St. Thomas Catholic School, in Fort Thomas, is doing just that with their innovative science program, STEMscopes. STEMscopes is a state-of-the-art program which includes a series of in-class investigations and activities to bring science to life for students so that they can “learn by doing” and fully engage in the scientific process. It is a blended in-class and online science curriculum, built on an instructional philosophy that centers on students learning science through hands-on exploration and inquiry. St. Thomas School was the first in the Diocese of Covington to pilot this program, in the most recent school year.
The robust curriculum is designed to better prepare the students for higher education, and eventually careers, immersed in the areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics). Lessons are built using the research-based “5E+IA” model, which stands for Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate, Intervention, and Acceleration. Students also have access to available resources that can be browsed at home, including videos, games, math and reading connections, and STEMscopedia. The STEMscopedia reading passage replaces the traditional textbook and incorporates hands-on activities and a “Connecting with your Child” piece to encourage scientific dialogue for the student to further reinforce concepts learned in school with parents.
Maura Eckerle, a seventh grade student in the program said, “I think STEMscopes is a program that is much better, in my opinion, than past programs, because it helps me better understand what we are studying through visuals and experiments.”
Science curriculum has begun to transition from the more traditional textbooks, worksheets, and memorization into inquiry and project-based learning and St. Thomas School has their finger on the pulse of this movement.
After a successful debut in the 2017-18 school year this leading-edge program will continue to be offered at the school for students in 3rd through 8th grade, in the 2018-19 school year.