STEM Program Overview

Our Approach

Our STEM classes are project and people-based. This means we study both how to be a scientist, and what it means to be a scientist. We learn how many of America’s early founders were scientists and engineers, and study the lives of great scientists throughout time. We ask questions about the role of science today, and about the potential of every person to be a scientist.

STEM students complete bi-monthly projects both in class at ILCs and at home. These projects directly relate to STEM concepts being discussed in class, and every student will have the opportunity to report back their scientific discoveries. Students will learn how to express their discoveries and justify their findings, while their mentors help refine analyses, methods, and conclusions.

In addition, our upper-grade science class revolves around one large scientific project. This project provides momentum toward an end product, a product or project that requires the scientific skills and knowledge of the entire class to complete. It drives learning and unites the class and provides context for the mini-projects and course content leading up to the summit project. Each scientific expedition also requires mathematical, technological, and engineering skills, and we draw connections among all of these topics throughout the expedition.

Math, engineering, and technology are extensively used in our STEM courses. These skillsets are integrated as part of our project-based learning model and teach real-world application. Students will be learning how to use math, technology, and engineering, simply because those skills are embedded in our major projects.

STEM Expeditions

The expeditions encompassed within the STEM program include:

STEM 6/7A: Students will learn about atoms and how they interact with one another to form molecules and, in turn, the world around them. Students will also gain an understanding of how density and energy come together to drive our Earth’s weather systems. Students will perform chemistry, energy transfer, and density experiments.

STEM 6/7B: Student’s will be introduced to biology. Specifically, cellular organization, nutrition, and how living things use chemistry to make energy. Students will be introduced to the different types of energy and how energy is transferred in a never-ending cycle. Students will build cellular models, perform chemistry experiments, and conduct energy transfer labs.

STEM 6/7C: In this course, students will learn about the unseen forces of magnetism and electricity and study Earth’s geologic systems. They will also gain a broad perspective of how living things rely on one another to form ecosystems. Students will experiment with magnets and electricity, build a microbial ecosystem, and experiment with how energy and density power Earth’s systems.

STEM 6/7D: Student’s will learn about physics, simple machines, and how the human body uses these tools and our senses to perform everyday functions. Students will build simple machines, conduct energy transfer experiments, and build an ecosystem.

STEM 8A: Students will learn about the forces and chemistry that make up the entire living world around them. Students who take this course will be better prepared to study chemistry, physics, and high school biology.

STEM 8B: Students will use both physics and chemistry to discover how the Earth was formed. Students taking this course will develop the confidence and basic foundation needed to succeed in higher-level physics and earth science courses.


Middle School STEM

CoursesRecommended GradeCreditDelivery FormatPrerequisitesVersions
STEM 6/7 A6/70.5LiveNoneClassic/Honors
STEM 6/7 B6/70.5LiveSTEM 6/7 A (Recommended)Classic/Honors
STEM 6/7 C6/70.5LiveNoneClassic/Honors
STEM 6/7 D6/70.5LiveSTEM 6/7 C (Recommended)Classic/Honors
STEM 8 A80.5LiveNoneClassic/Honors
STEM 8 B80.5LiveSTEM 8 A (Recommended)Classic/Honors