STEM Class Challenges Students
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is rapidly becoming a widely recognized acronym in education and the professional world, and we are blessed that we saw the value early on with developing a more hands-on approach to these vital subjects.
“Our world is becoming increasingly complex, where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with what you know.…It’s more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information” (U.S. Department of Education).
As we recognize the importance of students having exposure to STEM in and outside the classroom, Wesleyan continually seeks ways to make this program at the academy a stronger one. STEM teacher, Joel Steindel, continually provides an exciting hands-on learning experience both in the classroom and with after-school clubs for all grade levels.
This year, we have added a Technology/STEM Education elective for 7th and 8th grade students. This is a rigorous research-based course taught by Ms. Alice Linsley, who also serves as the elementary school’s Latin teacher. Ms. Linsley is a member of Christian Women in Science (CWIS), an affiliate group of the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA). She is an accomplished author as she has written numerous articles for both CWIS and ASA. In the class, students research topics related to science, the natural world, and technology and learn how to prepare Google Slide presentations, which they share with their classmates. They also learn how to use Google Chrome Books and design their own class website. Another very exciting tool with the research they are doing is having the opportunity to write publishable articles about Christians who have been prominent STEM pioneers throughout history. According to CWIS, “roughly 60% of pioneers in science were or are Christians.” This number, however, does not include female pioneers, which would greatly increase the percentage. Ms. Linsley states it best as she remarked, “Too many labor under the impression that science and the Christian faith are at odds.” Her students are quickly learning that people of faith have truly influenced the world of science. In the class, students spend a minimum of two months exhaustively researching Christian scientists such as, George Washington Carver, Galileo, Hildegard von Bingen, Copernicus, and more. Many of their articles have been published on the Christian Women in Science (CWIS) online blog.
Wesleyan 8th grade student, Tatum Davis wrote an outstanding article, which was published on the CWIS blog and republished on the national website of the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA). Leslie Wickman, Executive Director of the ASA, referred to Tatum’s article as “very impressive journalism.” Tatum wrote about the life and works of Dr. Ann Marie Thro, a scientist who is alive today and leaving her mark on the agricultural world. Tatum discovered how Dr. Thro’s faith and work, along with other Christian scientists, have continued to change the world, as Tatum wrote, “We are living in the most exciting time in agricultural sciences since the rediscovery of Mendel, also a Christian.”
Seventh-grader, Gavin Hoots chose to write about an astronomer from the 1600’s in his article, “Galileo’s Struggle and Vindication,” which was also published on the CWIS blog. Gavin discovered as well that the Christian faith had played a tremendous role in Galileo’s life as he wrote in his article, “Galileo did not see a conflict between science and the Bible. He believed that both served God and made truth more evident to Humankind.”
Through the years, Wesleyan’s mission has been to prepare students for their future work so that they will be equipped to serve Christ and influence the world around them. Alumni such as Myles Bohon (2003) who is currently a post-doctoral researcher at Technische Universitat Berlin where he is building a next generation Rotating Detonation Engine (RDE), Rich Kenny (2002) who is in Clinical Informatics at Duke University School of Medicine, Danielle DonDiego (2003), a Chief Resident in Family Medicine, and Nick Bodenheimer (2000), a physician for Novant Health are just a few of the alumni who are leaving their mark on the STEM profession and our world. We believe that as the years progress, there will be new and exciting ways for Wesleyan students to learn about STEM. We are thrilled about this growing program and thankful for students who give of their best to achieve excellence in all that they do.
In a world that desires to take God out of the sciences by denying the foundations set forth at Creation, it is exciting to know that Wesleyan students are being challenged to discover these truths through the lens of a Christian education. As the famous scientist, Albert Einstein said, “The more I study science, the more I believe in God.”
Please click here for the links to the students’ articles.
Dr. Rob Brown
Head of School