Academy School Revamps STEM Program for Classical Ed

The Academy School has overhauled its approach to STEM education for the new school year.

The independent Berkeley-based school takes a Socratic, constructivist approach to education.

"There is this common misconception that the Socratic approach and technological innovation stand in stark contrast to one another; I don't think that is true," said John Lynch, upper school dean at the K-8 institution, in a prepared statement. "I believe there is a natural interplay between a classical education and how our students are utilizing innovation tools like design thinking in the study of technology and engineering."

The school has added new courses in coding and engineering, as well as additional science faculty with experience in real-world research and development, teaching experiential science and curriculum design featuring the scientific method and critical thinking.

"From the engineering perspective what truly sets us apart from other schools that are tapping into STEM education is that students at The Academy are engaged in realistic engineering exercises using, as much as possible, authentic engineering strategies and tools," said Dave Baker, one of the new teachers, in a prepared statement. "For example engineering prototyping, use of simulation such as finite element analysis and mathematical modeling, reliability testing and failure analysis, statistical analysis, and equipment such as accelerometers and tachometers."

"The work students are doing in their core subjects is integrated into the curriculum story arch that scaffolds concepts over the course of the year," added Janis Chun, another new teacher. "The focus is on helping students understand how we know what we know and to give them a better understanding of the world around them. I love that hands-on science experiments can turn abstract concepts into something even young students can relate to and understand."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].