Dear Parents of current 7th grade students,


iSTEM is a unique class that was introduced to selected 8th grade students this year.  While still early in the first year of being offered at GCMS, the overwhelming response by students and parents has been overwhelming. iSTEM stands for Integrated, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This class is designed to help students learn how Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics impact their world and prepare them for the workforce of the future. iSTEM is taught in our newly renovated state-of-the art active learning classroom. See photos below.


    iSTEM     iSTEM


The "i" in iSTEM stands for integrated and as such various disciplines are fused together as opposed to other STEM program where disciplines are still treated as separate subjects. In the iSTEM classroom, students will engage in real world problems and experiences through project-based, experiential learning activities that lead to higher-level thinking. A simple premise that students learn best by doing will shape experiences in the iSTEM class. This course will not only ask our students to solve a problem, but also expect students to define what the problem is.  Students will explore and solve problems by asking questions, experimenting, designing, creating, building, and testing. The primary instructional approach involves engineering design challenges and scientific inquiry that include natural and liberal integration of technology and mathematics.


Curriculum and instruction are based around "Design Briefs", each presenting students with an engineering design challenge. Most challenges are team-based. Once presented with the brief, students are armed with background knowledge through inquiry-based science lessons, individual/group research projects, guided science activities, and/or resources. Students plan, build, and test their design in an informed manner. Finally, they analyze and present their findings.


iSTEM fulfills the 8th grade science requirement while also providing students greater depth and exposure to the principles and activities presented in the 8th grade STEM cycle class.  


Here are just a few of the principles and activities students will be exposed to in the iSTEM course:

·         Explore areas of earth, life, and physical science through hands-on activities and problem-based learning

·         Universal Design for learning to increase student participation and problem-solving skills

·         Engineering

·         Technology

·         Scientific inquiry and applied mathematics

·         Lego Mindstorms

·         Sea Perch -innovative underwater robotics activity


Enrollment in the iSTEM course will be through an application and selection process.   iSTEM classes are an hour long and meet either in the morning from 8:15 - 9:30 (10 minutes embedded for homeroom) or afternoon from 2:05 to 3:05. 


To apply for acceptance into the iSTEM class, STUDENTS must complete this application  online. Applications are due by January 4, 2016.