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Program Details

STEM is the purposeful integration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. As a school, Parish is known for entrepreneurial and innovative programming founded upon educational research and best practices. Therefore, it is in this tradition, along with our effort to redefine high-quality independent education, that we have adopted the most recent recommendations of the National Academies of Science and the integrated STEM approach.

Parish integrates science, technology, engineering, and math in order to provide more opportunities for relevant hands-on applications. As the curriculum spirals across grade levels, fun hands-on lab activities, projects, and design challenges allows students to deepen their understanding of such cross-cutting core concepts as pattern recognition; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; and energy and matter, stability and change through the unified approach of STEM. This seamless approach to the math and sciences will help Parish students develop as critical thinkers as well as appreciate how math and science so permeate our daily lives. 

I can’t imagine attending Parish without being a part of the STEM program.  The skills I have acquired can’t be attained in a traditional classroom.  This program is special.  It allowed me to lead, learn to fail and try again, be the truest version of myself and gain incredible confidence. – Whitney Wheeler '17

PreK - 2nd grade

Mathematics
At Parish, the mathematics program in grades 1-4 aims to ensure all students gain mastery in core grade level skills while providing learning opportunities to meet each student at his/her instructional level. That may mean extra practice in core skills for some and challenge work to develop problem solving and application skills for others. Meeting the diverse needs of the students occurs through a combination of whole group lessons, small group guided lessons, individual conferences, independent work, centers, games, and a variety of software including IXL and Reflex Math. We use the standards and focal points from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) to guide curriculum development. The Everyday Mathematics program remains the core of our program since it aligns closely with the NCTM standards.

STEM enrichments
Pre-K through second grade students have a dedicated space, the Beasley STEM Center, to complement classroom instruction. The center houses seven open spaces: IQ Lab (Inquiry and Questioning), Exploratorium, Digital Den (Technology), Learning Lounge, Innovation Station, the Fleeger Family Kitchen, and the Nauslar Garden. The STEM Center features state-of-the-art technology and manipulatives including SmartBoards, iPads, a green screen, digital microscopes, LEGO robotics, building materials, math activities, and critical thinking games – all designed for the budding engineer, scientist, architect, and inventor.

As the math and science curriculum spirals across grade levels, fun hands-on lab activities, projects, and design challenges allow students to deepen their understanding of such core concepts as pattern recognition; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; energy and matter; and stability and change through the unified approach of STEM. This seamless approach to the math and sciences will help Parish students develop as critical thinkers as well as appreciate how math and science permeate our daily lives. 

When visiting the kitchen and garden, students see, touch, taste, smell and hear about nutrition and nature through positive healthy experiences. In the Fleeger Family Kitchen, students enjoy a unique approach to learning in a commercial grade kitchen built just for their size and classroom needs. Parish students discover nature’s life cycles through experiences in the Nauslar Garden and by observing the STEM animals. They gain knowledge to empower healthy choices while being engaged in innovative math, science, and critical thinking practices. 

3rd and 4th grade

 

Mathematics
At Parish, the mathematics program in grades 1-4 aims to ensure all students gain mastery in core grade level skills while providing learning opportunities to meet each student at his/her instructional level. That may mean extra practice in core skills for some and challenge work to develop problem solving and application skills for others. Meeting the diverse needs of the students occurs through a combination of whole group lessons, small group guided lessons, individual conferences, independent work, centers, games, and a variety of software including IXL and Reflex Math. We use the standards and focal points from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) to guide curriculum development. The Everyday Mathematics program remains the core of our program since it aligns closely with the NCTM standards.

3rd Science/Engineering
It builds upon and formalizes science process skills developed in second grade. Third grade incorporates Engineering is Elementary projects during the year, which integrate engineering with elementary science, literacy, social studies and mathematics. Students will investigate the field of engineering through the following units - Weather, Chemistry, Electrical Circuits, Rockets, Forces, Motion and Simple Machines. They will build circuits and design, assemble and launch rockets. Invention Convention will allow the children to familiarize themselves with the engineering design process as student teams work at school to design and build obstacles for a miniature golf course. As we close the year, Robotics will serve as the students’ engineering capstone project.

4th Science/Engineering
The goals are to foster in children curiosity and delight about the wonders of science and engineering while making sure the 4 C’s (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity) are an integral part of each unit. Emphasis is placed on strengthening students’ investigative skills while developing knowledge of science vocabulary, facts, and theories. Students will engage in Experimentation and hands-on applications are employed to allow flexible, independent science and design experiences. In addition, students will use computers as tools for expansion of knowledge and acquisition of stronger technology skills.

Units are pulled from a variety of science strands, the Next Generation Science Standards, and engineering topics. Some of the topics include process skills, the design process, life science (brain, nervous system, ecosystems), earth science (landforms, erosion, weathering, natural resources), and physical science (matter, energy). Students will explore robotics during the year. The robotics program will give students an opportunity to experience programming and to develop their creativity with hands-on activities.
 

