Think. Design. Create. Improve.
We offer innovative curricular opportunities in STEM to promote hands-on learning and student interest and achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Our cross-curricular STEM program is an integral part of every division. With activities that engage students in engineering design concepts at developmentally appropriate levels, students work collaboratively to gain critical thinking and making skills, and become resilient problem-solvers.
At every grade level, STEM activities engage students in engineering design concepts that prepare our children to become renaissance students.
Our school networks with industry experts to narrow the gender gap for underrepresented women in STEM, including a mentorship program with the Boston Society of Civil Engineers. We partner real-world engineers with our students in an iterative design process, thus providing girls in Grades 6-8 robust opportunities to deeply engage their STEM pursuits. Our students regularly attend invitational STEM conferences hosted by MIT, Society of Women Engineers, and Nitsch Engineering, among others.
Our dynamic STEM team, which includes Kathleen Malone, 2017 Massachusetts STEM Teacher of the Year, provides learning experiences emphasizing critical 21st-century STEM and design education skills to students in Grades 4-8. The design work performed in Derby’s MakerSpace and learning labs has received acclaim by industry leaders, including the Boston Society of Civil Engineers, Raytheon, and The Hall at Patriot’s Place.
First in the 2019 New England Regional Future City Competition
A three-year, project-based learning program begins in Grade 4 and culminates with our Grade 6 Engineering Design capstone course and the Future City competition. Students are tasked to imagine, design, and create a city that exists at least 100 years in the future. Utilizing city-planning software to research, design, and plan innovative, age-friendly cities, students must consider solutions for a resilient power grid that can withstand and recover from natural disasters, while minimizing power disruption.
Presenting their designs to family, faculty, classmates, and a panel of judges from the Boston Society of Civil Engineers (BSCES), teams are judged and scored on sustainability, energy use, transportation, water resource management, and population distribution. In small teams, students produce a virtual city, a 1,500-word research essay, a 3D scale model, and a formal presentation — deliverables that document the team’s journey through the entire engineering design process, requiring substantial time management, collaboration, and imagination.
Our school also participates in a statewide “STEM Week” in the fall, an effort put forth by state leadership, in collaboration with the STEM Advisory Council, to highlight the connection of strong STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education throughout Massachusetts. During the week, we highlight specific STEM curriculum through all grade levels and divisions, with specific activities, field trips, and speakers that emphasized STEM concepts.
The week culminates with an all school design challenge, pairing older students with younger students to ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve design activities.
Our Makerspace is a hub of activity for all grades: an innovative facility that merges technology and imagination, while simultaneously maintaining the collaborative and inclusive themes found throughout our campus.
Students explore 2D and 3D computer-aided design lessons, study infrastructure and structural engineering ideas, and learn the foundation of circuits and solar powered electronics. Through the use of CNC (computer numerical control) machines, 3D printers, and an array of fabrication tools and resources, the MakerSpace represents a crossing of disciplines as students apply their creativity to supplement math, science, and art assignments, and develop a deeper understanding. Our students gain modern and relevant critical making skills and become resilient problem solvers.
Robotics and Programming
Elective offerings in Grade 7 and Grade 8 provide opportunities for students to further pursue their STEM interests with courses ranging from App Development, Underwater ROV, Critical Making with Microcontrollers, Web Design, and FabLab Design Creations.
Younger students use Lego Mindstorm NXTs to build autonomous robots and use LabView, a graphical robotics programming platform to develop linear thinking through sequencing robotic tasks. Whether by creating LEGOS, solar powered cars, or 3D models, students across all grade levels are engaged with the design and engineering process.