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iSTEM: Pathways

Learn more about our iSTEM pathways to technology and engineering from grades preK-12:

iSTEM: Building Bridges to Engineering

Charlottesville High School and Buford Middle School have received national and international recognition for their innovative engineering programs.  Now, Charlottesville City Schools is developing an elementary iSTEM program to help all of our students become familiar and comfortable in the tech and engineering world, even in kindergarten. From preschool to 12th grade, we want all students to know the iSTEM is for everyone.

STEM Students working on a project

From maker spaces to coding clubs, our City elementary schools have always been introducing students to 21st century STEM skills. (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.) But in 2016, the schools began implementing a more systematic approach that starts in elementary and leads to high school STEM and beyond.

The division’s iSTEM teachers work in all schools — even elementary — to teach foundational concepts, assist teachers in making math-science-technology connections, and build strong pathways into the division’s cutting-edge engineering programs at Buford Middle School and CHS.

For more about the STEM program at CHS, click here.

Cross-Curricular Connections
The iSTEM program focuses on hands-on projects that cross boundaries to bring engineering design skills to art, history, and reading.  History students at Walker Upper Elementary School have designed their own cotton gins when learning about the Industrial Revolution. Kindergarten students have constructed  bridges when reading the Three Billy Goats Gruff. Art students at CHS have used circuits to add lighting to sculptures. Other projects range from wind turbines to solar ovens to working models of the human respiratory system.

The iSTEM program reaches beyond students to families with events such as hands-on iSTEM family nights. Families stop by stations to build, measure, experiment and even solve CSI mysteries.

It is the mission of the iSTEM program to provide every student with project-based, hands-on instruction. We do this by collaborating with teachers in the development and implementation of skills, strategies, and authentic, student-centered content. The content engages all of our students and trains them to be be active learners, resilient problem solvers, original thinkers, and informed citizens.

STEM logoFor More Information
Dr. Tonya Coffey, Science Coordinator