Bethel Christian Academy recognizes the growing interest in encouraging students to consider careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). In order to lay a foundation for these types of careers, BCA includes hands-on activities, projects, and technology in the classroom. In addition, BCA offers a number of STEM enrichment opportunities in which students can engage. Links to some of these programs are listed below. Check them out and give us a call if you have any questions about BCA and STEM.
As the largest employer of mathematicians in the nation, The National Security Agency (NSA) is critically dependent on the continuing development of first-class American mathematicians. NSA has initiated programs such as the MEPP Speakers Bureau to support the STEM education effort. The MEPP Speakers Bureau offers a large variety of fun and fascinating STEM-related interactive talks given by NSA employees to students to inspire them to be enthusiastic about their future encounter with STEM subject matter.
BCA’s partnership with NSA allows the school to schedule speakers at the elementary and middle school levels. Students are also encouraged to go online to www.nsa.gov/kids to create secret codes and ciphers, learn the art of Morse code, and test their skills with fun games and activities.
The National Society of Professional Engineers introduced Discover “E” years ago as part of an outreach effort aimed to foster student interest in engineering. Northrop Grumman has been a major sponsor of Discover “E” in an effort to help address a critical national need to identify, cultivate, and motivate the engineers of tomorrow. Whether they are building towers made of paper or designing and building water filtration systems, students learn first-hand about engineering-related careers from teams of engineers at Northrop Grumman Corporation through the Discover “E” program.
For several years, Bethel Christian Academy has partnered with Northrop Grumman by inviting engineers to come in annually to share their engineering experiences, discuss potential careers in engineering, and involve the students in hands-on, science-related projects and activities. BCA students have benefited from their exposure to engineering and the school has received grant money from Northrop Grumman to fund our science program through our participation in Discover “E”.
BCA has also received funding for STEM activities through the Northrop Grumman Engineering Week grant opportunity. The teachers enjoy engaging the students in the hands-on project-based learning that this funding supports.
BCA is committed to interactive, hands-on learning, and the growing use of educational technology in the classroom. Small group discovery learning is the hallmark of BCA’s K3-K5 program. Projects and interactive learning characterize the elementary school, and research projects, science labs, experiential activities, and oral presentations are used throughout middle school. Interactive whiteboards are used by teachers in K5-8th grade, and students begin technology instruction at grade 1. Student use of technology in the classroom increases at the middle school level.
In K3-K5, BCA students work in small groups to learn math, phonics, and reading concepts. Using a variety of hands-on activities, they explore how numbers relate to one another and how letters are combined to form meaning. They participate in dramatic presentations of Bible stories, and communicate their ideas orally to one another and in writing for a broader audience. K3-K5 is a very interactive time!
As they grow, students at BCA continue learning math concepts through the use of hands-on resources and interactive instructional strategies. They learn grammar and sentence structure by reciting jingles and by labeling the parts of speech in a sentence using the interactive whiteboard. Projects are an aspect of learning that begins in 1st grade. Whether presenting a biographical book report orally as the person they read about, creating a closed circuit of electricity, or engaging in a web quest, elementary students have opportunity to expand their learning beyond the textbook. In addition, using interactive whiteboards, teachers show video and Power Point presentations and use online resources to support instruction, and students participate in learning activities such as math challenges or vocabulary review games. All elementary students also take a weekly technology class. The variety of activities is numerous.
By the time BCA students reach middle school, they are well-prepared for the challenge of research projects, presentations, computer projects, and science labs. In history class, students participate in experiential activities to engage the time period they are studying and understand the people about whom they are learning. Resources such as Google Earth are utilized to explore places being studied in science, history, or Bible. In technology class, students continue to work on keyboarding skills, but also produce projects using a curriculum called TechnoKids, Students use classroom computers for writing in English class, saving their work to Google Docs so that they can continue working on them at home and so that the teacher is able to access them to give instructional feedback. The classroom computers and computer lab may also be used for the students to do research and create presentations in other subjects.
From preschool through middle school, BCA students learn in engaging ways that utilize discovery, cooperation, communication, and technology. This type of learning prepares BCA students to excel as they move on to high school and beyond.