STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Our technology curriculum has four primary focus areas that include digital literacy, keyboarding, digital citizenship, and coding. Programming and robotics are introduced into the curriculum at all grade levels. 

Starting in the Primary Division, pre-kindergarten through second grade, students begin using iPads, computers, Osmos, and robots in the lab.  Primary students focus on learning the four main parts of the computer and how those parts interact with one another. Students use Botley Robots as well as Ozobots to understand programming concepts, including algorithms, sequences, debugging, and loops. Students also begin to understand how the different parts of the robot work together to function. Students participate in weekly direct instruction in our lab and engage in various tech-based activities that often correspond with concepts they are learning in their classrooms, creating a true cross-curricular environment. Formal keyboarding begins in first grade using Keyboarding Without Tears. Throughout the curriculum, students learn about the QWERTY keyboard and proper finger placement. Additionally, primary students study introductory digital citizenship concepts, which enables them to start building a strong foundation in knowledge regarding how to be safe online and create a positive digital footprint. Digital Citizenship concepts covered include media balance, online safety, strong passwords, the internet traffic light, and private information. Lastly, once students reach first grade, they begin to learn how to use our messaging system in the Saints Portal, as well as Google Drive where they have the opportunity to create and share Google Docs and Google Slides through a project-based learning environment. 

In the Intermediate Division, grades three through five, students begin using Typing.com as their formal keyboarding instruction. Lessons are broken down by specific keys and rows in order to re-enforce touch typing concepts. Typing.com also offers students the opportunity to type in various programming languages involving the web, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Students are also introduced to Nitrotype, a typing program that allows students to compete and race against their classmates as it tracks their progress. Coding becomes an essential part of the curriculum as students dive deeper into programming in Code.org and Coderz. Students begin learning more difficult concepts, including functions and conditionals. Students also further study age-appropriate digital citizenship concepts, including media balance, keeping games friendly, how to be safe online, cyberbullying, and clickbait. Also, students engage in projects and activities that enable them to apply their technology knowledge to increase their digital literacy, as well as begin the process of learning how to conduct meaningful and effective Internet-based research. In fifth grade, students begin to understand the key role math and programming plays in the function of robots in a true STEM environment. Students engineer Lego Ev3 Mindstorm robots and program them using math and critical thinking skills in order to complete various challenges. Students learn how actuators, manipulators, sensors, and the computer work together in order to complete tasks and the important role they play in making it happen. By the end of fifth grade, students are proficient in essential Internet-based research skills, and are well prepared to further apply their technology and computer-based knowledge as they enter Middle School.

Once students enter Middle School, they engage in project-based learning, where they synthesize technology and computer-based knowledge to complete a variety of assignments. Moreover, students fine-tune their keyboarding skills, as well as further develop their digital citizenship and age-appropriate social media knowledge. By the time our students graduate from eighth grade, they are well prepared with a large spectrum of core technology and computer-related knowledge that they can utilize as they continue their academic careers into high school and beyond.