Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Chaminade is proud to announce the launching of our 6th-8th and 10-12th Grade STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) course offerings.  Chaminade is the only St. Louis Area Catholic 6-12th grade school to offer PLTW (Project Lead The Way) college credit Engineering courses.  

Students can now take college credit Engineering coursework within the Practical Arts
Department that is aligned with the Science and Math curriculum.   These courses are recognized by some prestigious Engineering Schools, a few examples are Purdue, Missouri S&T, Duke, San Diego State University, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Wichita State University and many more.

The  PLTW  courses are an engaging and thought-provoking place, where students develop critical thinking skills through hands-on project-based learning, preparing them to take on real-world challenges. Students will have the opportunity to create, design and build things like robots and cars, applying what they are learning in math and science to the world’s grand challenges. 

Mower Assembly Travers' Mowing Explosion Parts List.jpg
PLTW programs are designed to serve middle school and high school students of diverse backgrounds from those already interested in STEM-related fields to those who are more inspired by the application of STEM than they are by traditional mathematics and science courses.

PLTW classes are taught during the school day, and every instructor of PLTW courses receives extensive training as well as ongoing support in the courses they teach. While the STEM subject matter is rigorous, the approach is never rigid. That’s because the PLTW program provides a flexible curriculum platform schools can customize to meet the specific needs of their academic environments.

PLTW’s comprehensive curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, innovation, and real-world problem solving through the implementation of the Design Process. Each course curricula represents a complete package, which allows the instructor to focus on teaching, student achievement, assessment and professional development.

The hands-on, project-based program engages students on multiple levels, exposes them to subjects that they typically would not pursue, provides them with a strong foundation for achieving their academic goals in any chosen field of study and, if pursued, establishes a proven path to college and career success in STEM related industries.

ScienceDepartment Sample Stem Lessons  

7th Grade Health Science

S – Students learn about the structure of bones and how bone strength affects the human movement.

T – Students use the internet to research various intra-bone structures (especially in birds).

E – Students create a bone out of paper and glue and test the results by breaking them with heavy weights.

M – Using their lab data, students calculate bone strength from the weight of the bone and weight that it held.

6th Grade Life Science

S – Students are studying Cnidarians – jellyfish, sea anemones, corals, hydras.

T – Students narrowed their studies to a particular Cnidarian – the hydra and used the microscope to study this organism. Computers were also used for the lab write up.

E – Students used an inquiry approach to learning the microscope.

M – Students used calculations in order to determine the power of magnification.

9th Grade Conceptual Physics

S – Students learn about Linear Motion. They learn to draw Distance/Time graphs and calculate acceleration.

T – Students use the Motion Detectors with their computers to observe different kinds of linear motion they perform and get their dist./ Time graphs and then try to match others given on the computer.

E – Students collect the data from the different motions performed.

M – Using their data, they calculate the acceleration.

9th Grade Conceptual Physics

S – Students learn about the free fall and acceleration due to gravity.

T – They use their computers to search the greatest Hang-time in sports e.g. Basketball

E – Work in groups to measure the greatest height they could jump to.

M – Using their data, they calculate their own "Hang-time"

9th Grade Conceptual Physics

S – Students learn about the acceleration due to gravity, leading to Terminal velocity.

T – They research for the best design for parachutes.

E – They build their own parachutes.

M – Students drop their parachutes from certain heights and observe if their parachute reached terminal velocity. Using the height, they calculate the terminal velocity.

11th/12th Grade Physics

S – Students learn about static equilibrium and the summation of forces with Newton's third law to investigate the 1981 Hyatt Regency walkway collapse in Kansas city

T – Students use Algodoo simulation software to develop a plan to support a walkway bridge with support rods.

E – Using steel rods and sections of gutter, build a model of the correct support connections along with the failed ones

M – Given an estimate of the walkway weight calculate the maximum minimum tension requirements for the support rods

12th Grade Anatomy & Physiology

S – Students learn specific muscles in the human body.

T – Students research the Origin, Insertion, and Actions of those muscles via Internet or BioHuman (Google App).

E – Using PVC pipe and rubber bands, construct a lever/pulley system representing a third class lever found in the body.

M – Calculate the force a muscle would have to provide in order to lift various amounts of weight

8th Grade Applied Geoscience

S – Students learn about the structure of the atmosphere and how pressure plays a role in breathing and weather.

T – Students use the internet to research data on temperature and pressure readings as attitude increases in the troposphere. They then use their computers to create graphs from the data in order to illustrate a profile of temperature and pressure in the troposphere.

E – Students create a pressure gradient using extreme hot and cold air; then allow the pressure gradient to crush an aluminum can. To follow up the experiment, they report as to how pressure can damage human structures in severe weather.

M – By measuring the surface areas of many objects in the classroom, students calculate the amount of air pressure exerted by using and average air pressureof 14.7 lbs/in2. The boys then use Mr. Schaaf’s weights to get an idea of how much air really weighs! (Don’t worry – John was very willing to loan out the weights ;))

10th Grade Chemistry

S – Students learn about the concepts of stoichiometry and limiting reactants,how they relate to a balanced chemical equation.

T – Students use PhET interactive simulations on the computer to practice applying these concepts.

E – Students design an experiment using gas generators, rockets, and a launch pad to test ratios of reactants and determine a proper stoichiometric ratio for a reaction.

M – Students use their lab data to calculate the amount of water generated by the reaction.

11th Grade Biology

S – Students will design an experiment to investigate cell processes (Cellularrespiration and Photosynthesis)

T – students use Internet collaboratively (using Google Docs) to conduct research on some cellular activities that are involved in photosynthesis and cellular respiration and presenting their work in the form of PowerPoint to the class

E – students will build/construct a model that compares photosynthesis and Cellular respiration

M – students will collect data from experiment and graph result

10th Grade Chemistry

S – Students perform a lab measuring heat capacity of a metal sinker. They then learn about various liquids that absorb heat produced by machines.

T – Temperature probes interfaced with students’ computers record and graph temperature at regular intervals.

E – Students use an inquiry approach to investigate different solutions that may be used to remove heat from a system. They will go on to identify the solution that works best.

M – Datatables and graphs will be interpreted and calculations performed to quantify the amount of heat absorbed by each solution.


  Student Quotes

"We went from a simple shed to designing our own dream houses and sports complexes complete with furniture and landscaping. It allows us not only the capability to keep our designs clean and readable but also allows us to see the building in 3D and visualize what we have built." -Paul  '13 


"My favorite project has been the designing of the Sport facility on Revit. I also liked the roller coaster project. I liked working with my partners for this project and working together to make the roller coaster."  -Austin  '13  

"I like to use my hands; it is fun to be hands on with structures. I enjoy building with my friends and learning at the same time.  They have prepared me for hard work and I learned about how structures are built." -Michael '13