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STEM Academy at North Hall High School

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The STEM Academy at North Hall High School is a program designed for students with interests and aptitude in Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematics.  The STEM Academy is a technology-rich environment where students are encouraged to recognize and develop connections between content areas using real-world problems as a basis for learning.

STEM Academy Philosophy

STEM Academy students utilize state-of-the-art tools and technology in all of their STEM classes. STEM students and teachers recognize that these real-world tools and technology simply enable and facilitate the STEM mindset. If students are interested in particular tools or technologies, they are encouraged to use them in their learning. For example, a student studying cell biology might choose to create a 3D-printed model of a cell organelle to facilitate or demonstrate something that they learned. A STEM physics student studying 2D kinematics might choose to use 3D design software to model a catapult, then actually build the device in the MakerSpace. Many students learn best when creating and exploring. The STEM Academy is designed to provide student access to real-world, industry-standard tools for learning through creating.

Our foundational beliefs are that a NHHS STEM Academy education should:

  • ENABLE students to “see” the math, science and engineering in the world around them
  • DEVELOP and FOSTER a foundational STEM mindset through application of interdisciplinary thinking, problem-solving and communication skills
  • FACILITATE access to 21st century tools, learning and collaboration environments which mirror those found in universities and industry
  • ENGAGE students by encouraging learning through creative, relevant, self-directed inquiry
  • INTEGRATE STEM throughout core classes
  • RECOGNIZE and FACILITATE differences in learning styles and student interests
  • PROVIDE opportunities for real-world STEM experiences through guest lectures, field experiences, internships and STEMTALKS

Demonstration of Learning and Community Engagement

STEM Academy students are required to participate in at least three external events per year. These can include STEMTALKS, Robotics Competitions, Technology Fairs, TSA Challenges, STEM Saturday Workshops, STEM Outreach activities with schools & community organizations. By the end of their Senior year, STEM students are required to present an aspect of their portfolio in a formal STEMTALK.

STEM Academy Learning Environment

Students in the STEM Academy have access to a wide range of 21st century tools, including several 3D printers, a laser cutter, CNC equipment, programmable microcontrollers (Arduino & Raspberry Pi), VEX robotics, Autodesk 2D & 3D CAD software, Adobe CS6 Suite, wide format printers for architectural and design printing, electronics tools, mechanical engineering tools and Vernier & Pasco data collection probes, all housed in our MakerSpace. A university-quality wet-lab for STEM chemistry and biology students houses modern laboratory equipment, including gel-electrophoresis for DNA studies, high-power microscopes, digital balances and a full range of laboratory glassware. STEM students also have access to a state-of-the-art greenhouse for biological studies. All STEM classes routinely incorporate technology, with a 1:1 device -to-student ratio.

Most STEM classrooms are designed for student collaboration and project-work, with tables and chairs replacing desks. STEM classrooms are equipped with either touchscreen TVs or interactive digital projectors.

The STEM conference room is a high-quality meeting space equipped with leading-edge technology which rivals boardrooms and meeting spaces found in industry. The STEM conference room is used for student collaboration, student meetings with industrial advisors and student presentations.

Examples of STEM Student Portfolio Projects

  • Student designed and created a working brain-wave monitor which controls a servo motor
  • Student designed and prototyped a modification to a surgical instrument to overcome a common problem in gall-bladder surgery
  • Student developed working blueprints for two buildings which were subsequently constructed
  • Student designed orthopaedic training device for cheerleading stunts
  • Student created video-games and animations
  • Student designed rocket engines
  • Engineering study of Thompson Bridge design and construction
  • Microprocessor control of instrument-mounted LED lighting for NHHS Drumline
  • Drone based study of chlorophyll A/B ratios in local pastures using IR/Vis cameras
  • Solar-powered vehicles
  • Microprocessor monitored knee-brace for measuring physical therapy parameters
For more information, please contact Deana Harper (STEM Academy Coordinator) at deana.harper@hallco.org (770-983-7331).