STEM learning at Pickering College, or combined learning in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics, provides students with an enriched curriculum and a deep interdisciplinary learning experience. Our program integrates thinking and technical approaches from the Arts and the Social Sciences as well. This approach links learning through all three divisions in our school, and benefits each of our students from JK through to Grade 12. Integrated into our academic programming, STEM learning at PC provides students with a wide variety of opportunities to connect skills and knowledge across academic disciplines, apply them to real-world contexts at the school, community and at the global level. Through these experiences, our students develop competencies in experimentation and creative thinking, resilience and teamwork, design and prototyping as well as the application of technology as they take a critical approach to problem-solving. They will become deep and adaptive thinkers as they innovate and collaborate in tackling the most pressing challenges facing our world.
In our Junior School, STEM is designed to develop critical thinkers through enriched curriculum and deep interdisciplinary learning. While the focus of STEM is on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, our program integrates Art and elements of the Social Studies curriculum as well. Students research and explore STEM concepts and topics through the inquiry method. Students from K-2 will experience inquiry through the lens of Reggio, which is a philosophy and approach that values young children as capable, competent, creative and full of potential. Young learners bring with them a deep sense of wonder and curiosity, which drives their interest to explore and make sense of the world around them. Students in Grades 3-5 will experience inquiry through the I-Think process (Integrative Thinking), which engages students in thinking, questioning their own thinking and working towards solving real-world problems. This method allows us to tap into the interests and passions of each student and provides students with opportunities to expand their knowledge and skills through experiences that reach beyond the traditional classroom.
Outside of our curriculum, Junior School students have the opportunity to engage in clubs that support STEM learning, such as our Robotics Club and Chess Club.
Our program is designed for a new generation of learners, preparing them to be leaders in our changing and globalized world.
The Middle School STEM provides students with the opportunity to expand their knowledge by focusing on inquiry and experimentation. Students experience deep interdisciplinary learning with activities such as the Water Issues Action Project which takes place during Pillar Week in Grade 8. This is an inquiry-based action project that asks students to explore a local or global water issue and produce a short film that empowers others to take action. Students must integrate their learning from Science, Geography, Language, Math, Arts and Technology to complete the project. In Grade 6, students build and wire a model school to demonstrate their understanding of electricity and energy. Research is emphasized in all of the Middle School grades, along with observations in natural environments such as the Blue & Silver Farm, our Outdoor Education property. Middle School students are able to use the Senior School laboratory facilities to complete more complex labs. They are encouraged to learn through experimentation while they analyze data and develop conclusions based on their work. In Grade 7, students seeking to challenge their mathematical skills can apply to the Reach Ahead Math program. Successfully qualifying students are enrolled in the Grade 9 math curriculum during their last year of Middle School.
Students explore STEM through engaging, meaningful real world issues. They are encouraged to develop creative and innovative solutions to problems in a collaborative environment. They have opportunities to apply their learning through course-based explorations as well as through the PC Global Leadership Program, where students engage in the engineering design process and prototyping tasks as they work to develop innovative solutions to real world problems. Students are given opportunities to learn and incorporate web design, app design, 3D printing, media creation, infographic design, photo and video editing into their projects. Students also participate in coding workshops.
In Mathematics, students have a variety of opportunities to engage in STEM learning and enrich their studies. The STEM Math programs in Grade 10 and 11, are designed for those who benefit from an accelerated pace of learning and increased opportunities to apply their learning in more challenging, real-world contexts. STEM challenge tasks are incorporated throughout each course for students to learn and continue to strengthen the engineering design process. Students can take senior courses in Functions, Calculus and Data Management, with the option of completing the AP Calculus AB course as a culminating experience. Other highlights include participating in a wide variety of Canadian and International math contests.
Technology is also widely incorporated into all mathematics courses. Students have opportunities to use: Tinkercad, Desmos, Geogebra, Excel, LoggerPro, 3D printers, and programming software, such as MakeCode. In the STEM courses, students complete a robotics module. In Computer Science, students learn basic coding principles using Python, html.css and c# language and apply this to different projects throughout the course.
In Science, students are challenged with STEM design and build tasks to apply their understanding to real world problems. They use the engineering design process to plan, build, iterate and execute the challenge given, such as building catapults, model wind turbines, ping pong launchers, model electric cars, optical devices, musical instruments, mag-lev cars and real-life simulated genetics and evolution STEM discovery tasks. All Science students learn to use LoggerPro with Vernier Probeware to digitally collect data and have access to our virtual lab software, Explore Learning Gizmos, and Pivot Interactive. Both tools allow our students to interactively explore topics that were once not accessible in the classroom. In AP Chemistry, students dive deeper in the theories behind concepts, with a focus on thinking critically and problem-solving.