Middle School

5th Grade

5th grade students at Parish sample the full spectrum of enrichment offerings (Art and STEM based) available to Middle School students.  For their STEM enrichment fifth grade students may choose from

  • FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotics is an international robotics competition.  While the competition theme changes each year, the competition format consistently requires teams of students to design, build, and program a robot using EV3 LEGO Mindstorms to complete tasks in two and a half minutes.  Teams may advance to the Championship Competition based on their total points scored, but also judged on the technical design of the robot, their teamwork skills, and the competition theme based research project.  Students in FIRST LEGO League use class time during this first trimester course to develop their programming, collaboration, and strategic thinking skills necessary to have their robot ready for December competition.
  • Design & Modeling uses the national recognized Project Lead the Way curriculum to introduce students to the design process.  Students use industry standard 3D modeling software Autodesk Inventor to create virtual CAD models and drawings compatible with the pro-series Full Spectrum laser cutter housed in the Design Den Walton-Alford welding shed.
  • R2U2 Robotics is a non-competitive robotics course in which students investigate how robots fit in our global societies.  Students explore how robots solve problems, such as navigating the inside of a volcano to collect data or aid doctors in performing surgery.  Students consider ethical and current issues in robotics around the globe.  The course concludes with a group project in which students team up to design, build, and program a robot to solve an everyday problem.

6th Grade

6th grade students are required to take Parish Inc., students especially interested in STEM may then also choose from FIRST LEGO League, Civil Engineering, or Reverse Engineering.

  • Parish Inc.  Imagine a class based off the ABC show Shark Tank and you have Parish Inc.!  Students work in teams to create a company that produces a product of their own creation and prototypes of their product design.  They also create a company mission statement, product description, materials list, detailed drawing, logo, and website that all lead up to a presentation targeting potential investors.  Speakers from the local business community share their knowledge with the students.
  • FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotics is an international robotics competition.  While the competition theme changes each year, the competition format consistently requires teams of students to design, build, and program a robot using EV3 LEGO Mindstorms to complete tasks in two and a half minutes.  Teams may advance to the Championship Competition based on their total points scored, but also judged on the technical design of the robot, their teamwork skills, and the competition theme based research project.  Students in FIRST LEGO League use class time during this first trimester course to develop their programming, collaboration, and strategic thinking skills necessary to have their robot ready for December competition.
  • Civil Engineering is a broad-based, hands-on course to help students understand the influence that creative and innovative design has on our lives. Using project/problem based learning, students investigate the forces, materials, and shapes necessary for building structures. As a team, they apply the engineering design process to designing, building, and testing a model bridge.
  • Reverse Engineering is a course that helps students document and analyze a product’s design. The process investigates a product’s visual, structural, and functional elements. Students consider how and why a product was designed and built.  Then, the product is disassembled and investigated completely using tools and technical drawings. Finally, students can reimagine or improve a product’s initial design.

7th & 8th Grade

7th & 8th grade students interested in STEM may choose from the following enrichment offerings:

  • FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotics is an international robotics competition.  While the competition theme changes each year, the competition format consistently requires teams of students to design, build, and program a robot using EV3 LEGO Mindstorms to complete tasks in two and a half minutes.  Teams may advance to the Championship Competition based on their total points scored, but also judged on the technical design of the robot, their teamwork skills, and the competition theme based research project.  Students in FIRST LEGO League use class time during this first trimester course to develop their programming, collaboration, and strategic thinking skills necessary to have their robot ready for December competition.
  • MAKE is a hands-on project based class in which students gain confidence to design and create with a number of the basic tools of a maker space shop such as a the band saw, drill press, table saw, hand drills in addition to learning how to create with technology driven tools such as a CNC router and laser cutter. Students explore the fundamentals of design and computer aided drafting. These skills are combined with the knowledge of the basic shop tools to allow students the freedom to design and craft their personalized end of course projects. Custom class projects might include wooden candleholders, pallet signs, desktop lamps, cutting boards, game boards, jewelry, or puzzles.
  • Green Architecture In this class, students learn how to apply “green choices” to the fields of architecture and construction by exploring dimensioning, measuring, and architectural sustainability as they design affordable housing units using Autodesk’s® 3D architectural design software. Students work in teams to design, model, and test more efficient choices in buildings and structures.
  • Panther Tech is a survey course exploring computer science. Panther Tech will focus on human-computer interaction, including computer hardware, Internet resources, and usage techniques. The course will also examine computer use cases in various fields, what goes on behind the scenes in applications, and problem solving using algorithms. Basic computer programming will be introduced, and students will create simple programs.

Upper School

  • CAD/CAM explores the process of Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) tools. CAD software includes Autodesk Fusion 360 (3D modeling), Inkscape (2D vector drawing) and VCarve Pro (2D drawing and tool pathing).  CAM tools located in the Design Den include Parish’s 3D printers, laser cutter, CNC router, and CNC mill.  Students design and fabricate a variety of projects using CAD/CAM methods and technology.
     
  • Introduction to Engineering explores the branches of engineering and the different types of work the engineers do.  The students will choose a project that incorporates the engineering design process through goal setting, documentation, research, designing, building, testing, redesign and rebuilding of prototypes.
     
