over 3 years ago
over 3 years ago
Mesa View believes that every student needs a well-rounded STEM education to be successful in the 21st Century. Science, technology, engineering, and math - STEM - are the foundations of our modern world. We are committed to providing this education via various experiences throughout the school year as well as through regular STEM-infused course work. Students may experience a little STEM at Mesa View or a lot, based on their course choices, but every student will leave knowing what it means to solve problems by: dreaming, examining, designing, building, testing, demonstrating, destroying, and improving. Problem-based learning is an essential component of STEM at Mesa View. It makes learning real. It makes learning memorable. Most importantly, it helps students learn.
Why is Mesa View making such a big commitment to STEM? We've been offering STEM activities since we opened in 2009. The staff has seen first-hand the power of designing things, building things, and breaking things. Students learn how their world works when they have the opportunity to see and build it themselves. The need to reinvigorate education in the US, especially in math and the sciences, has been widely reported for decades. Study after study has shown that our students are not achieving in these subjects at a level comparable to students in other countries. Without innovative programs and a world class education, American students face a difficult future and a potentially lower standard of living. At the same time, STEM fields are growing into a building block of the US economy and future employment. Fox News highlighted a report stressing the importance of STEM in US education, which you can read by clicking here. The US Department of Commerce and others agree:
STEM: Good Jobs Now and For the Future
US Department of Commerce
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers drive our nation's innovation and competitiveness by generating new ideas, new companies, and new industries. However, US businesses frequently voice concerns over the supply and availability of STEM workers. Over the past ten years, growth in STEM jobs was three times as fast as growth in non-STEM jobs. STEM workers are also less likely to experience joblessness than their non-STEM counterparts. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workers play a key role in the growth and stability of the US economy:
- In 2010, there were 7.6 million STEM workers in the United States, about 1 in 18 workers.
- STEM jobs are projected to grow by 17% through 2018, compared to 9% growth for other jobs.
- STEM workers command higher wages, earning 26% more than workers in non-STEM fields.
- STEM degree holders enjoy higher earnings, whether they work in STEM or non-STEM fields.
Executive Director, STEM Education Coalition
Our country's current and future economic prosperity and ability to innovate absolutely depends on a robust, high-quality STEM workforce. If we are to keep up with our global competitors, we must step up our nation's efforts to improve and encourage STEM education.
Author, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energzing and Employing America
Without high-quality, knowledge-intensive jobs and the innovatice enterprises that lead to discovery and new technology, our economy will suffer and our people will face a lower standard of living.
Nobel Prize Winner, Professor of Molecular Genetics, University of Texas
If America is to maintain our high standard of living, we must continue to innovate. We are competing with nations many times our size. We don't have a single brain to waste. Math and science are the engines of innovation. With these engines, we can lead the world. We must demystify math and science so that all students feel the jof that follows understanding.
President, DEKA Research & Development
The world is full of kids who, like me, are born tinkerers, who want nothing more than to gather their birthday presents and begin disassembling them to figure out how they work. Anyone with a desire to build and grow has the capacity to become a scientist or engineer. The 21st Century will present no shortage of great challenges for scientists and engineers. Which nation will take the lead in the search for new sources of energy? Who will lead the team that cures cancer? The future of America depends on the next generation of STEM leaders. Each student who explores the wonder and excitement of STEM can expect not only a successful career, but also a prosperous America and a better world.
over 3 years ago
A lot goes into bringing STEM alive at Mesa View and making it a worthwhile curriculum for our students. What follows is a sampling of the STEM activities that take place on campus.
Catalina Island Marine Institute
Sixth graders particiapte in a three-day, two-night field trip to the Catalina Island Marine Institute on Catalina Island. They study marine biology in labs set-up on the island as they also enjoy ocean kayaking, the famous night snorkel, zip-line activities, and more. Students discover the intricacies of the delicate marine ecosystem surrounding the island.
Durintg this week, students build, from scratch, fully-functioning, metal catapults. They cut the sheet metal, bevel out the cup, twist and attach the coil, and more, under the supervision of staff. Using professional machine tools, students learn the fine art of manufacturing under precise specifications. Once built, students launch bouncy balls to see which catapult shoots the furthest. The week also includes the construction of other catapults, such as simple popsicle stick levers, rubber-band tension shooters, and more.
First in Math
This online program builds number sense and automaticity in math. Students reinforce their foundational skills in math by discovering the relationships among numbers, equations, and solutions. The rapid-fire game built into the site pushes advanced math students to their limits while also helping struggling students understand the hidden "language" of math.
High Performance Math (HiPerMath)
Math students engage in a problem-solving challenge where they build a virtural dragster and race it against the cars built by other students. Students compete to have the fastest time as they race down the same online race course. Students improve their cars by solving complex mathematical problems which involve gear ratios, engine size, wheel diameter, and more. As a result, students discover the math behind racing and the detailed calculations (and trade-offs) that go into producing the quickest dragster. The HiPerMath website tracks and compares student performance in real time. Top racers earn prizes and genuine recognition from their peers.
Knott's Berry Farm Physics Day
Eighth graders travel to Knott's Berry Farm to take part in the amusement park's Physics Day. Students enjoy a fun and educational day at the park while learning how to properly use accelerometers, inclinometers, and other measuring devices. Student groups document their findings and compare their results, discovering the complex engineering that went into the creation of Knott's famous roller coasters and thrill rides.
Leonardo Da Vinci Day
Every April 15, Mesa View students honor Leonardo Da Vinci's birthday by particiapting in a campus-wide building and racing competition. Da Vinci's work empitomizes what it means to live and breathe STEM. His designs, his art, and his creativity are highlighted as students design and build unusual vehicles (within pre-established parameters) and race them tournament-style in our gymnasium. The day is also celebrated with free birthday cake at lunch for all takers. Core subjects also weave their content into the day's theme, with Mona Lisa sketches in art, Vitruvian Man symetry lessons in math, and a look at Da Vinci's written journals in English.
NASCAR Math & Science Day
When NASCAR comes to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Mesa View students join the excitement by participating in NASCAR's Math & Science Day, conducted jointly by the speedway and the Alliance for Education. Students get behind-the-scenes of what it takes to compete in NASCAR, looking at the elements that make a winning stock car. They examine tread wear, fuel types, brake systems, and more. While at the speedway, students cover their ears as they observe the roar of actual time trials and test runs for the upcoming race.
In each of the three years a student could be at Mesa View, they will learn to construct and program Lego NXT robots. (There are over thirty robotics kits on campus.) Students learn the precision and detail that goes into the programming of robotic movememnts. They learn how to use motion, light, and sound sensors to guide their robots. They complete challenges agains other teams to discover which robot can complete certain tasks quicker, more accurately, and more reliably. Students who want to go farther, can join the Mustang Robotics Team and compete against other schools in FLL (First Lego League) tournaments.
Science students study the elements of flight by designing and making customized fins to attach to Estes and Viking rockets. Students learn why rockets have fins and how they affect flight. The grand finale is Launch Day, where classes go out onto the athletics fields and ignite their rockets. Students gaze into the sky hoping their rocket reaches the highest zenith. Afterwards, students calculate the parabola of their rocket's flight and determine the height that it reached. It's real rockets, real explosions, and real science.