Students at Fresno Adventist Academy have been so excited to begin using the STEM lab. They are seeing the application of what they have been learning in their classes.
This year Fresno Adventist Academy installed a STEM lab for our middle school students. Last year we saw a need for more hands-on projects and career based educational experiences. The STEM lab reaches both of those needs. Our lab consists of a product created by Paxton/Patterson College and Career Ready Labs. There are 22 modules available. Each module is an engaging, hands-on STEM project that teaches students about a career in several possible fields.
The students have been so excited to begin using the STEM lab. They are seeing the application of what they have been learning in their classes. One student, while working in Digital Manufacturing, threw up her hands and exclaimed “so that is why we had to graph so much!” The students have been gaining valuable learning habits. After becoming frustrated, students working in Robotics were asked to go back and read through the instructions again, and they realized that they had skipped a vital part of the day’s work. They are learning how to attend to details, read carefully, and follow specific instructions. The students working in the Forensics lab are learning that observation and documentation are key elements needed to solve crimes. They were able to describe minute differences between each fiber sample and explain why some were rejected and others fit the needed description. These are learning skills that will be necessary for success in school and in almost every career. FAA middle school teachers are watching to see if the skills are carrying over into the classroom.
We are seeing an increase in the number of students in our middle school classes. These are our largest classes, with 16-20 students in each room. The excitement over the STEM lab is catching the attention of both our school board and parents. Many high school students are begging to get into the lab to try it out. Some want to preview careers before they go to college so they know what classes to take. One middle school student announced that he wanted to be a doctor, but after getting sick to his stomach while having to draw fake blood from the specimen in the STEM lab, he quickly rethought his choice of career. Now he is open to other possibilities that he didn’t know existed before STEM.
Our goal at FAA is to expand our middle school lab and create a separate lab for high school so that by the time the students graduate, they will be exposed to 35 different career fields. By the end of their senior year, students participating in the labs will have to complete a practicum in one of the selected fields of study. With these labs, we are now competitive with neighboring schools that have much larger staff and resources!
~By Chandra Young – School Principal