Rockwall ISD STEM
In Rockwall ISD, STEM education is engaging instruction in the areas of Science Technology Engineering and Math. Through a variety of course offerings and Career and Technical Education programs of study, we are cultivating a culture of students and teachers engaging active minds. We provide prekindergarten through 12th grade STEM challenges that align with the district’s Strategic Plan to support student-centered critical thinking, innovation, problem solving, collaboration, and communication.
Science instruction is designed for students to learn to think scientifically about the world around them.
Students are guided by teachers to investigate the natural world and its systems directly or through models, while measuring and observing to gather data, and then to make meaning of the results. Students formulate and defend scientific explanations from evidence by describing and revising scientific thinking while distinguishing relevant from irrelevant material. In order to accomplish this, students perform a wide variety of science investigations at all grade levels. Students are challenged throughout their science courses to communicate their scientific thinking effectively through both written and oral communication as well as construction and interpretation of models.
In Rockwall ISD, students experience high quality science instruction through student-centered classrooms where teachers implement the 5-E Model of instruction. Teachers are guided by the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) as they facilitate exploration of the nature of science by students.
Rockwall ISD Instructional Technology Specialists collaborate with teachers to integrate technology into the curriculum and apply STEM projects throughout core subjects. Coding is integrated through elementary math and science TEKS using codable robots (like Spheros, Ozobots, and Finch).
Every campus in Rockwall ISD has a robotics team and the district sponsors an elementary robotics tournament each year. As a district, we have processes in place to vertically align elementary, middle and high school robotics teams. High school team members support and mentor our elementary and middle school teams.
Each elementary and middle school library has a makerspace that focuses on STEM activities. STEM Clubs, Coding Clubs, and MakerSpace Challenges are offered at each campus either before school, after school, or during lunch.
This year we are working on two special STEM projects in the district. In Spring of 2020, we are working with Southern Methodist University for a project-based learning event with our Engineering, Aerospace, and Computer Science classes for a balloon launch. The Engineering students will also become licensed in Amateur Radio through this project.
Also, in Spring 2020, Celia Hays students will have the opportunity to talk with the International Space Station through ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station).
For this reason, Rockwall ISD offers an Advanced Math Pathway Program for students in grades 5 and 6 to provide students accelerated instruction in mathematics leading to students participating in Algebra I and Geometry before entering high school. This pathway is for students who are gifted in the area of mathematics or show potential to be highly exceptional. This pathway also allows students who are fluent in math facts and interested in STEM the opportunity to learn more math curriculum at an accelerated rate.
The Advanced Math Pathway program challenges our students in math course work in grades 5-8. For more information about the Advanced Math Pathway Program in Rockwall ISD please view the following link: https://www.rockwallisd.com/mathpathways
The STEM endorsement (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) may be the right pathway for a student interested in exploring career fields such as biochemistry, bioengineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, medical science and/or research, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, environmental engineering, avionics, physics, robotic engineering, biomedical engineering, computer programming or cyber security.
Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) are challenging and ever-changing. Students who pursue one of these career fields will be involved in planning, managing, and providing scientific research and professional and technical services (e.g., physical science, social science, engineering) including laboratory and testing services, and research and development services.
The STEM courses are comprehensive and experienced-based and allow students to investigate and experience the means by which humans meet their needs and wants, to solve problems, and extend their capabilities. Technology Education is concerned with the knowledge and skills to develop, produce, and use products or services and how to assess the impacts these activities have on humans and the world. The study of technology allows students to reinforce, apply, and transfer their academic knowledge and skills to a variety of interesting and relevant activities, problems, and settings. In addition to their general academic and technical knowledge and skills, students gain an understanding of career opportunities available in technology and what employers require for workers to gain and maintain employment in the 21st century.
Students earn an edforswement when they earn a coherent sequence of four or more CTE credits consisting of at least two courses in the same career cluster. This leads to a final course in the STEM cluster and earns them a CTE endorsement. At least one course must be an advanced CTE course (11th or 12th grade). STEM pathways include:
- Aerospace Engineering
- Electronics Engineering
- Robotics Engineering
- Computer Science/Cybersecurity
- OR students earn a coherent sequence of four credits