Hopkins Public Schools has integrated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) into its elementary, junior high and high school core curriculum. All Hopkins students are exposed to STEM concepts starting as early as preschool and continuing throughout junior high. In high school, students can choose from a variety of STEM courses.
The Hopkins School District is endorsed by the Minnesota High Tech Association for its leading efforts with STEM.
What is STEM?
STEM refers to the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. However, STEM initiatives are not these disciplines in isolation. Rather, STEM is the integration of courses, programs or linked learning opportunities using an interdisciplinary approach through exploration, discovery and problem solving.
Learning by doing is inviting and exciting so students learn and remember more. Successful, hands-on experiences exploring engineering can have a major influence on motivation and confidence in learning. Ultimately, we hope to inspire students to challenge themselves and consider careers in STEM fields.
- Bee-Bots (programmable robots) are just one way our Hopkins elementary schools are embracing STEM education. Students learn how to problem solve, use mathematical and programming languages, and understand angles and estimation.
- In 2015, Hopkins students recorded over 10,000 hours of hands-on technology time during the weeklong Hour of Code initiative.
Students need STEM project-based learning to build 21st century skills. Science and engineering jobs are growing 70 percent faster than other occupations. This means our students will be at an advantage when competing for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future.
Where is STEM offered?
STEM is integrated into preschool, elementary, junior, and senior high core courses and programs through curriculum such as FOSS, Engineering is Elementary® introductory engineering courses.
Engineering is Elementary
Starting as early as preschool, Hopkins students begin taking STEM coursework through EiE (Engineering is Elementary) which applies science concepts to an engineering design challenge. Developed by the Museum of Science, Boston, the curriculum was brought to Hopkins in 2009 by the Science Museum of Minnesota from a Cargill grant. The program is fully implemented.
Full Option Science System (FOSS)
Our elementary science curriculum is hands-on and inquiry-based, using the FOSS (Full Option Science System) program. FOSS engages students by asking them to explore answers to open-ended questions. This allows students to construct an understanding of science concepts by completing investigations and answering questions about the real world. They then use their understanding of science concepts to solve engineering design challenges.
Engineering Courses at the Junior High Level
Hopkins Public Schools has incorporated an innovative and rigorous STEM curriculum for the secondary level of education. Hopkins Public Schools uses this curriculum at the junior high and high school level. At Hopkins, the grade 8 engineering class is required. A variety of other classes are offered as electives starting in grade 9.
Engineering Junior High Courses:
Nature of Science and Engineering
Engineering Courses at the Senior High Level
Engineering classes have been offered at the high school for four years. Next year, the high school expects to be certified, which means students can potentially earn college credit for the engineering classes that they take. Engineering classes offer rigor and emphasize STEM concepts, but long before the high school adopted the curriculum, it offered engineering and technology classes through its tech ed department.
Engineering Courses Senior High Courses:
Intro to Engineering and Design
Civil Engineering & Architecture 1
Civil Engineering & Architecture 2
Other STEM Courses:
Student Directed Studies in Applied Technology
Computer Programming I and II
AP Computer Science
More about STEM
The State of Minnesota added a STEM standard to its elementary standards starting in 2010. Hopkins received a Cargill Foundation grant to implement STEM curriculum starting in all of its grade 3 classrooms in 2010-11, adding a grade level each year up through elementary. STEM education is not just about science, technology, engineering and math; it is about critical thinking and problem solving skills that will help our students to be successful in many fields in the future. Our curriculum will make interdisciplinary connections to language arts, social studies and the arts, giving our students a broad educational experience that will prepare them well to become global citizens.