STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics):
EPHS launched a STEM initiative in 2019-2020. The STEM leadership team developed the STEM vision, which is to provide a challenging learning environment in STEM, which inspires independent thinkers and designers to solve real-world problems without fear of failure. The EPHS STEM mission is to motivate and engage students through rigorous, relevant content providing collaborative and leadership opportunities. The STEM student team was finalized based on student applications, parent forms, and teacher recommendations.
The STEM student team developed their project based on background information about EPHS, data analysis, and literature research. EPHS faculty, staff, and students expressed concerns about the building’s heating and air comfort, consistency, and efficiency. They defined the STEM project purpose as finding ways to increase the efficiency of the EPHS building.
The project will follow an engineering design: define the problem, conduct background research, specify requirements, brainstorm, evaluate, and choose solution, develop a prototype/solution, test solution, analyze data, make necessary changes, test and reanalyze solution, and communicate results. It will include an energy analysis of the HVAC of the school. A drone with thermal imaging will be used to see where energy is escaping. Students will study the energy efficiency of various materials and research sustainable design plans and materials. Data will be collected and analyzed. Upon project completion, the students will present the findings to the school district and other members of the community.
Students will work on the project during the school day, and STEM teacher leadership team will meet with students weekly and offer guidance and expertise. Students will maintain STEM journals with their research notes and ideas much like scientists’ field notes. Teachers will review STEM journals weekly and will provide feedback on how to enhance their scientific analyses to students.
Students will organize a STEM night to present their project to community and Board of Education members. Students will offer their expertise to community organizations needing assistance in solving similar energy efficiency problems. The culminating summative assessment will be student presentations of the project findings to the community. Although cut short by COVID-19, the project will resume during 2020-2021.