Joann Askew, Lower School Science Lab/STEM Instructor

Science, Technology, Engineering, Math – disciplines collectively known as STEM, the buzz word of the science community, has evolved. It became STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, and Math. Then, before we could memorize it, it morphed into STREAM (Science, Technology, READING , Engineering, Art, Math). It is comparable to our ever-changing complex world and we continue to adapt our educational approach. As we educate the next generation, it is more important than ever that we prepare our youth to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. It addition to content knowledge it is crucial that we train students in the field of technology to meet the needs of the world’s workforce. We can no longer educate in a traditional format that presents itself as “a teacher in front of the room – teaching content” and measure progress with traditional “fill in the bubble” tests. We need to instill a desire for building, creating, tinkering and making. These provide helpful projects that promote further exploration and learning in our naturally curious youth. We need to question like a scientist, design like a technologist, build like an engineer, create like an artist, deduce like a mathematician and most importantly…play like a child. In order to maintain global influence, we continue to advance our efforts in educating under the current acronyms. November 8, is National STEM/STEAM day. A day recognized and set aside to inspire youth to identify passions related to these disciplines. We are fortunate to live in a time where information is so accessible; we have no excuses. We find trends are changing, we continue to make headway encouraging girls and women to impact the STEM/STEAM/STREAM workforce.

Realizing the trends of the present parents, mentors, and educators will need to utilize STEM, STEAM, STREAM – in fact, all subjects to build leaders of the future. As we prepare our students to excel, not only in school, but in LIFE, we recognize the need to educate differently. So on November 8, National STEM day, gather up the students in your life, get a full head of STEAM and create something that engages, stimulates curiosity, and just might make an impact in the world.

Why Learn Computer Science?

Stan Rozar, Computer Science

The world as we know it is driven by technology, and the technological impact on society is only going to increase as we move further into the future. The desire for individuals with the necessary skill set to operate these technologies, whether it is lower lever abstraction with computer programming, or higher level abstraction with basic user interface, will always be in abundance.
Computer science is the study of technology and how to create, fix, and enhance it, as well its effects on society, both positive and negative. Although computer programming is not the only aspect of computer science, it is the most influential. Computer programing is the process of creating and designing an application or software, which results in a “program” that serves as instructions (in code) for a specific computing task. Half of the products that we use on a day to day bases are software products. Browsing through social media, playing a game, or many other tasks would not be possible without application or software design. 
Living in the 21st century means we are living in the digital age. As I stated earlier, we are a technology driven world, which means that computer science is changing everything around us. Having a keen understanding over various computing concepts is a skill set that is becoming more and more imperative for an educated person in today’s day and age, no matter what field you decide to go into. Whether it’s medicine, science, engineering, music, or even agriculture and fashion, all of these industries utilize computing innovations to meet the needs of their clients, customers, and objectives at a more efficient rate. 
Being able to say you’re an efficient programmer will not only provide a more competitive resume, learning computer programming helps you become a better problem solver by improving your cognitive thinking and logical reasoning skills, which is essentially the goal in life through any type of production, to create and find solutions to problems of the world. You can decide to create a safety app for your iOS device, assist in the design of a computing instrument to detect different diseases, or help design software that detects changes in weather. Either way, having a stronghold on the concept of computer science and programing efficiency, it allows for you to have a vital impact on the production of society in more ways than you can imagine. 

Staying Safe on the Web

By: Cara Miller, Director of Technology

Tips for Helping Younger Students Research on the world wide web


Do you want to know: What to cook for dinner?What are the newest movies at the theater?, or Who won the big game?


These days it seems that Googling itprovides the answer to every question imaginable! Simply type in a few words or a simple question and hundreds of topics are at your fingertips. While this might provide a great recipe for dinner, this not always the best resource for our students when researching topics for learning.


Researching a topic in a dictionary or book in the school library was once the only method for research. While today’s students still have access to similar resources, the immediate feedback and up-to-date answers to questions makes the world wide web an ideal source of information. The introduction to cataloged search engines such as Google, Bing and MSN, etc. has broadened the ability to gather massive information very quickly. There are, however, some tips that we can use when guiding our students in their online research.


The sheer volume of results from a simple search can be challenging for a student. Often, the student will select the first response regardless of its validity or applicability. Helping students to understand how to choose a reliable source such as .org, .edu can assist them in choosing proper references. In addition, using search terms that are very descriptive help in narrowing the search results. Finally, there are helpful tips for searching such as prefacing a word with (-) that you want excluded from your search results or using conjunctions to make results more relevant results.


