QMC offers a S.T.E.M.-integrated curriculum to better serve students who want to take classes that focus on manufacturing, engineering and allied health careers, and/or those who want to become more environmentally responsible. This S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math) focus provides authentic learning opportunities that connect math and science with technology and engineering. The school’s S.T.E.M. curriculum includes tasks that combine knowledge and skills into project-based learning opportunities. Every QMC student benefits from the use of technology in the classroom, taught by teachers with S.T.E.M. content knowledge and experience. Students also benefit from the integration of S.T.E.M content into the humanities and arts, and local support from community businesses and organizations. QMC’s S.T.E.M.-integrated curriculum is supported by a $12-million, federal Magnet School Assistance Program (MSAP) grant awarded to six eastern Connecticut education partners. The six grant partners sharing the MSAP funds include LEARN, which is the lead collaborative agent; EASTCONN; Windham Public Schools; New London Public Schools; Norwich Public Schools; and Goodwin College. Each partner has at least one school participating in and receiving funds from the grant, which is intended to enhance student learning and access to S.T.E.M. content.
QMC teachers strive to integrate S.T.E.M into all content areas of math, science, and language arts/humanities. The poster to the right shows how The Engineering Design Process is used in all of these areas. The Engineering Design Process is a series of steps that a student follows when they are trying to solve a problem and design a solution. This model has always been used by engineers; however, with a S.T.E.M.- integrated curriculum, all critical thinking and problem solving follows this process. The design is cyclical, indicating that these steps can and often are, repeated as often as necessary, making improvements and adjustments along the way.
QMC's MOBILE SCIENCE LABORATORY
QMC has used part of the MSAP Grant to create a mobile science lab to provide staff and students with S.T.E.M. experiences, professional development, equipment, and other resources not available in the regular classroom setting. Using the mobile lab as a home base, QMC science and technology students will travel to schools and sites across northeastern Connecticut to share their knowledge and collaborate with peers and younger students on S.T.E.M.-related experiments. In addition, students in neighboring towns can benefit from the authentic learning experiences that are woven throughout the Mobile S.T.E.M. lab’s environmental education curriculum.
S.T.E.M. CAREER PATHWAYS
QMC offers a unique opportunity for students in northeastern Connecticut by providing them with curricula that will enable them to earn college credits while in high school, put them on the path to an early college degree, and subsequently enable them to consider professions in allied health, advanced manufacturing or environmental science. These industries have incredible growth potential, and through partnerships like those with UCONN School of Engineering, QMC gives students an advantage and helps them find success in the S.T.E.M.-related fields.
S.T.E.M.-INFUSED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
QMC teachers are highly qualified and motivated to teach S.T.E.M. content. In the summer of 2016, two QMC teachers participated in the prestigious DaVinci Project, where they joined other educators to learn engineering fundamentals and develop practical curricula and exercises that helped them expose their students to key engineering ideas and applications and authentic, inquiry-based S.T.E.M. curricula for our QMC students. Their topic of their inquiry was using robotics to assist elderly people. They learned about a number of newly emerging robotics’ technologies and their usefulness in variety of areas ranging from industrial sectors, such as manufacturing, medical, defense; home assistance to elderly and disabled people; to improving learning for autistic children/students. In addition, two teachers attended the Google Summit to further develop QMC's success in many different areas.