Life is wonderfully complex. Consider starting a civic initiative, developing software or designing a headlamp; all require an application of knowledge from various fields.
A lamp needs a power source, such as a battery. How should you choose?The scientific principles involved in batteries are traditionally taught in chemistry. Yet, in order to obtain an estimate of a battery’s life, you need to delve into the very traditional domain of physics. These calculations, however, belong to (applied) mathematics.
Apparently, knowledge from the three domains that are traditionally taught separately is needed in order to create a headlamp – and we have not touched upon the shining part yet! Unfortunately, a lamp does not belong into any of the mentioned fields, so students very rarely get to construct lamps and build other exciting projects.
Worse, students get to believe science is both too difficult and isolated from their lives. Another consequence of teaching these three domains separately is their inability to apply knowledge from one area in others because their mental picture gets fragmented into “subjects”.
At LEAF Academy, we see our students learning skills and discovering knowledge while working on projects. Given an involving and challenging project, students will be able to learn while completing the assignment, and choosing their focus and pace.
Due to the nature of the task, multiple strands of knowledge will join together, resulting in a genuine understanding. These are just a few advantages of project-based learning, which we intend to implement as often as possible. We draw inspiration about project-based learning from world-class institutions like the High Tech High School in San Diego, California.
Let’s go STEM!
Historically, the close connections between various experimental sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science result in the idea of teaching STEM, rather than individual subjects. Because we believe that connecting knowledge is essential for its application and retention, LEAF Academy’s STEM department will align the coursework from various areas to provide the best educational experience.
STEM at LEAF Academy
The staple features of our educational programme in STEM include a two-year course of integrated science, a year course of mathematical modelling and statistics, as well as a selection of rigorous AP courses, including Calculus, Physics C and Biology.
In the first two years, emphasis will be put on connection and integration of knowledge, while the latter two years will allow for in-depth specialisation. As a result, LEAF’s Academy STEM programme is well-suited for the needs of STEM enthusiasts, as well as for those who prefer a more general, applicable education.
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Author: Matúš Kurian
Teacher of STEM at LEAF Academy