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STEM Program

The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) program at Deer Creek Middle School is an interdisciplinary curriculum focusing on the application of STEM areas to a problem-based learning model. Students will learn to work in collaborative teams to put their content knowledge into action to solve real-world problems. The STEM program is a challenging curriculum designed to teach the Colorado learning standards, while embedding teamwork and communication skills, engineering principles, and career exploration. Throughout the program, students will develop their teamwork, collaboration, and communication skills in a problem-based learning environment that focuses on the application of their learning to local and global issues. Problem-based projects provide students with opportunities to tackle real-world problems and explore real-world solutions, combining their knowledge and skills across all disciplines. The ability to work successfully in this collaborative problem-solving environment develops skills to be competitive in the 21st century work force.

Problem-Based Learning

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a curricular and instructional design that challenges students to learn through engagement in a real problem. It is a format that simultaneously develops both problem-solving strategies and disciplinary knowledge and skills by placing students in the active role of problem-solvers confronted with a situation that simulates real-world problems and issues. Working in groups, students identify what they already know, what they need to know, and how and where to access new information that may lead to resolution of the problem. The role of the teacher is to facilitate learning by supporting, guiding, and monitoring the learning process.

21st Century Skills

Embedded throughout the STEM curriculum is instruction on 21st Century skills, commonly referred to as the “Four C's” – creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. Part of the Jeffco 2020 Vision, the Four C's are taught explicitly throughout the program, both in core content classes and in PBL units, developing those skills as students progress through the three years of STEM.

STEM

The Three-Year STEM Program

The three-year STEM program begins in 6th grade with core classes in Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Math classes are determined by a placement process that aligns each student's current math achievement with an appropriately challenging course. Each student has a daily exploratory period, taking two classes on a rotating schedule. All students take a Pre-Engineering course that introduces students to the engineering design process in a hands-on learning environment. Students also take a variety of 6th grade exploratory classes in art, music, drama, computers, cultures, family & consumer science, and physical education, including the option of choir, band or orchestra.

Year Two continues with rigorous year-long 7th grade STEM classes in Science, Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, and Engineering. Math continues with either Pre-Algebra or Algebra, based on 6th grade math achievement. Students also take a 12-week writing extension course, choosing from composition, creative writing, or publications. The remaining elective periods offer choices including art, music, drama, computers, world languages, cultures, family & consumer science, and physical education, including the option of band, orchestra, choir, Spanish 1 or French 1. (Students choosing any of these year-long options are exempt from the writing extension requirement.)

Year Three for 8th graders continues with STEM Science, Math, Language Arts, and Social Studies courses, and two electives. Having two elective periods provides students the option of continuing their engineering experiences while still pursuing other electives, including Spanish 1 & 2, French 1 & 2, band, orchestra, choir, foods, fashion & design, PE, art, jewelry, film, computers, publications, creative writing, robotics, tech ed, drama, mentorship, and teacher aides. For a complete listing of 2017-18 courses, please visit our Course Guide.

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