Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
The Falmouth Public Schools district has developed a comprehensive STEM program for students in grades 7-12. At the Lawrence School, all students take a trimester-long Engineering course in grades 7 and 8, and students may also elect to take a year-long Advanced STEM class in both 7th and 8th grade. At the high school, all freshmen take a year-long STEM9 course which complements and supports their 9th grade biology curriculum. After 9th grade, students may elect to take STEMinar, a semester-long course to further their STEM skills. In this way, all students have at least three years of exposure to STEM courses, and additional courses are available for those with a particularly strong interest.
A STEM committee, comprised of teachers and administrators across grades 7-12, works to design and articulate STEM pathways to maximize our students’ opportunities. Members of the Falmouth High School STEM Committee are also working in partnership with the Gateway Institute sponsored in part by the Museum of Science and the National Center for Technological Literacy in Boston. In addition, STEM opportunities for students are available through the district’s participation in the Woods Hole Science and Technology Education Partnership.
Falmouth High School has created a dedicated space, known as the STEM Laboratory which includes a wet-lab with aquaponics and fish tanks, a dry lab for engineering and technology projects, a computer lab, and a woodworking lab. The different areas of the STEM Laboratory can be reconfigured based upon instructional needs and student experiment and project demands. In short, the STEM Lab provides a location for students and teachers to work on applied, authentic learning that is project-oriented as well as interdisciplinary.
Students utilize the engineering design process (EDP) as the foundation for learning and working within the STEM courses and on related projects. Activities utilizing this approach are dependent upon students’ critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills as well as their ability to transfer knowledge and learning from one discipline to another. Assessment rubrics for STEM assignments are derived from the FHS Academic expectations for problem-solving, presenting, and working through good habits of mind.