A Message from the Head of School: Award-winning STEM program designed with your future 25-year-old in mind
When we were dreaming of our perfect Middle School many years ago, we asked ourselves this question. What is the profile of a 25-year-old ISDenver graduate? What are they doing? What skills do they possess? How are they showing up in the world?
As a school, we continue asking this iterative question for all of our students, always looking to prepare them today with the conceptual understanding and practical application of skills needed for success in the 21st century. Our Head of School, Bob Carignan, and the academic team are tireless in their pursuit of how best to answer this question; equipping our students with the wherewithal and skillset they'll need to find success. We like to say around here that we are creating a more compassionate and curious world, one student at a time. Project Lead the Way is one of the innovative, hands-on ways we are doing that. To tell you more, I'm handing the reins of the Admissions blog over to Bob.
Today I want to write about the ways in which we are preparing our students for a future in which they will need to be continuous learners and problem solvers, adaptive to disruptions,in order to make a positive contribution. According to this article based on the World Economic Forum predictions, “The world is becoming increasingly more connected and new job opportunities that require globally relevant skills arise all the time.” Please take a moment to have a look as it discusses how pivotal 10 skills will be in ensuring that our students will be successful as they continue on their lifelong journeys. One area that I would like to highlight is our Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) program, as we are integrating science and technology directly into our programs of inquiry in Primary School. At a time when many schools have stopped teaching these STEM skills to students this age, we are investing in making our program more robust and world class. In tandem with introducing new learning opportunities to students, we’ve also provided professional development with an International Baccalureate science consultant to enrich our units and enhance our teaching practices. Please take a look at the stories below.
Beginning in Spring ‘21, ISDenver implemented Project Lead The Way (PLTW) as a comprehensive strategy to enhance STEM education in the classroom. These activities aim to foster critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and collaborative skills. They also help students develop essential skills in data analysis, communication, and project management while promoting their familiarity with technology and the scientific method. PLTW fits dynamically into our Primary Years Programme units of inquiry, reinforcing our learners’ ability to explore their world in tangible ways, creating lasting and meaningful knowledge that they carry with them into the future. Such an approach also reinforces our prioritization of Spanish, French, and Chinese learning standards, in tandem with Colorado state standards; in G1 - G3 most of our science lessons are delivered in target language classes, and science is team-taught in G4-G5.
Two notable examples of PLTW lessons from this past year include:
- Second-grade students exploring states of matter and chemical reactions through creating "Elephant Toothpaste." as part of their How the World Works unit.
- Similarly, fourth-grade students employed PLTW to explore energy (also for their own How the World Works unit) as they designed vehicles capable of carrying an egg and withstanding a crash into a stationary object.
In addition to the STEM studies, students enhanced their communication and technology skills by documenting their process and outcomes technologically.
We’ve just this month been recognized as a PLTW Distinguished School; our Primary School students are now joining their Middle School peers in benefitting from hands-on, integrated, and cutting-edge science education as part of their ISDenver journey. Looking forward, we’re assessing the possibility of adding a Primary School maker space to engage our learners in more innovation, collaboration, and creativity.
STEM education is pivotal in today's world, preparing students for future career opportunities and promoting creativity, collaboration, scientific literacy, and critical skills. Integrating STEM activities in the classroom helps to equip students with the skills needed for success in the modern world, as the next generation of problem-solvers and innovators. It is our honor and privilege to witness the success of teachers and students as they engage with these vital skills.
I'd love to chat more about PLTW as part of our immersive, IB educational model. Use the Admissions Portal to schedule a Zoom 1:1 with me, or better yet, to join us on campus for a tour of our classrooms so you can see it for yourself.
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ISDenver implemented Project Lead The Way (PLTW) as a comprehensive strategy to enhance STEM education in the classroom. These activities aim to foster critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and collaborative skills. They also help students develop essential skills in data analysis, communication, and project management while promoting their familiarity with technology and the scientific method.
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