Examples might be:


Search: fruit salad -strawberries (results will not include the keyword ‘strawberries’)

Search: football AND tailgating (will only include results that have both keywords)


Searching the web can also present other challenges for students. The issue of age-appropriate searching for students can be a concern for parents and educators. There are, however, several search engine options for kids on the web. One helpful tip would be setting a student’s home page on their laptop or personal device to one of the search engine pages to replace the normal home page. This will encourage the student to these sites for safe and responsible searching. Depending on the age of the student researching, here are some helpful search engines geared toward appropriate results of a search inquiry.


Ages 4+

  • com– a safe, visual search engine for kids powered by Google. The first three results to each query are kid-safe sites and pages written specifically for children and hand-picked by the editors at Kiddle. Results 4-7 are also hand-picked by the editors, and include safe, trusted sites that are not specifically written for kids, but have simple, easy-to-understand content. Finally, all the following results are written for adults, but filtered by Google safe search. Parental controls on Kiddle in include keyword and site blocking for further search safety.
  • com -Kidtopia is a student safe search engine for preschool and elementary students, indexing only educator approved web sites.’


Ages 8+

  • com– provide safe, adult-content-free search results for kids. Profanity, curse words, and explicit search terms are blocked and a search is discontinued if an inappropriate term is entered in the search box. KidzSearch also maintains an updated list of banned keywords and adult sitesFor example, the number “1” can be used for the letter “i,” and “5” can be used for “s.” Kids also can access an online encyclopedia with over 20,000 articles.

Ages 12+

  • com– a search engine limited to scholarly works, and can help your child find credible information and citable material. The “Metrics” tab at the top of the page shows the most popular publication for a variety of topics based on the number of citations, and the “Scholar Library” allows your child to save a search to reference or cite at a later date. Google Scholar contains no inappropriate content, but most of the materials available might be too complex for younger kids to understand.

One of our priorities as teachers, educators and parents is to ensure that our students use the internet in appropriate, safe and secure ways. Hopefully these tips and ideas will allow us to guide student research on the web.



By: Paul Mittura, Upper School Science

You get up on cold winter morning and the sparse clouds are beautiful reds, pinks, and oranges. Why? You are trying to head a soccer ball and can’t quite find the right place to be. Why? The breaker keeps tripping when you use your curling iron. Why? You are cleaning your bathroom and the new cleaner is making your eyes water and your throat scratchy. Why?

As a science teacher, people are constantly asking me why.

Most behaviorists would agree infants are born with innate reflexes like grasping, sucking, and blinking,but most behaviors are learned through exploration and experience. Most children will look at, pick up,and taste everything they can reach in their environment. As adults, we discourage the touching for fear of embarrassment and the tasting for obvious reasons. We encourage our children to explore in our predetermined “safety” filtered environment. This environment is usually inundated with the interests of the parents. For example if the parents are sports enthusiasts the toddler will be dressed in team apparel and every type of ball known will be in the playpen. We expose our children to what we know and like.

This behavior is both normal and expected.

As educators, it is incumbent upon us to introduce children to all disciplines. With STEM education, students are encouraged to explore the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Quality STEM educators can produce environments with “safety” parameters that allow each individual to experiment with disciplines they may not have had the opportunity to explore in a home environment. Early introduction is important for the formation of accurate concepts in a controlled environment with respect to the 4 disciplines. Continued exposure (grades 1-12) to these types of explorations is an important part of STEM instruction. One of the biggest obstacles for any educator is the dispelling of a misconception caused by misinformation or misinterpretation. Continually introducing STEM activities hopefully prevents these misconceptions from developing.

Now here comes the tough part. It is impossible for teachers to become “experts” in all areas of the educational process. Only through collaboration and pooling of resources to include expertise can pure STEM education be achieved. Vertical teaming (elementary and secondary teachers) and cross curricular teaming (science, math, English, social studies, fine arts, etc. teachers) is a good start. Ideally this would occur with each new unit,but as little as once each semester can capture a student for future studies in a discipline. This concept looks good on paper,but the logistics of moving teachers around and finding time for collaboration is a potential nightmare. Large group presentation is an option but is far less effective than single class presentations and hands on exploration. Regardless of the obstacles, STEM is a worthwhile endeavor. Capturing the interest of students is every educator’s goal and a school dynamic rich with STEM opportunities should be every institution’s goal.

To learn more about CA’s STEM program visit:


Begin Your Journey.