NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - What is STEM and why is it important? STEM stands for the interdisciplinary and hand-on approach to integrating Science, Technology, Engineering and Math into lessons that prepare our students for the skills necessary in the 21st Century. Through STEM activities, students develop their problem-solving and critical thinking abilities. They learn to collaborate and create solutions which are important skills as they continue their education and eventually compete in a global economy.

The Academy has immersed itself in STEM education starting with our Early Childhood Education students (PreK-3 to Kindergarten) and continuing into our Middle School.

The Academy has invested in various tools that bring excitement into the classroom and provide opportunities for problem solving. Among these tools includes a MakerBot 3D Printer, Sphero robot balls, and a hydroponics tower and garden. In addition to these, the Academy teachers also use everyday materials in their STEM lessons to challenge their students in the four disciplines.

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Some STEM activities the Academy students enjoyed was when fourth graders determined whether an arch-shaped bridge or a flat bridge would support more weight. They also created a replica of the cerebrospinal fluid in the brain to demonstrate how that fluid protects the brain from injury. Eighth graders in art class made kinetic energy sculptures. Seventh graders used the 3D printer and an online 3D design program to create an object they wanted to include in a zoo project they worked on in science class while learning the different animal kingdoms. These are just of few examples of what goes on every day in the Academy’s classrooms.

The faculty and administration are diligently working together to continue this effort of integrating STEM throughout the curriculum and across all grade levels. Their goal and hope is that the Academy students will learn important 21st Century skills with these hands-on STEM activities and in the process build a confidence in their students to solve problems, collaborate with one another, and have fun while doing so!

The Academy of Our Lady of Peace is a Catholic Elementary School for Grades PreK-3 years to 8th Grade in the Archdiocese of Newark serving students from New Providence and many surrounding communities. For more information about The Academy please visit www.TheAcademyOLP.org or call 908-464-8657.