With the STEM and career explorations theme as a building wide focus, not an isolated program, emphasis is placed on embedding it daily into the core curriculum, and increasing student-centered project-based learning. A unit and lesson design template was created based on Understanding by Design and planning with the end in mind. Teachers use these templates to structure cross-curricular theme units and individual content lessons and projects. The templates include sections to explicitly identify: content standards; 21st Century skills to increase rigor; STEM practices; career connections; content and literacy objectives; key vocabulary; essential questions; evidence of learning; resources; and instructional input. Expectations have been set with concrete steps established to provide all students attending Jardine rigorous and relevant learning opportunities to develop and empower them with tangible and marketable vocational, technological, and professional skills for the future.
Each grade level instructional team designs, develops and plans STEM signature units of study utilizing STEM and Career integration. Students present culminating projects from their cross-curricular unit of study during Family STEM Nights. Current signature units of study include: Discovering My Potential Career; Carbon Footprint- “Footprint on the Future”, Ethical Implications and Effects of Technological Advancements, Physics at Work; Healthy Living, Ecological Engineering; and Immigration & Inventions. This provides all students the unique opportunity to engage in learning that centers on real world issues, thus empowering them to make socially significant connections and design personal solutions.
In addition to the signature units of study, STEM problem and project-based learning experiences are interwoven monthly in content areas. Recent project examples include: Paperless Classroom, Refugee Project – Designing a Refugee Shelter, Urban Farming, Designing Wind Turbines, Brain Safety Challenge, Digital Composition, Nanotechnology, Fruit Fly Genetic Study of Phenotypes, The Design of Sound, STEM in Sports, and Living on a Dollar a Day.