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Advancements in Science and Mathematics for 2018

February 2, 2018 | by pac-admin

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Over the last six months, our science and math departments have embarked on a process of reviewing and refining the STEAM program at Pacifica. To accomplish this, we have visited top tier schools in Southern California, collaborated with schools all over the country, consulted current research, and reviewed best practices and methodologies. As a result, a number of exciting changes have been implemented to enhance our current program and align best practices with our school’s mission—thinking and living well. It is with great excitement that we announce these new offerings outlined below.

In addition to supplementing our curriculum with these three new courses and club, we are reflecting on best instructional methods for the department. We are currently researching data coming from the d.school at Stanford University on Design Thinking and reviewing how we might incorporate these practices into our courses. We will continue to inform you of other exciting changes as they become finalized.

New Courses for 2018-2019

Engineering Design & Analysis

Dual Credit through the University of Texas; available for students in grades 10-12 (schedule permitting)

Engineering Design & Analysis engages students in authentic engineering practices and inspires them to embrace an engineer’s habits of mind. Collaborative, student-directed projects build resilient problem-solving skills and empower students to think like engineers, to adopt engineering processes, and to pursue engineering disciplines for the betterment of our world.

This full-year course will engage students in authentic engineering practices in a design thinking learning environment. Using curriculum developed by a team of University of Texas faculty at the Cockrell School of Engineering and NASA engineers, students explore the breadth of engineering fields, learn the narrative of engineering, and develop engineering design skills. Students may gain dual credit through the University of Texas upon completion of the course, which is also UC approved as a D (lab science) or G (elective) course.

 

AP Computer Science Principles

Prerequisite: Algebra II suggested (schedule permitting)

AP Computer Science Principles is designed to be equivalent to a first-semester introductory college computing course, offering a multidisciplinary approach to teaching the underlying principles of computation. The course will introduce students to the creative aspects of programming, abstractions, algorithms, large data sets, the Internet, cybersecurity concerns, and computing impacts. AP Computer Science Principles will give students the opportunity to use technology to address real-world problems and build relevant solutions. The course engages students in the creative aspects of the field by allowing them to develop computational artifacts based on their interests. Students will also develop effective communication and collaboration skills by working individually and collaboratively to solve problems, and will discuss and write about the impacts these solutions could have on their community, society, and the wider world.

 

AP Statistics

Prerequisite: Completion of pre-calculus (schedule permitting)

The AP Statistics course is equivalent to a one-semester, introductory, non-calculus-based college course in statistics. The course introduces students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. There are four themes in the AP Statistics course: exploring data, sampling and experimentation, anticipating patterns, and statistical inference. Students use technology, investigations, problem solving, and writing as they build conceptual understanding.

The AP Statistics classroom is nothing if not active. Students analyze data with calculators and computers, conduct classroom experiments, carry out individual and group projects, and perform simulations involving probabilistic concepts. AP Statistics students are active, engaged learners. Discussion in an AP Statistics class is an activity for all students.

 

STEAM Club

We are very excited to announce the launching of the Pacifica STEAM Club. Starting this semester, Mr. Rinaldi will be leading a group of students who share an interest in all things STEAM. If you have a desire to build, design, program, troubleshoot, or even just learn more about what that all even looks like, this will be the place for you!

The STEAM club has two major goals for this semester: establish and explore. First, to pick a direction: Do we focus on programming? Robotics? 3D design? Where might we compete to show our hard work? Second, to get a feel for what STEAM can be, both inside the classroom and outside, by trying a few small projects as well as exploring some of the industry paths in the field.

The first club meeting was held during lunch on Wednesday, January 31, and the next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 14 in Room 102. Join us as we continue to grow as a school and as a community of curiosity.