STEM Classes and Electives

Peek into the classroom and witness our girls in action. Then, delve into the numerous STEM experiences that extend and complement the learning that happens in our classrooms.

Do the Hands-On Work

There's a real commitment to STEM work here. In Algebra 2, everyone has to do a disease project to see how logarithms affect epidemiology and how fast a disease spreads. In physics class, we didn't just learn about energy, we actually built a roller coaster. We learn how applications of what we're doing apply to everyday life, which makes the work that much richer. -Ivana, senior

Primary School

List of 4 items.

  • Computer Science & Engineering

    In the Primary School Computer Science & Engineering Program, students learn to view technology and applications of engineering as a natural extension of their learning. Students learn how technology and the engineering design process can help them to create, communicate, collaborate, and code. The students are introduced to a variety of 21st-century learning tools, robotics, and 3D printers. These software and hardware tools help the students to think critically, to solve real-world problems, to make informed decisions, and to conduct themselves responsibly in a digital world.
  • Mathematics Program

    Mathematics in the Primary School is a process of making sense of the world. Students learn math content through investigation into contexts that inspire curiosity and build students’ persistence as they pursue both accurate answers and meaningful reasons. Students engage in physical activity and play, and put their hands to work to examine, manipulate and build or take apart physical objects. These activities motivate vigorous mathematical discussions and debates, as well as quiet reflection. Puzzles, games and technological tools provide students with additional opportunities to practice procedures and develop problem-solving skills. Kent Place students are often found excitedly reporting their discoveries of connections across disciplines (from the Mileage Club to Drama set construction) and across grade levels. In addition, students in Grades 1–5 are invited to focus on special topics through the Mathematics Lab.
  • Science Program

    The Primary School Science Program focuses on hands-on, inquiry-based instruction. Emphasis is on the teaching of scientific skills that enhance and encourage students’ natural sense of wonder about the world. Even by Grade 1, students question, hypothesize, test and validate conclusions or observations. Over time, they develop the ability to ask appropriate questions, collect data and communicate their findings. Their natural curiosity about the world around them is nurtured, and we encourage them to think deeply and critically. In addition, students embrace the process of engineering design and, in Grade 3, apply it to plan, construct and present a prototype of their own useful invention. Scientific content, such as climate, sound, light, the human body and astronomy, builds from one year to the next, through the practice of investigative science and the utilization of classroom technology. 
  • WonderLab

    The WonderLab allows young children to use their imaginations and creativity to build, invent, and make, all while applying the design process and their critical thinking skills. In this capacity, children and teachers construct meaningful learning together through hands-on projects. Examples include the Thanksgiving Communities Build and the Supermarket Build. Other projects are student-driven and designed, where students create their own visions of castles, hotels, and lands, including inventions created with various materials and tools. Math, writing, reading, art, science, research, and social-emotional learning are integrated within the work and curriculum of the Maker Space. Here all are encouraged and enabled to work and think boldly. Filled with agency and enthusiasm, they sometimes fail, but always fail forward as they problem-solve to bring their creations to life.

Middle School

List of 5 items.

  • Advanced Robotics

    Utilizing robotics kits and customizable parts, students will work in small groups and individually to design and engineer autonomous and/or remote-controlled robots. Students will explore coding and the engineering design process to problem-solve and think critically. Students build advanced skills in motors, sensors, and other technical components to create a robotic product.
  • Coding Playground

    Students in this trimester-long course will continue to enhance their computer science and engineering skills as they program advanced animations, interactive art, and games. Students are given the opportunity to learn and use the same programming concepts and design processes used by computer scientists. Students begin by creating simple shapes and build up to more sophisticated sprite-based games. The concepts of plotting shapes, randomization, loops, conditionals, and variables are explored. A connection to physical computing is made through the use of circuit boards as students incorporate user inputs and outputs as the basis for an innovative smart device to operate their game.
  • Introduction to 21st Century

    Through this year-long course, grade 6 students gain an understanding of how computer science and engineering impacts our world. With this understanding, students have the opportunity to unleash their creativity as they innovate, engineer, and code. We use HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to introduce students to programming. Throughout the course, students are challenged to connect hardware and software design as they engineer and code robots.
  • STEM Engineering

    In this interdisciplinary STEM elective course, students learn and apply aspects of the engineering design process through multiple hands-on projects. Problem-solving skills are strengthened and put to the test as students model, evaluate, and modify their projects. Practical problems are solved using science, technology, and mathematical concepts. Collaboration and communication are emphasized through group work. culminating in a final project.
  • STEM for Humanity

    Students in this trimester-long course explore the intersection of design thinking, technology, and ethics. Students broaden their insight into the lived experience of diverse populations through interaction, collaboration, and research and dive into and utilize a Human-Centered Design Process. In addition to building ethical decision-making and design thinking skills, students are afforded the opportunity to develop relationships with the population for whom they are creating a solution. The course includes understanding real-world design challenges, creating an original product, integrating technology, developing entrepreneurial spirit, working as a team, and creating a prototype/product that will have a direct impact to benefit society. Students are trained on and learn how to use the tools in the Innovation and Fabrication labs, such as the laser cutter, 3D printers, Arduino circuits, soft circuits, and power tools.

Upper School

List of 11 items.

