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Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
We live in a world where technology - and access to technology - is evolving rapidly. In fact, the changes are happening so fast that it's hard to predict how our world will be organized in the coming years. Additionally, people in our society are increasingly required to make decisions that depend upon an understanding not only of technology, but also science, math, and engineering. Because of this, it is critical that today’s students learn to be lifelong STEM learners.
Like the humanities courses, science and math courses will be presented to students in learning cycles in which there are opportunities to develop their comprehension and skill before attempting a performance task to demonstrate mastery. Students can progress through the concepts independently, or seek additional support if challenged. STEM teachers also design performance assessments that require students to show mastery of multiple concepts, across stem disciplines. This is when students conduct labs and write lab reports, build models that demonstrate math and science principles, and apply the content to challenging problems.
Traditional math courses often present students one entry point to each concept and reward blind obedience. Because of this many students think they hate math and the “learning” does not stick. At d.tech we offer students many entry points to mathematical concepts by providing a variety of materials, experimenting with manipulatives, using low-tech and high tech tools, requiring written explanation of mathematical thinking, and providing a visual, concrete understanding of concepts before teaching the symbolic, abstract language of math. We also prioritize deep understanding of math principles and habits of mind such as conjecturing and generalizing.
The concepts in the mathematics program at d.tech are treated as an integrated whole; as such, our math pathway is organized in a unique way; however, integrated math approaches like ours are aligned with state Common Core standards and accepted by colleges and universities. This integrated approach is typically seen internationally and consists of a sequence of three courses - math 1, math 2, and math 3 - each of which includes the study of numbers, algebra, geometry, trig, probability, and statistics. Each year students study these topics at a deeper and more complex level. After completing Math 3 students are preapred to take one or more advanced math courses such as calculus or statistics.
Our science program is aligned with the recently published Next Gen Science Standards and treats science as a way to look at the world and a way to solve problems, rather than just a sequence of facts. At d.tech, students start their science education with physics because the principles of physics are foundational to the other science fields. They then take chemistry and biology. Each of these science courses addresses the following:
- scientific and engineering practices,
- cross-cutting skills such as understanding cause and effect or modeling systems, and
- the core ideas of the discipline.
In addition, our science coursework allows students to learn about and understand science concepts as they are applied in the real world. Should a student want to take a fourth year of science, they can enroll in a college-level course through concurrent enrollment.