Stem Schools: Project Based Education | Northwest Passage High School

A student measures the wind velocity to determine how much power is needed to light an LED bulb. A high school sophomore throws a basketball in the air and then whips out his cellphone to record it as it falls down due to gravity and then charts the movement on a graph using his tablet device.  On a nearby bench, a group of students are huddled discussing how black holes are not really black and then calls a teacher walking by to discuss their ideas. Wonder what this class or this school is? This is your typical day at a STEM based school. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Students in STEM schools learn concepts differently compared to traditional schools. In a STEM school the learning process is project-based and is achieved through collaboration; students working hand in hand solving real world problems. Developing critical and creative thinkers through enhancement of problem-solving skills is at the heart of an authentic STEM school.  Teachers do not merely spoon feed students with information they most likely will forget but instead allow students to use their own data and discovery in order to learn an academic concept.  While all schools be it traditional or other teach the same subjects, only in a STEM school will you find special emphasis on these critical subjects with the idea of preparing kids better to qualify for in demand tech related careers of the future.

STEM Schools project based learning assignment at NWPHS

Importance of STEM Education

The global economy is in a state of flux. Now more than ever, jobs are being lost due to automation processes taking over human interaction. However new jobs also surface each day as a result of advances in the field of technology.  This continuous advance is revolutionizing how students learn, connect and interact with one another every single day. Through the skills developed and learned from STEM education, kids are being given a strong and solid foundation not only to achieve academic success but also career success.

There is consistent high employer demand for STEM qualifications and skills and will continue to rise in the immediate and distant future.  As of today, 75% of jobs in the fastest rising industries need STEM skills.  STEM provides empowerment to students by arming them with the necessary skills they need to succeed and adapt in an ever-changing technological world.

Is STEM Schools the Right Choice for Your Child?

STEM is the natural choice for kids that have a natural desire for the sciences or building stuff. However, STEM schools cater to all sorts of learners and most students like the hands-on approach nature of the system. Students that practice good time management can succeed very well in STEM programs that are individually paced and feature students working on different independent projects.

Why Consider STEM over Traditional School?

Just in the last decade, jobs in STEM fields tripled compared to jobs in non-STEM fields. This is based on data collected from the US Department of Commerce. They are expected to grow by as much as 17% between 2008 and 2018. While non-STEM fields will grow only by 9.8% within the same time period. The problem is there are not enough STEM graduates to fill the demand. STEM education can provide students with the necessary skills needed in order to succeed and flourish in these fields.

What a STEM Classroom Looks Like:

Students acting like scientists — On a regular school day it is not unusual for you to observe students performing experiments, jotting down observations or doing their own individual research.  Learning is achieved through a project-based approach. It may look a bit messy but students learn by doing stuff, which tends to stick more to their memory as they actually experience solving real world problems and not just memorize information from a textbook.

Connecting STEM learning to possible job opportunities – The school may bring instructors from local tech companies or assist in organizing internships  to research institutions and hospitals to help students get to know what jobs are waiting for them once they graduate.

Integration with other subjects – STEM subjects are integrated into other areas of academic learning such as combining history with science or learning the impact of history on the environment for instance.

Use of tech – STEM schools would not be called STEM schools if no technology were integrated into everyday classroom life. You will find students taking daily tests on laptops or logging in data onto spreadsheets or using graphs to highlight results of experiments.

Boisterous classroom experience – In a traditional school silence is golden in the classroom. However for STEM schools classes are not usually quiet and are  arranged in such a way where students can work in groups. This concept fosters collaboration as students talk about their work and challenge one another to gain better insight on subject matter.

Northwest Passage High School – STEM School

We are a project-based learning, STEM School in the Coon Rapids area. However we have students from all the surrounding communities as well. So if you are looking for a STEM school near me, than you have found the best in Minneapolis area.

Call us today at 763-862-9223 with questions or to get enrolled.