STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math but it’s more than an acronym. Quality STEM experiences connect learning to real-world problems and solutions. At ECHS, students connect with local businesses and community organizations to plan, develop, and test new ideas. STEM education is a direct response to the realization that Ohio’s future will be built on its capacity for innovation, invention, and creative problem-solving. STEM education produces exactly the kind of thinkers, innovators, and problem solvers our world demands.
STEM schools are centers of creativity and innovation that provide challenging, student-centered, inquiry-based educational experiences that are cross-disciplinary in nature and relevant to the real world. Unlike traditional school experiences in which different subject areas are treated as separate “silos,“ STEM education emphasizes the technological design process and integrates subjects in ways that emphasize connections across disciplines. In a STEM classroom, students develop analytical and creative skills through investigation and problem-solving.
STEM moves beyond an emphasis on simple test performance and focuses instead on developing higher-level thinking skills.
WHAT DOES EARLY COLLEGE MEAN?
In the state of Ohio, all high school students can earn college credit. At ECHS, students have the opportunity to take college coursework in a dual enrollment type scenario where students who are ready for the challenge could acquire both the requirements for high school graduation and earn college credit through our partnership with Columbus State Community College. These classes are a good opportunity for students to experience the rigor of college coursework in a supportive environment where they can put the ECHS Habits of Mind into action. With careful planning, students could earn an associate degree through Columbus State Community College. In some instances, college credit is offered on our campus, on a satellite campus, or online.
ECHS DESIGN CYCLE
The ECHS Design Cycle is a systematic way to approach any problem or challenge. Students are taught and encouraged to work to Identify the problem or challenge and also identify any questions they have. When students are ready, they enter the Plan phase of the design cycle. Students are taught to dive into the problem through research, imagine and dream of what they could do, and then create a plan moving forward. This is the first opportunity for students to see the cyclicality of the design cycle. Students may need to go back to investigate when planning. After the plan is in place, students move into the Create phase. Here, students build or experiment with their plans. They continue to ask questions and try to improve. Students are pushed to understand that the first model is not the best model. They move through this phase cyclically as well until the “final” model is ready to present. Presentation of the final design happens in the Communication phase of the cycle. Here students can communicate their ideas in many different ways. The design cycle applies to design challenges but also any problem, project, performance task, or question given in class.