If you walk into the Junior High building at just the right moment, you might be showered with bubbles. It is not uncommon to run into students applying their learning through testing prototypes created in MakerSpace. For this project, students researched their topic, bubbles, and the science behind their formation, digitally designed their own bubble wand, sent it to the 3D printer, tested their creation by blowing bubbles, and then analyzed and reflected on their designs. This is an example of meaningful STEM learning taking place at GAC. STEM is an acronym describing four disciplines: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEAM, its artistic sibling, adds an “A” for the arts. A quick internet search of either term, yields a multitude of programs, specialized schools, camps, seminars, certifications and more. It is obvious that there is much underway in education regarding this concept.
With the great emphasis being placed on STEM and STEAM programs around the country, there is danger of falling into the alluring bandwagon of trends and buzzwords. Effective schools must strike an appropriate balance between innovative risk and analytical, research-based decision making as they sift the meaningful from the fleeting. The STEM focus in many schools encompasses courses, resources, facilities, curriculum, and personnel. At GAC, we are making great improvements in our STEM-related areas. However, we are about much more than acronyms and trends. At GAC, we desire our students to be deep, analytical thinkers, researchers, problem-solvers, well equipped to tackle the challenges of the world for God’s kingdom and His purposes.
“The sciences offer a grand opportunity to study the marvel of God’s handiwork. No one should do it better than Christian schools.” – Dr. David Fincher, President
STEM concepts are not something new to GAC. We have a long history of successful outcomes in the areas of STEM, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop growing or improving in all we do; in the past several years, GAC has experienced substantial growth in these areas. Our students leverage powerful technological tools every day as an integrated part of their learning. They explore the world through our Environmental Learning Center. Creativity and problem solving are fostered and developed in MakerSpace. Students participate in real-world experiments and discovery through a wide variety of available courses including anatomy and physiology, marine biology, robotics, computer science, environmental science, calculus, and multi-variable analysis. However, we would be remiss if we stopped there. There is so much more on the horizon.
Earlier this year, GAC made a powerful commitment of time, resources, and energy to a new STEM initiative that will shape learning in profound ways.
- Newly renovated STEAM Annex building
- New engineering and robotics lab
- Full renovation of a new science building complete with a green roof and working solar panels.
- Construction beginning soon on a brand new Performance Hall
- New science lab equipment
- Two “floating classrooms” on Lake Lanier for elementary-aged students
- New coding and robotics classes
- Intentional alignment of our curriculum across all school levels
- GAC is almost doubling the STEM-focused learning space on campus