Developing future leaders through inquiry learning.
Magnify your abilities
With a driving focus on developing future innovators and problem solvers, St. Mary’s has comprehensive PK-12 curriculum, extracurricular activities, and community service and outreach programs focused on STEM. Through these programs, our students gain tangible skillsets which prepare them for future careers and entrepreneurial endeavors.
As we developed our STEM program, we set out with the goal of identifying what a graduate of St. Mary’s academy would look like. What characteristics would they possess that would set them apart from other students?
Based on this thought process, we identified key traits that we desired to develop in our students. Each of these intentionally helps focus our curriculum and ensures that we are producing students who are able to take on the challenges of the world outside the classroom through innovative thinking, creativity, and resilience.
Our elementary students benefit from a standards-aligned STEM progression which focuses on discovery, exploration, and problem-solving skill development.
Throughout the progression, students obtain quality instruction that includes:
Some of the topics that students learn about through our progression include:
These topics and more are tightly integrated in the weekly STEM time as well as their normal class activities.
As our students continue to build their STEM traits and progress through our program, they reach our middle school STEM progression. At these grade levels, the focus is on skill development as well as solving more complex and challenging problems.
Our middle school students receive a semester each year of daily STEM instruction. This semester is broken into a STEM lab and a STEM course. Throughout this instructions, all grade levels complete multiple design challenges. Whether it is designing joints to mimic those found in nature (as seen in the image on the right) or creating automated components for our school chicken coop, students are engaged in a broad array of novel and challenging design problems.
In addition to the design challenges, students cover a range of topics and learn a variety of skills that build upon each other to
In our high school program, we have developed a four year STEM progression that culminates in a open-ended student selected design challenge. Students who complete this progression receive a STEM endorsement on their diploma as well as a special STEM graduation cord.
These courses focus on developing skills students can apply in the workforce, developing an entrepreneurial mindset, and teaching students the engineering design process.
Below are the courses included in the pathway and a brief description of each course. `
This course provides a survey of various tools and skills in the STEM fields including:
This course builds on the skills developed in STEM 1 and further focuses on the following areas:
This course offers students a variety of options to focus their interests and skills. Areas which students can choose to focus their studies are:
This course focuses on student choice and voice by allowing students to create a solution to a challenge they see in the world today. Student ideas typically result in:
Whether it is a physical object or intellectual property, we assist the students in pursuing and being granted a patent or copyright through the assistance of a local patent attorney.
Additionally, students can choose to use this course to study for a professional certification or credential and to sit for such an exam at the end of the course.
Our school provides a number of STEM-related clubs and after school programs such as Aviation Club, 4-H, and Robotics. Covering all grades, the competition robotics program engages students in design thinking through unique challenges that change each year. As a FIRST member school, we are excited to deliver these high quality, national standard aligned programs. If you would like to learn more about our STEM, Academic, and Fine Arts Clubs, visit the Clubs page under Academics. To learn more about our competition robotics program, click on the arrows below.
As a part of our vision and STEM traits, we desire to develop students who utilize their skills and gifts to glorify God and to serve others. Our service programs are designed strategically to provide our students the opportunity to address real world problems and to interact with the needy and suffering, all while using the school’s tools and resources to help these individuals. Our program has a global impact, improving lives of children and adults as far away as Sri Lanka, India. Click the arrows below to learn more about how your student can learn to serve.
Engaging everyone in design thinking
Design challenges are a way to ensure all students are learning and growing while applying their skills in an age-appropriate but challenging manner.
Each year, the faculty and STEM committee use the input of students to come up with a school-wide design challenge. These challenges involve large-scale projects which allow all age levels to interact with the design in some way.
Our first project was an automated chicken coop. The students designed, built, and automated a coop that holds 14 chickens. This included creating an automated feeding and watering system, webcams to monitor the chickens, and data collection tools to see trends in egg laying as well as food and water consumption. The various elementary grades collect data on worksheets created by the middle school students. This data is then plotted on a data dashboard which was created and is analyzed by the high school students.
Below you will find links to articles from our STEM blog as well as links to our YouTube channel and our social media pages. We provide parents with a monthly STEM update which is recorded and published to our YouTube channel as well as regular updates through our social media accounts of all our students are learning in the STEM program.