STEM & Explore!
STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning that integrates the concepts found in science, technology, engineering and math. Through hands on learning, students work together to solve real world problems by applying the elements of the design cycle. Lessons focus on developing the 21st century skills of problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration and communication. STEM classes build on students’ naturally curiosity about the world, and foster creativity, innovation, risk taking and deep thinking about global issues. It is not uncommon to see a flurry of activity as students investigate various approaches to solving problems encountered in the real world. Some examples include: researching different ways to purify water, designing a hovercraft, cleaning up oil spills and writing simple code.
In addition to weekly STEM classes for students in grade K-5, each year the Lower School hosts EXPLORE! Night. The goal of EXPLORE! Night is to provide an engaging environment for students to discover the Fine Arts, Humanities and STEM with teachers and parents. This interactive evening, encourages students to see the world from a different perspective, express their thoughts and feelings creatively, collaborate around a common goal, and solve problems. As students practice toward mastering a skill, they develop concentration and focus, learn perseverance, and build confidence to communicate in front of an audience.
Past EXPLORE! Night topics have included: the art of mime, storytelling, designing hexbug MAZE challenge, robotics, drama, rock art and voice aerobics. Our annual band concert, and art show also take place during EXPLORE! Night providing a forum for students to grow in confidence as they share their gifts and talents. EXPLORE! Nights in the Lower School expose students to the Schools of Applied and Innovative Learning (SAIL) topics they will participate in more fully in Middle and Upper Schools.
Family Field trips round out the Lower School SAIL opportunities with excursions to The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pennsylvania farm Show, to local museums and art galleries All of these learning experiences build on our Lower School students core learning in the liberal arts, creating a complementary program that is experiential, engaging and developmentally appropriate.