A GLOBAL ECONOMY

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Commerce shows that over the last decade employment in STEM occupations grew much faster than employment in non-STEM occupations (24.4% versus 4.0%, respectively).  STEM occupations are projected to grow by 8.9% from 2014 to 2024, compared to 6.4% growth for non-STEM occupations. STEM workers command higher wages, earning 29% more than their non-STEM counterparts in 2015, and STEM degree holders enjoy higher earnings, regardless of whether they work in STEM or non-STEM occupations. 

LRCA is teaching students the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in STEM careers, as well as the collaborative problem solving skills that will benefit them in any career path they choose. Little Rock Christian is utilizing Project Lead the Way to accomplish that goal.

When students understand how STEM education is relevant to their lives and future careers, they get excited. Invoking excitement is what Project Lead the Way does on a regular basis and the reason students are successful.

Project Lead the Way is the nation’s leading provider of K-12 STEM programs, providing a comprehensive approach to STEM education Through world-class curriculum, a high-quality professional development model, and an engaged network of educators and corporate and community partners, Project Lead the Way helps students develop the skills necessary to succeed in our global economy. The organization currently delivers programs to more than 8,000 schools in all 50 states. Its success in preparing students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed has been recognized by colleges and universities, Fortune 500 businesses and numerous national organizations. Through activity, project, and problem-based curriculum, Project Lead the Way gives students in kindergarten through high school a chance to apply what they know, identify problems, find unique solutions, and lead their own learning. For educators, the engaging, rigorous model provides tools to empower students and transform the classroom into a collaboration space where content comes to life.

Barry McCaskill, campus STEM Coordinator, said “Project Lead the Way Engineering is an excellent engineering curriculum that incorporates engineering, science, and math principles, along with technology, to prepare students to solve complex, open-ended problems in a real-world context.” Students focus on the process of defining and solving a problem, not on getting the “right” answer. They learn how to apply STEM knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to make the world a better place through innovation.

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STEM CURRICULUM

Elementary

In kindergarten through fourth grade, students become problem solvers and employ critical thinking using structured approaches such as the engineering design process. They apply STEM knowledge, skills, and habits of mind, while learning that it is okay to take risks and make mistakes. As teachers and students learn and discover together, education becomes far more engaging. Elementary STEM instructor, Michelle Irby said, “Having an elementary STEM lab is a tremendous investment in our students that will pay dividends in future years as they grow academically. We are laying the groundwork for successful careers in STEM for these students.”

 

ELEMENTARY STEM CURRICULUM MODULES

 

Kindergarten – Pushes and Pulls; Structure and Function of the Human Body

 

First Grade – Light and Sound; Animal Adaptations

 

Second Grade – Materials Science Form and Function; Grids and Games

 

Third Grade – The Science of Flight; Variation of Traits

 

Fourth Grade – Input and Output of the Human Brain; Energy Collisions

 

Middle School and Junior High

Middle School is the perfect time for students to explore and learn that there is more than one way to reach a solution. The Project Lead the Way middle school/ junior high curriculum challenges and inspires students through engineering, biomedical, and computer sciences. Students use industry-leading technology to solve problems while gaining skills in communication, collaboration, critical-thinking, and creativity.

 

5th Grade Robotics and Automation

In the first half of the course, students will explore robotic history and learn more about a particular type of robot. The activities and projects in this module will develop skills and knowledge associated with robotics and the use of VEX® IQ equipment. The second half of the course, students explore the application of autonomous robots in a variety of situations and learn more about a particular type of robot. The activities and projects in this module will develop skills and knowledge associated with the utilization of computer software to program robots.

6th Grade Design and Modeling

In the STEM Design and Modeling (DM) unit, students discover the design process and develop an understanding of the influence of creativity and innovation in their lives. They are then challenged and empowered to use and apply what they’ve learned throughout the unit to design a therapeutic toy for a child who has cerebral palsy.

6th and 7th Grade Robotics

Lego Mindstorms Education EV3 is a hands-on, robotics curriculum that engages students by providing the resources to design, build and program their creations while helping them develop essential 21st-century skills such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.

7th Grade Science of Technology

Science impacts the technology of yesterday, today, and the future. In this unit, students discover the properties and applications of nanotechnology.  Students learn the basics of Chemistry and apply these to make ice cream. Students design and construct a toothpick bridge, a marble roller coaster, a Rube Goldberg machine, and a CO2 race car; all while learning and applying concepts of Physics.

8th Grade Flight and Space

The exciting world of aerospace comes alive through Flight and Space.  Students discover how convection currents and wind influence things like kites and hot air balloons.  Students explore the science behind aeronautics, such as the forces of flight and Bernoulli’s Principle, and use their knowledge to design, build, and test different types of “rocket fuel” and design and construct balsa wood gliders, air-powered rockets, water rockets, Mars mini-rovers, and a hovercraft.

8th Grade Medical Detectives

Students play the role of real-life medical detectives as they collect and analyze medical data to diagnose disease. They solve medical mysteries through hands-on projects and labs, measure and interpret vital signs, dissect a sheep brain, investigate disease outbreaks, and explore how a breakdown within the human body can lead to dysfunction.

High School

High School Engineering

 

Introduction to Engineering Design - Students dig deep into the engineering design process, applying math, science, and engineering standards to hands-on projects. They work both individually and in teams to design solutions to a variety of problems using 3D modeling software, and use an engineering notebook to document their work.

 

Principles of Engineering - Through problems that engage and challenge, students explore a broad range of engineering topics, including mechanisms, the strength of structures and materials, and automation. Students develop skills in problem solving, research, and design while learning strategies for design process documentation, collaboration, and presentation.

High School Computer Science

LRCA’s Computer Science offerings also empower students to become creators, instead of merely consumers, of the technology all around them. The program engages students in real-world activities, projects, and problems to prepare them for computational thinking, challenge them to think outside the box, and help them illustrate how intricately computer science is woven into our society.

 

Introduction to Coding - Designed to be the first computer science course for students who have never programmed before, this class teaches fundamental programming constructs and practices in the JavaScript programming language by having students developing animations and games in Code.org’s Game Lab environment. Students end the unit by designing their own games. Beyond learning the fundamentals of programming, students build computational thinking skills, problem solving skills, and perseverance. 

 

Coding II - Students transfer the understanding of programming gained in Introduction to Coding to text-based programming in Python® and apply their knowledge to create new algorithms, gradually harnessing the power of some of Python's more advanced features to make games and solve real-world problems.

 

AP Computer Science Principles - Offering a multidisciplinary approach to teaching the underlying principles of computation, this course will introduce students to the creative aspects of programming, abstractions, algorithms, large data sets, the Internet, cybersecurity concerns, and computing impacts. AP CSP will give students the opportunity to use technology to address real-world problems and build relevant solutions. Together, these aspects of the course make up a rigorous and rich curriculum that aims to broaden participation in computer science.