  • Bioethics Project

    With biomedical advances come complex ethical questions of personal freedom, privacy, access to health care, and fairness. Each year the Bioethics Project chooses a broad topic to explore: in the past, for example, Medical Innovations, Medical Decision-Making & the Human Lifespan, The Medically Modified Human: Is Better Always Good? and Donor: What Is the Value of the Human Body? This intensive three-trimester course with Genius block during the first trimester pairs each participant with a biomedical-ethics scholar as a mentor. Students conduct research on a topic regarding a biomedical ethical issue related to our topic and present a paper on the findings.
  • AP Computer Science A

    This course emphasizes programming methodology with a concentration on problem-solving and is meant to be the equivalent of a first-semester college-level course in computer science. Students design, develop, implement and modify computer-based solutions to problems, use and implement well-known algorithms and data structures, develop and select appropriate algorithms and data structures to solve problems, code in an object-oriented paradigm using the programming language Java, identify and understand relationships between the major hardware and software components of a
    computer system and recognize the ethical and social implications of computer use. Students read and analyze large programs including the Advanced Placement Labs. Throughout the course, students will design solutions and develop programs that solve real-world problems. AP Computer Science A will prepare students for the AP Computer Science A examination.
  • App Development

    Mobile apps are increasingly popular tools in our lives daily. New apps are marketed daily to solve problems and perform tasks. In this course, students will learn the process of app development via the Design Thinking process and the Software Development Life Cycle. Students will perform a needs analysis, design an algorithm, develop code, test code and ultimately maintain app software once it is released to users. Throughout the course, students will develop computational-thinking practices, critical-thinking skills, and creativity to solve problems using computers. Via the computer programming environment of AppInventor students will code specialized programs (instructions) for a computer. The instructions will direct the mobile device to perform tasks that manipulate and produce data. The course is primarily project and performance based. Throughout the course, students will design solutions and develop apps that solve real-world problems. Communication and collaboration tools will be integrated daily inside and outside of class. In addition, students will learn the entrepreneurial aspects of app marketing and distribution to consumers.
  • Architecture

    This course combines lecture, slide presentation, discussion and hands-on experience as it interweaves the history and aesthetics of the architectural experience. It considers the historical, cultural and political traditions of architecture and establishes the relationship between architecture and significant social, political and economic events. The focus is on the architecture of the Modern period but touches on Ancient and Medieval architecture as well.
  • Computer Science Principles

    This course introduces students to computer science and its connections to and impact on our global community. Throughout the course, students will develop computational thinking practices, critical thinking skills and creativity to solve problems using computers.
    Via the computer programming environment of Snap and the language of Script, students will code programs (instructions) for a computer. The code instructions will direct the computer to perform tasks that manipulate and produce data. The process of defining
    a problem, breaking it down into a series of smaller problems and finally coding a computer program to solve it is a valuable exercise in critical thinking and creativity. Throughout the course, students will design algorithms and develop programs that solve real-world problems. Students will create a cumulative electronic portfolio that includes their projects and reflections. Communication and collaboration tools will be integrated daily inside and outside of class. In addition, the student is made aware of the opportunities and risks in the digital age and realizes that the human element is more
    important than the machine. This course aligns with the Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles curriculum and supports taking the AP exam.
  • Engineering and the Arts

    This elective provides an opportunity for students to live at the intersection of engineering and the arts. Students learn the criteria, content, and skills needed to critique structures through scientific, symbolic, and social lenses. Students design, prototype, iterate, and communicate pieces of structural art. Throughout the course, students enhance their awareness of various engineering fields, STEM literacy, and engineering habits of mind.
  • Engineering, Ethics, and Entertainment

    Where do engineering, ethics, and entertainment intersect? What is the engineering Code of Professional Ethics, and how does it impact innovation? What ethical considerations must engineers ponder as they develop movies, entertainment devices, or platforms? Students address these questions as they explore and create at the intersection of engineering, ethics, and entertainment. Students will also learn and utilize Arduino microcontrollers, p5.js, facets of machine learning, principles of discriminatory design, and various design thinking protocols.
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology

    Anatomy and physiology is the study of the fascinating world of the human body. Whether students are planning a career in medicine, athletics, or general science or preparing for the next tennis match, they learn information pertinent to their life goals. This class shows the precision of the interconnectedness of the human body systems and gives students tools to understand the amazing relationships that exist within their own bodies. 
  • Introduction to Computer Programming

    The study of programming nurtures and develops problem-solving skills that can be applied to real-world scenarios. This course provides an introduction to computer programming by creating interactive software applications such as games, science simulations, mathematical experiments and animated presentations. While working in
    the programming environment of Scratch and the programming languages of Python and Java, students discover what a programmer does to get a program to run and how to interact with different parts of the programming environment. Students use models and
    simulations to experience the programming process of giving a computer detailed instructions. Throughout the course, students will develop computational thinking practices, critical thinking skills and creativity to solve problems using computers. To develop problem-solving skills, students use the Design Thinking process and Software
    Development Life Cycle to perform a needs analysis, design an algorithm, develop code, and test code. Programming fundamentals include input and output, data variables, processes, program control flow structures, data structures, and documentation.
  • Research in Advanced Mathematics

    In this course, students conduct research in a selected area of college mathematics (e.g., game theory, graph theory & networks, combinatorics, number theory, college geometry). Students learn about the cycle of research in mathematics: conjecture, investigation, data-gathering, generalization, abstraction, and proof. Students develop questions, approaches, and results, writing definitions, justifying their conclusions and reading and writing a mathematical proof. A primary goal of the course is to develop students’ ability to initiate and carry out a long-term research project to completion. Students are expected to write a complete mathematical paper at the end of the course using undergraduate math research standards.
  • Student-Designed Research

    This course gives motivated students a chance to delve into the world of scientific inquiry. Students accepted into this program will learn how scientists study the natural world while investigating a topic of their choice. Emphasis will be placed on scientific literature research, experimental design and implementation, data collection and data analysis. Each student will be expected to submit a formal scientific paper and present their findings in a public forum.
Kent Place School is an all-girls K through 12 independent college preparatory day school with a coeducational Preschool, located in Summit, NJ.