In preparation for our STEM Scholars Program launch in September, Stacey van deer Veen from Leadership in Science spent a day training our STEM faculty on project-based learning across STEM classes. Stacey came highly recommended by our STEM coordinator, Don Williams, as a former co-worker at Merk and as a current researcher and presenter in science education. This workshop focused on the integration of science and engineering. In science we try to understand how the natural world works while in engineering we define engineering problems and develop design solutions based on science in response to human needs.

Our STEM faculty had the opportunity to observe an engineering phenomenon, define the engineering problem and then develop and optimize design solutions. They practiced this process by investigating the phenomenon that when ice cubes are added to a drink, the outside of the glass gets wet after some time. Using observation and core scientific ideas, our STEM teachers identified the heat transfer causes, developed solutions, and designed models to address the causes.

“It was fun to see teachers as learners interacting with one another to apply this integrated approach to solving problems and learning. There was definite excitement as teachers shared their optimal solution to solve a wet glass on a hot day!” shared Principal McKay.

After lunch, STEM teachers had time to collaborate on projects they will be implementing across subjects during the first half of the school year. Students will have opportunities to engineer solutions to real-life problems using integrated core concepts from math, science, and computer programming. This will begin to set our students apart as learning moves beyond “what students know” to “what students can do with what they know.”