Lower School STEM
STEM classes begin in kindergarten and develop from the children’s natural curiosity about their world. Opportunities for exploration and projects abound both inside and outside of the classroom. For example, our inaugural extracurricular lower school makerspace program resulted in tiny brush bots and LED robotic critters.
Academic Courses and Opportunities
Our students begin their math studies with an emphasis on numbers, problem-solving and mental math and work up to early algebra and 3-D explorations in grade 5.
Science classes in kindergarten have fun with animal habitats, plant life, the solar system and the five senses. Starting in grade 1, science teachers are degreed science specialists, and by grade 5 our students have peered through a microscope and discussed electricity, sound and light, and simple machines.
Budding computer users begin in kindergarten with projects which include original drawings and text and programs to nurture logical reasoning, sequencing and problem-solving skills. By grade 5 our students are learning basic network navigation and some computer science fundamentals like binary numbers, algorithms and image representation.
State-of-the-Art Technology & Facilities
Our innovative science teachers adapt their classrooms into intriguing learning spaces for STEM subjects. Nearly all classrooms have overhead mounted LCD projectors and speakers, and many have document cameras. All grade 4-5 students have access to their own Chromebooks, and teachers of grades 3-5 use ExploreLearning to supplement their lessons.
- Fifth graders use video cameras, iPads and iMovie to create public service announcements that tie in to our lower school social/emotional curriculum.
- Grade 4 students build video games with 1980s-style joysticks in computer science class.
- A group of grade 4-5 students help solve tech problems that may arise in other grade 4-5 classrooms.
- Grade 3 students learn pre-programming skills using CodeStudio and have access to Chromebooks and iPads.
- Our K-2 students are introduced to STEM concepts in their computer science and science classes.
Teachers and Mentors
Our STEM teachers collaborate with the other faculty to offer cross-disciplinary assignments to the students. They arrange visits to the classroom from industry professionals and continually participate in and lead workshops at Bay Area teacher institutes.
We design our programs and offerings at Harker to inspire students to explore their passions, develop their strengths and share their talents with their classmates, teammates and the greater community. Our students are eager to make a difference, and we celebrate all of their accomplishments.