  • Advanced Engineering applies the basics of engineering as a iterative, collaborative process.  An important component of this course will be the use of embedded computing as the medium through which students investigate the stages of product design.
     
  • Robotics and Automation is a project based course investigating the fundamentals of robot design, construction and programming. The class will cover construction techniques, various locomotion systems, basic electronics, programming and sensor based control systems. Students will produce a robot to accomplish specific goals outlined at the beginning of the trimester. Students will have the opportunity to compete the FIRST Tech Challenge local competition during Trimester 1 and 2. Trimester 3 students have the option of working on student-directed projects. Students will advance to more technical and complex systems as their robotic skills progress. This class may be taken more than once.
     
  • Parish NASA Rover Team is a fast paced college-level engineering course intended to stimulate student’s ingenuity, intellectual talents and practical skills in devising solutions to unique real problems. Students in this class will design and fabricate a two person collapsible “rover” for entrance in the NASA Human Powered Exploration Rover Challenge hosted in April at the Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, AL. This course requires students be highly motivated and to possess the skills necessary to safely and proficiently operate hand & power tools as well as shop machinery independently. While students receive class credit, rover is an academic team and students should expect to commit time outside of class during the week and on the weekends in the Design Den working on and testing the “rover.” Though a second trimester class, design and prototyping work begins after school during the first trimester and continues into the third trimester as the team prepares for the April competition. Students should be willing to commit to 4 days of travel to the weekend competition. 

*Prerequisites: Instructor Approval. Recommended course work Introduction to Engineering or Robotics and Automation, engineering or robotics competition experience preferred.

  • Exploring Computer Science I is the first (one trimester) of a three-part Exploring Computer Science course sequence. ECS1 will focus on human-computer interaction, including computer hardware, Internet resources and usage techniques, computer use cases in various fields, and what goes on behind the scenes in applications; and problem solving using algorithms and logical, step-wise processes. Basic computer programming will be introduced and students will create simple programs.
     
  • Exploring Computer Science II is the second (one trimester) of a three-part Exploring Computer Science course sequence. ECS2 will focus on basic website design, including basic HTML, CSS, and image editing for the web; and an introduction to programming using the Snap! programming language with which various programming concepts will be introduced and applied through the creation of games.
     
  • Exploring Computer Science III is the third (one trimester) of a three-part Exploring Computer Science course sequence. ECS3 will focus on computing and data analysis, including data collection, data analysis, and data utilization; and a programming project that builds on concepts learned throughout the ECS courses.
     
  • Coding for OOP serves as an introduction to object-oriented programming (OOP) and prepares students for more advanced programming courses. Students will be introduced to OOP through the use of the Python 3 programming language. Students learn to use methods, functions, parameters, arguments, if-else statements, and loops through this easy-to-learn language.
     
  • AP Computer Science Principles is a college preparatory course designed to cover the Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles Exam. The AP Computer Science Principles course will introduce you to the essential ideas of computer science and show how computing and technology can influence the world around you. You will creatively address realworld issues and concerns while using the same processes and tools as artists, writers, computer scientists, and engineers to bring ideas to life.
     
  • AP Computer Science A is a college preparatory course designed to cover the Advanced Placement Computer Science A Exam topics. The students will build upon what they learned in Computer Science I and focus on the Java programming language. Upon successful completion of the course, students will have a strong foundation in Object Oriented Programming and its components as they pertain to the CS-A.
     
  • 3D Modeling and Animation uses the open source 3D modeling software, Blender, students have an opportunity to createcutting-edge technology projects. This course is largely self-directed, giving students the freedom to design projects based on their own areas of interest and to decide what technologies to use. Working with peers, students will complete projects, research and design their own virtual programs, and create 2D and 3D imaging that is then transferred into stereoscopic displays to create immersive virtual environments. Students may be asked to make presentations of their work. The course may be repeated.

Robotics

PParish's award winning Robotics program was established in 2009 by a core group of visionary and entrepreneurial freshmen and sophomores. In two short years, driven by student interest, passionate parents and supportive teachers, the Robotics program grew to span all grades - PreK - 12th.

This comprehensive program is:

  • offered to PreK – 2nd grade students through ParishEXTEND with opportunities to participate in age-appropriate robotics classes.
  • embedded as part of the 3rd & 4th grade STEM block.
  • embedded a part of the Middle School enrichment program.
  • available to Upper School students as a science elective.


Parish’s Robotics program known regionally for promoting, competing, placing and winning in competitions such as Dallas BEST™, Texas BEST™, FIRST®LEGO® League (FLL), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Parish teams currently compete in FIRST®LEGO® League and FIRST®Tech Challenge competitions.

Our goal through Parish Robotics is to inspire students to excel in science, technology and engineering and cultivate critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills as it fosters self-confidence and innovation.

Our goal through Parish Robotics is to inspire students to excel in science, technology and engineering and cultivate critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills as it fosters self-confidence and innovation.

Videos

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STEM News

Roadmap

STEMhandout.pdf