LEARNERS CRAVE CONTEXT.
 
We all learn best when the topic we are studying is closely associated with situations and scenarios whose meaning we clearly understand. Devoid of context, students have historically struggled with motivation to study a subject they esteem to have little meaning. Project-based learning seeks to provide context to any learning discipline, elevating the students’ appreciation and appraisal of it. When the learning topics are science and mathematics, and the contextual backdrop reveals the usefulness of technology and engineering skills, a unique, synchronous symbiosis can occur. We call this dynamic cauldron of creativity and innovative thinking STEM. STEM is the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics into a transdisciplinary subject, and students of all ages benefit from its practice.
 
A growing body of research suggests the enterprise of STEM as a transdisciplinary subject can be advanced and enhanced by systematically infusing it with the Arts. Such an approach is known as STEAM, and is a comparatively new proving ground that has increasingly gained traction as an educational methodology. Mount Paran Christian School makes use of both STEM and STEAM approaches.
 
Mount Paran Christian School is intent on providing relevant educational experiences that leave lasting impressions on students’ minds and hearts, instilling durable knowledge and equipping students with skills and tools to engage the culture and workforce of the twenty-first century.  From preschool through high school, each division has initiated an aligned action plan that serves to develop students in STEM and STEAM disciplines. From pre-K STEAM to high school Project Lead the Way®, the learning experiences themselves are authentic, hands-on, and application-oriented. Students are engaged as investigators, experimenters, designers, and makers. At MPCS we honor students’ inquisitive nature to explore and discover the created world (Psalm 111:2), as well as nurture the ability to design and create new and innovative solutions to problems. In this way, students are trained both to uncover that which has never been known about our world, while creating and innovating a designed environment that has not yet existed (Exodus 35:30-35).

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  • Preschool

    Recognizing the value of a STEAM classroom in the early years, the preschool staff is embracing a new look in the exploratory program. Instead of each exploratory class being taught independently, the preschool is moving to a center-based approach incorporating technology and art. In addition, we are creating a new focus on science, math, and engineering outside of the regular classroom. A weekly STEAM class based upon preschool thematic units allows students to work in centers, engaging in hands-on learning and collaboration with their peers. Curiosity and imagination thrive in preschoolers, so this STEAM class allows creativity in a safe environment.
  • Lower School

    Kindergarten through fifth grade students participate in weekly STEAM classes where critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills are nurtured and developed through hands-on learning experiences. Students begin learning the basics of computer science in programming using Code.org. Our students are given the opportunity to explore and create using MinecraftEdu and a dedicated Makerspace area. Second and third grade students grow and tend to an on-campus garden as they bring hands-on learning to life.
  • Middle School

    Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students continue building their critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills through STEAM exploratory classes as well as science and math classes offered at the core and advanced levels. Students have the opportunity to take Project Lead the Way® GateWay courses such as Computer Science for Innovators and Makers and Design and Modeling, which are geared toward building excitement for STEM fields while preparing them for high school engineering.
  • High School

    High school has both stand-alone science, mathematics, and computer science courses as well as integrated STEM courses through Project Lead the Way® Engineering. Most stand-alone courses are offered at the core, honors, and AP levels. The high school program also features STEM Majors; an MPCS endorsement awarded to students who have completed a suite of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses, in addition to applied STEM experiences. Students who have successfully completed a regimen of AP science and PLTW engineering courses may additionally seek AP+PLTW Certification. Students participate in STEM seminars, expositions, applied science experiences, and internships.

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