Deeper Learning

21st Century STEM Academy implements a “Deeper Learning” approach whereby students apply what they have learned in one subject area to newly encountered situations in another and can also see how classwork relates to real life. How do we do this? We equip students to be like James Bond and MacGyver. At the beginning of the 007 movies, James Bond is given a set of gadgets, and throughout the movie we see how Bond uses them to solve various problems. In the same way, we teach students to use knowledge through forward-transfer, using a concept learned today to solve a problem in the future. On the other hand, when MacGyver faces a problem, he doesn’t have any gadgets to solve them; he draws backwards on what he knew before to create a solution to a current problem. This concept is known as backwards transfer, solving a problem today using something learned in the past. Our curriculum equips students for success by allowing them to practice transferring knowledge in both directions. This approach results in:

  • Mastery of Core Academic Content: Students build their academic foundation in subjects like reading, writing, math, and science. They understand key principles and procedures, recall facts, use the correct language, and draw on their knowledge to complete new tasks.
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Students think critically, analytically, and creatively. They know how to find, evaluate, and synthesize information to construct arguments. They can design their own solutions to complex problems
  • Collaboration: Collaborative students work well in teams. They communicate and understand multiple points of view and they know how to cooperate to achieve a shared goal.
  • Effective Communication: Students communicate effectively in writing and in oral presentations. They structure information in meaningful ways, listen to and give feedback, and construct messages for particular audiences.
  • Self-directed Learning: Students develop an ability to direct their own learning. They set goals, monitor their own progress, and reflect on their own strengths and areas for improvement. They learn to see setbacks as opportunities for feedback and growth. Students who learn through self-direction are more adaptive than their peers.
  • An "Academic Mindset": Students with an academic mindset have a strong belief in themselves. They trust their own abilities and believe their hard work will pay off, so they persist to overcome obstacles. They also learn from and support each other. They see the relevance of their schoolwork to the real world and their own future success.