Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
Mission: STEM at Trinity Hall is studied by a student-centered, inquiry-based interdisciplinary approach that encourages active participation, collaboration, and 21st century skills. Students are empowered to take ownership of the material, making connections on their own and sharing their insights (and questions) with the group. This move from a lecture-based model to a collaborative approach challenges students to become risk-takers and transforms their analytical and research skills, preparing them for a lifetime of problem-solving.
Core Beliefs: The Trinity Hall STEM Team adopts the following core beliefs:
- Scientific experimentation is a powerful tool to engage students in both the content and processes of science by providing a practical perspective and logical connection to theoretical concepts.
- Algebra skills are critical for modeling and problem-solving, and a deep, conceptual understanding of the algebra fundamentals is necessary to develop a solid foundation for all upper-level coursework.
- Geometry (in two and three dimensions) should be integrated across topics at all levels and include coordinate and transformational approaches.
- The study of discrete mathematics (including vectors, matrices, probability, combinatorics, and statistical data analysis) should be integrated into core courses.
- Computer and calculator-based activities, including basic coding, are fundamental to the experience of our courses.
- All concepts should be explored graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally.
- Developing a wide range of problem-solving strategies is central to all courses so that students will welcome and be prepared for new challenges whose outcomes are unknown.
GRADE 9: Physics I
This first-year physics course will focus on introducing students to the language of physics as well as the motion of bodies, both large and small. Models and graphical analysis are used to explain the phenomena of motion. Hands-on explorations using math and technology are incorporated to gain well-rounded knowledge of physics concepts. Students will accumulate data, construct graphs and develop mathematical models to describe the physical world. Lab activities are designed to develop skills in experimental design and data analysis.
GRADE 10: Chemistry I
This course will focus on developing an awareness of chemistry as an integral part of everyday life by building a proficiency in critical and creative thinking. Students will acquire a clear understanding of key chemistry concepts and skills, and master important processes and safety techniques through laboratory investigations. Inquiry-based methods for delivering content will enhance their learning of basic and advanced facts, formulas, and foundational principles of chemistry.
GRADE 11: Biology I
This course focuses on the universal processes and concepts that underlie all forms of life, from bacteria to humans. The use of modeling and guided inquiry helps students to explore and connect biological ideas with those in chemistry and physics and gives students a deep understanding of these universal and foundational biology concepts. Students will be challenged to explore how life works at the cellular and systemic level, to analyze the role of DNA in living things and the impact of biotechnology on our world, and to consider both the unity and diversity of organisms in the biosphere. Students will also gain the skills needed to be able to independently explore biological questions through well designed controlled experiments, the use of specialized lab equipment, and critical thinking.
GRADES 11 and 12: AP Sciences
Upper level students have the opportunity to focus their scientific interests and to promote individual strengths through coursework in college-level sciences, including AP Biology, AP Chemistry and AP Physics. Building upon the foundations established in prior courses, students engage in scientific practices to question ideas, develop depth of knowledge and form connections among unifying concepts in each discipline. The framework of each of these courses provides a common language to discuss scientific understanding and to share complementary sets of knowledge, skills and abilities. Inquiry-based settings require students to design experiments to answer specific scientific questions, to collect, process and evaluate data in meaningful ways, and to form credible evidence-based arguments supported by scientific theories and explanations. Upon conclusion of the course, students will be prepared to take the corresponding AP Exam.
GRADE 9: Engineering I: Creative Design Process
This introductory course is designed to promote an understanding and appreciation of the engineering design process by giving the students the opportunity to develop skills and understanding of key concepts in design through activity-based and project-based learning. Using a teamwork approach, students will build their interpersonal skills while acquiring skills in research and analysis, communication methods, global and human impacts, and technical documentation.
GRADE 10: Engineering II: Creative Design Theory
The second-year course will help students understand the field of engineering from a more detailed perspective, exploring how engineers use scientific principles to solve problems. Using activities, projects and problems, students model how engineers use math, science and technology in an engineering problem-solving process to benefit people. The course also addresses concerns about social and political consequences of technological change.
GRADE 11: Engineering III: Innovative Design Technology
The third-year course is based on a model of learning that incorporates knowledge, research skills and design principles in problem-solving contexts. Students work in teams to design and develop an original solution to a valid open-ended technical problem by applying the engineering design process. At the same time it provides details about materials and processes, and develops secondary level knowledge and skills in mathematics, science, and technology.
GRADE 12: Advanced Engineering
The final year of engineering is a specialized course designed to introduce students to the high-tech, innovative nature of modern manufacturing. Computer-aided manufacturing processes, product design, robotics, and automation are the core elements to this final course with project-based work using three-dimensional solid modeling software for problem solving. This capstone course will culminate in a major technical project that will incorporate experts from the field and a final presentation to an external panel.
GRADE 9: Mathematics I
This integrated course develops facility in working with numbers, tables, equations and inequalities (linear and quadratic), coordinate geometry, exponents and radicals. The focus is on solving word problems and reading carefully, and thus the building of algebra and geometry skills arises naturally from context, instead of from drill-and-practice. Students learn how to use the TI-Nspire CX CAS graphing calculator as a problem-solving tool. In addition, students undertake various projects and hands-on labs (including ones in coordination with Grade 9 Physics) that require them to collect data, make conjectures, and draw conclusions.
GRADE 10: Mathematics II
The second-year course is an intensive in geometry and Algebra 2 topics, focused on how geometry interplays with algebra. Students investigate lines, polygons, and vectors. Right-triangle trigonometry is developed, as are circles and parabolas. Linear motion is explored, leading to the use of parametric functions (requiring the frequent use of computers and graphing calculators). A dynamic vision of geometry is further encouraged by viewing similarity and congruence through transformations.
GRADE 11: Mathematics III
This integrated precalculus course enables students to expand their view of algebra and geometry to include nonlinear motion and functions. The investigation encompasses circular motion and the trigonometric functions that describe it, ellipses and hyperbolas, exponential and logarithmic functions, dot products and matrices, and geometry on the surface of the Earth. To prepare for senior-level mathematics, combinatorics and recursion are introduced. Approximation behavior, especially instantaneous rates of change and slopes of nonlinear graphs, will end the course and lead to calculus.
GRADE 12: Mathematics IV (AP)
This course takes an inductive approach to calculus. Working within contexts whenever possible, key concepts are developed with applications in mind. Students learn to read the language of differential equations and to appreciate that the two principal divisions of calculus—differential (rate problems) and integral (accumulation problems)—are unified by the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Students who are enrolled in Mathematics 4 will be prepared to take the AP Exam in Calculus AB, with limited sections of the course also preparing for Calculus BC topics.