to begin on the path of developing a trans-disciplinary approach, which fits nicely into the school’s longtime mission
of promoting cross-pollination between cultures, critical
thinking, and the ability to collaborate and communicate.
In short, the goal is to use STEM as one tool to help us
redefine the classroom, developing students who are thinkers and doers, and not passive followers.
This recently completed academic year was a time of exploration where the teachers laid the groundwork. Starting
with the current curriculum, and through a bilingual lens,
multiple approaches were utilized. Pedagogical coordinators went into the classrooms co-teaching and organizing
events that encouraged teachers to consider the teaching of
science in a different light, such as the successful science
days for grades K, 2, and 4. Experts in various fields were
brought to campus to make presentations to the children,
including the founder of NorCalBats, who talked with our
first graders to raise awareness of issues in bat colonies.
The school also had an opportunity to develop a partnership with the Academy of Sciences, which included a day
at the Academy where the 4th grade participated in workshops on oceanography and coral reefs.
As work with the current curriculum deepens this coming year, studies at various levels will continue to include
zoology, plantation (experimentation on what’s needed for
a plant to grow), magnetism and electricity, marine science,
and an early introduction to the scientific process and how
to use science equipment, such as the microscope. Some
events to be repeated include a series of student workshops
hosted around sustainability, environmental science and
chemistry. This coming year will bring continued focus on
the navigation project in grade 5, and a third repeat of the
popular and successful Astronomy Night in grade 4.
The Academic Technology team will continue the ongo-
ing Digital Literacy Program, by educating students on the
key skills and qualities of being an online digital citizen.
After school offerings in the lower school will continue
to include opportunities to learn early coding and pro-
gramming skills. Also returning will be the second annual
Modern Learning Showcase, an open house for parents
where students from every level of the school make formal
presentations highlighting classroom projects that involve
And finally, the Math component of STEM will be ad-
dressed with implementation of the innovative Singapore
Math (SM) technique, a teaching method developed in the
1980s and evolved over the years for kindergarten through
sixth grade in Singapore. SM requires children to under-
stand not just how something works but also why it works.
The program employs a pictorial approach to teach students
how to recognize and understand patterns. SM also relies
heavily on model drawing and math diagramming for word
problems. “Mastery not memorization” is a primary goal,
where children perform well because they understand the
material on a deeper level. Students in Singapore have
achieved excellent results on standardized tests, and a col-
lection of data around SM in the U.S. is starting to build.
The existing curriculum is the starting point for all
decisions going forward about program and learning
environment. Some of the plans to be implemented in
the 2014-2015 academic year include opening a lower
school-specific science lab in the enhanced new facility at
150 Oak, developing a tinker space, and hiring an in-house
science coach. Five lower school teachers will also begin a
two-year training relationship with the Academy of Sciences this summer. As previously mentioned, a new math program will also be initiated specifically in grades three, four,
and five, and the ongoing work to bring technology into the
classrooms through the iPad programs will continue, as will
rich engineering opportunities in the after school program.