Science: 2019-2020

STEM + Multicultural Integration = STEMM!

The components of STEM (science, technology, engineering design and math) are by nature centered around the history, culture, curiosities and challenges of people from across the globe and time periods. Since the beginning of time people have used science, technology, engineering and design and math to analyze, explain and enhance the comings and goings of their communities.

The integration of cultural studies into our look at STEM components serves to broaden student perspective and global awareness thus preparing students to be creative, innovative, culturally aware 21st century citizens and leaders.


EARTH AND SPACE: The solar system consists of the sun and a collection of objects of varying sizes and conditions—including planets and their moons—that are held in orbit around the sun by its gravitational pull on them. Students begin our discussion of the earth’s revolution and rotation around the sun by looking at sky lore and folktales from primitive cultures that explained this science phenomenon.

LIFE and ECOSYSTEMS: Animals depend on their surroundings to get what they need, including food, water, shelter, and a favorable temperature. Animals depend on plants or other animals for food. They use their senses to find food and water, and they use their body parts to gather, catch, eat, and chew the food. Plants depend on air, water, minerals (in the soil), and light to grow. Animals can move around, but plants cannot, and they often depend on animals for pollination or to move their seeds around. Different plants survive better in different settings because they have varied needs for water, minerals, and sunlight. Cultural groups and communities have adapted to surviving in challenging ecosystems around the world by incorporating cultural elements into celebrating the beauty of the natural surroundings and meeting the challenges of their environments

PHYSICAL SCIENCE AND PROPERTIES OF MATTER: Different kinds of matter exist (e.g., wood, metal, water), and many of them can be either solid or liquid, depending on temperature. Matter can be described and classified by its observable properties (e.g., visual, aural, textural), by its uses, and by whether it occurs naturally or is manufactured. Different properties are suited to different purposes. A great variety of objects can be built up from a small set of pieces (e.g., blocks, construction sets). Objects or samples of a substance can be weighed, and their size can be described and measured.

Objects pull or push each other when they collide or are connected. Pushes and pulls can have different strengths and directions. Pushing or pulling on an object can change the speed or direction of its motion and can start or stop it. An object sliding on a surface or sitting on a slope experiences a pull due to friction on the object due to the surface that opposes the object’s motion.

ENGINEERING AND DESIGN: A situation that people want to change or create can be approached as a problem to be solved through engineering. Such problems may have many acceptable solutions. Asking questions, making observations, and gathering information are helpful in thinking about problems. Before beginning to design a solution, it is important to clearly understand the problem.

Designs can be conveyed through sketches, drawings, or physical models. These representations are useful in communicating ideas for a problem’s solutions to other people. To design something complicated, one may need to break the problem into parts and attend to each part separately but must then bring the parts together to test the overall plan. Innovators and inventors use materials and engineering design to meet the global challenges we face.