Alpine Up Close

STEM School

As an IB School with STEM practices and philosophies, we use a “Program of Inquiry” to guide our learning. This is a school-wide plan that helps us align “units of inquiry” both within grade levels and across grade levels. Each year, the entire school, from PK-5th and single subject teachers, tackle different over-arching IB Themes in every grade. Within each theme, teams create a unit of inquiry that encompasses IB concepts, STEM practices and philosophies and district standards. Through these units we teach skills that transfer to the real world in an authentic and relevant way for students. See below for our school’s focus for the beginning of the year.

Preschool Unit of Inquiry: Working Together

Trans-disciplinary Theme:  Who We Are

Central Idea: How I act changes based on my environment.

Design Challenge: Design a way to collaboratively move an item across and through a space that has different obstacles and constraints. 

 

Kindergarten:  Rules and Responsibilities

Trans-disciplinary Theme: Who We Are

Central Idea: Rules and responsibilities help us learn and play together.

Design Challenge: Design a set of expectations to help our class learn and play together.

 

First Grade:  Then and Now

Trans-disciplinary Theme: Where We Are in Place and Time

Central Idea: The past shapes life today.

Design Challenge: As a class, design a way to express who we are as a community. 

 

Second Grade:  Supply and Demand

Trans-disciplinary Theme: How We Organize Ourselves

Central Idea: Needs and Wants stimulate Supply and Demand.

Design Challenge:  Design a way to distribute water to a community in need.

 

Third Grade:  Trade and Money

Trans-disciplinary Theme: How We Organize Ourselves

Central Idea:  Trade benefits individuals and communities and increases interdependency.

Design Challenge:  Design a way to host a party for a client with a $50 budget. 

 

Fourth Grade:  Human Migration

Trans-disciplinary Theme: Where We Are in Place and Time

Central Idea:  Human migration occurs for various reasons and has wide ranging effects. 

Design Challenge: Design a way to replicate a land form and communicate its features.

 

 

Fifth Grade:  Mixtures and Solutions

Trans-disciplinary Theme: How the World Works

Central Idea: Humans use their understanding of mixtures and matter for a variety of purposes.

Design Challenge:  Design a way to support the client, Alpine Land Development Inc., in developing a new land purchase that has a mixture of sand, rocks, soil and water.