The STEM disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, have been identified as critical in educating students who can advance the global competitiveness of the United States. Recent studies have shown that America’s students are falling behind in STEM disciplines and are also far less interested in STEM than their international peers. In a strategic and innovative partnership, St. Ignatius will leverage the resources of Penn State University to make STEM education a top priority. The foundation of the partnership between Penn State and St. Ignatius is the conviction that a STEM education is not just the teaching of science, technology, engineering or mathematics, but an interdisciplinary and applied approach that is coupled with real-world, problem-based learning. The STEM Center of Excellence will remove the traditional barriers erected between the four disciplines by integrating them into one cohesive teaching and learning paradigm.
One of the overriding principles of the Center of Excellence is that every student should be given the opportunity to develop an awareness and interest in the STEM fields at an early age and that this awareness, interest, and participation should come at a critical time in students’ education and development. To that end, students in grades 6-8 will perform monthly experiments which emphasize lab techniques, proper data recording methods and critical thinking skills. When appropriate, the experiments will correlate to a specific curriculum item or an issue relevant to society as a whole. Experiments are designed to incorporate the aforementioned skills in an exciting and engaging environment.