STEM concepts (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are well integrated into Sanford’s curriculum in all divisions. Exploring STEM-related concepts allows students to use their imaginations and creativity to build, invent, and make, all while applying the design process and their critical thinking skills. Sanford provides the tools and resources to weave these activities into student learning. Our Pirnie STEM lab is a dedicated, fully equipped space for STEM programs and activities. In addition, our lower and middle school provide makerspaces that have an array of tools where students come together to plan, tinker, investigate, improve, and collaborate to create projects using the engineering design process methodology in a safe environment.
Every teacher works to ensure students can apply their learning to creatively solve problems and effectively collaborate with their peers by being involved in engaging authentic experiences. Technology electives and other STEM classes regularly meet in the spaces to use their many resources which include 3D printers, a variety of devices, tools, materials, and new technologies that are added to keep abreast of emerging trends.
Every child can solve a problem by designing and creating.
Technology and Learning
To be successful in our digital world, students need to know how to use technology to learn, communicate, present information and data, solve problems, complete projects, and to do all of this effectively and efficiently. Each division uses a wide variety of technology in age-appropriate, task-appropriate ways to prepare them for success.
At Sanford’s Lower School makerspace, we instill an excitement for learning by using a hands-on creative process. We achieve this through collaboration between the library, technology, and science classes. Students are exposed to a variety of resources to help foster a creative process to develop their problem-based learning projects.
Lower school’s technology instructor also collaborates with teachers to support and enhance student learning across the curriculum. At every level, students use age-appropriate software and hardware to complete meaningful tasks and assignments. In the early grades, for example, students learn how to effectively keyboard, use a variety of iPad apps, and Microsoft Office applications for productivity. In second through fourth grades, instruction in researching and programming on 1:1 Chromebooks encourages logical thinking while promoting creativity and computation skills. All students stretch their knowledge further with the use of technology tools.
In addition to the makerspace, technology is readily available in our all classrooms. Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard. Teachers may conduct entire lessons using these touch screens, and students work with them to reinforce skills and concepts. The Lower School Library also integrates technological proficiency into students’ library experiences and research skills.
A program highlight occurs several mornings each week when the fourth grade produces the Sanford Lower School News. Students take turns hosting the program, operating cameras and sound equipment, and more, while students throughout lower school enjoy watching the newscast.
The Middle School technology program supports the entire curriculum in a collaborative fashion, incorporating technical skills and proficiency into daily class work and problem-solving. In addition, seventh and eighth-grade students can enroll in technology-based electives, such as Programming, Technology and Marketing, 3D Printing and Design, STEM Exploration, Maker Workshop, and Warrior Nation News.
To ensure students gain the 21st-century skills they need, our program provides a range of experience with a variety of software, hardware, and technology applications and emphasizes the four C’s: communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.
Students receive integrated instruction that teaches a breadth of relevant ways to prepare and present information, images, and ideas including:
Inserting and formatting data tables in science lab reports
Revising essays for English
Podcasting interviews on Grandparents’ Day
Enhancing Spanish fluency using Movie Maker
Designing, creating, testing, and revising inventions in Middle School’s makerspace and Pirnie STEM Lab
Creating book trailers to summarize the themes of books.
The middle school makerspace is used throughout the day in various capacities. Students are able to investigate a wide range of possible topics including (but not limited to): robotics, sewing, gardening, video production, woodworking, programming, drawing, web design, music, art, engineering, electronics, crafting, gaming, 3D printing, and digital creation. Teachers bring their classes to the makerspace when working on projects connected to the curriculum and send individual/groups of students to work on independent projects. Additionally, both a Maker Workshop elective and a Makers' Club meet in the space and give students opportunities to explore their own interests.
Students also hone their information technology skills as they conduct library and online research for their coursework. As students become more proficient, assignments and projects often weave techniques and applications together making them prepared to tackle coursework more independently in high school.
As technology is an inseparable part of how students learn and express themselves and problem solve, our upper school students have many opportunities to apply it in purposeful ways from their science and STEM labs to the computer labs...and even the art studio.
Success in high school depends on a student’s ability to use a variety of software easily and effectively to complete their coursework. Students work with programs and applications they mastered in middle school to write essays, create presentations, collect and analyze data, brainstorm solutions, complete lab reports, plan projects, produce videos, and design web pages.
Working independently in computer labs, on school equipment, or on their own devices, students receive support when they need it. Computer science and technology classes, as well as a number of visual arts and music courses, offer instruction in applied subjects and fields that exist because of technology. Students leave Upper School as knowledgeable and capable users of technology and creative problem solvers for the next stages of their lives.