STEM Outside the Classroom
Informal STEM experiences offer girls a range of opportunities to explore and develop their interest and skills in the STEM fields. Stuart’s STEM programs outside the classroom encourage our girls to:
* Feel empowered to try new things
* Collaborate in a relaxed, non-academic setting
* Develop leadership skills
* Have fun with STEM!
- Signature Experiences
- National Competitions and Activities
- Academic Clubs
- After School Enrichment Programs
Afternoon of Make
On a Friday afternoon in May, girls in grades 5 to 10 get to participate in the Afternoon of Make, a program created by Stuart faculty. Each girl selects two exciting creative workshops (from 22!) ranging from laser engraving, LED accessories and dry ice sorbet, to soldering circuits, chemical wood burning and 3D computer design and printing.
The Maker Movement is a growing global community that encourages creativity and innovation through a tech-influenced extension of traditional DIY (do-it-yourself) pursuits. Maker activities include such things as robotics, electronics, woodworking, metalworking, 3-D printing, arts and crafts, and other hands-on projects that inspire ingenuity and problem solving. New, lower cost tools and technology, such as 3D printers, microprocessors and “smart” materials have enabled an unprecedented pace of experimentation and innovation.
The 2015 Afternoon of Make workshops included: Puzzle Lamps, Laser Engraved Name Plaques, Knitting, Duct Tape Creations, Accessorize with LEDs, Apple Cake, Brushbots, TYE-DYED Pillowcases, Chemical Wood Burning, Relief Printing, Self-watering Planters, Sowed Teddy Bears, Jewelry Making, Kit-Kat Jacob’s Ladder, Wearable Tech Bracelets, Fractal artwork, Guacamole and Salsa Making, Felt beads, Calligraphy, Mini Pinata Making, Zentangles and Treasure Boxes.
Students in the Lower School, grades 2-4, are encouraged to explore topics of interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math and share with visitors their expertise at the annual STEM Fair.
EnvirothonEnvirothon is a dynamic hands-on, environmental education program for high school students throughout North America. Students compete in state level competitions and explore different natural resource related topics throughout the school year, including soils, forestry, aquatics, wildlife ecology, and current environmental issues.
Caine’s ArcadeCaine's Arcade, a national cardboard arcade challenge, inspired by the video of Caine’s Arcade, has become one of the most anticipated days of the school year in the Lower School at Stuart. Girls collaborate to use the power of their imaginations to design and engineer arcade games out of cardboard and recycled materials. Building the games reinforces spatial awareness, innovation, experimentation and exploration.
Future City CompetitionFuture City Competition is a national, project-based learning experience where Middle School students imagine, design and build cities of the future. Students work as a team with a faculty member and a professional engineer mentor to plan cities, research and write solutions to an engineering problem and create scale models with recycled materials.
Science BowlScience Bowl is a rapid-fire competition in which student teams answer questions in biology, chemistry, physics, energy, astronomy, and earth science.
Robotics Team, Stuart SparksStuart’s Upper School robotics team competes in the FIRST Tech Challenge League. During the team's rookie year, the Sparks placed fourth in their subdivision during state championship competition, beating out many larger, more experienced teams in New Jersey. In 2013-14 the team competed in the NJ FTC “Liberty Science Center Qualifier” where they were awarded the “THINK Award” and were finalists for four other awards, including first runner up for the “INSPIRE Award,” the highest level of achievement recognized by NJ FTC. The Stuart girls dedicate countless hours over many months, working as a team not only on the robot design, construction, and programming, but also budget management, organization, web design, and video creation.
Mu Alpha ThetaMu Alpha Theta is a national mathematics honor society for high school students. The goal is to inspire keen interest in mathematics, develop strong scholarship in the subject and promote the enjoyment of mathematics in high school.
Arts and Crafts in Math
Race Car Club
In the Race Car Club, Middle School student teams construct remote control cars and tweak their designs to develop the fastest and best car possible. Teams also design a website explaining the project and their team’s progress including an analysis of their car’s performance.
Middle School Robotics
The following Upper School clubs also compete (see Competitions, above)
Mu Alpha Theta
Robotics Team, Stuart Sparks
Lower School Mathematics Club
Lego WeDo Robotics workshops
Stuart is currently using the WeDo system in its afterschool enrichment programs for grades 2–5. Girls in the Middle School learn the system as part of a Middle School club and help teach the younger girls, thus acting as STEM role models for our Lower School students. LEGO® WeDo is a robo- based educational system for the 7-11 age group which links subjects from science, technology, engineering and math. The system is a fantastic, simple-to-use, cross-curricular tool that enables girls to learn, construct, and then bring their models to life using intuitive drag-and-drop software all while learning STEM. The system teaches language, literacy, art, and the design-build process and helps students to develop and improve communication, collaboration and team-building skills.
Stuart girls build various robots from already drawn plans or design their own machine. They then use a software application to program their robots by “drawing” the program structure using a selection of bricks representing different functions. After a student writes a program on the computer, the robot springs to life when the program that she has written is executed.
The LEGO system offers many opportunities to introduce STEM concepts including:
Simple machines such as levers, gears, and pulleys
Complex machines such as cams, worm gears, and crown gears
Transfer of energy, electricity, and friction
Computer programming and creation of models
Comparison of natural and mechanical systems
Knowledge and operation of digital tools and systems
Write programs and test models
Change model’s action by altering mechanical setup or by adding a sensor
Learn to share ideas and work together
Brainstorm creative alternative solutions to technical challenges
Measuring of time to the tenths of seconds
Estimation and the concept of randomness
Comparison of diameters and rotational speeds as well as gear ratios
Use of numbers to represent objects, actions, and sounds