Below is a list of FAQs regarding our STEM-CLASSES:

APPROACH & BENEFITS OF OUR STEM-CLASSES

What is the pedagogical approach of your STEM-CLASSES?

Each of our STEM-classes is divided into approximately four segments:

  1. First, the theme is reviewed and the topic is introduced. This introduction will usually take the form of a dramatic STEM-demonstration or real-life current event! Much of the day’s STEM-content will be discussed and explored at this point, often employing multimedia formats. By the end of this segment, students should have a firm conceptual grasp of the day’s primary STEM-content.
  2. The next segment begins with a posed real-world, open-ended, design-based challenge that the students must solve. In other words, students must design and develop something (with no single, correct solution) in order to solve the challenge. Students will work cooperatively in groups to generate solutions to this design-challenge! Thus, our primary pedagogy is cooperative learning that results from working with design-based problems — this project-based learning (or learning-by-design) approach is grounded in current educational research and follows from the premise that children learn concepts more effectively, more permanently, when solving realistic problems. By the end of this segment, students will have been issued a design-challenge and be deeply engrossed in solving that challenge in cooperative learning teams.
  3. In the third component, students continue to pursue solutions to the day’s design-challenge while the teacher will continue to explore the day’s primary STEM-concept, but using a guided-practice approach. By the end of this segment, students will have concluded their design-solutions and be preparing to discuss some of the STEM-concepts involved in these solutions.
  4. The final segment will close with students discussing their design-solutions, followed by a final activity that brings closure to the day’s concepts. By the end of this segment, students will have engaged in open-ended discussions surrounding their efforts of the day and performed one final, culminating activity to reinforce the day’s concepts

What are the benefits of the pedagogical approach of your STEM-CLASSES?

Our goal is to balance the academic, social and recreational development of our pre-K-8 students. The problem-based learning approach (described above) has four crucial components: (i.) an ill-structured problem forms the focus and vehicle for problem-solving; (ii.) the problem-solving is child-centered with teacher facilitation; (iii.) learning occurs in small groups; and (iv.) information is acquired through self-directed study.

Our approach has multiple impacts on the development of the students:

  • Our approach replicates problem-solving techniques that are commonly encountered in life and career decisions.
  • Our approach encourages the development of critical-thinking skills that students will carry with them throughout life.
  • Research indicates that the decision to pursue STEM-types of careers occurs before high school and that grades pre-K-8 represent the time children (especially girls) often lose interest in STEM. Therefore, our approach is designed to reach children at the most critical stage of development in order to promote their lifelong interest in, and enthusiasm for, STEM.
  • Finally, research supports the notion that the strongest influences in an individual’s decision to enter STEM-based professions are the positive, informal experiences that occur in childhood. Therefore, our approach seeks to motivate students by providing an early exposure to STEM in informal settings with favorable working conditions and positive experiences. What better way to provide your child with the necessary, positive exposure to STEM then by sending him/her to The Science Factory for one or more of our STEM-CLASSES

OHIO’S NEW SCIENCE STANDARDS

Does your content align with “Ohio’s New Learning Standards” in Science?

Yes. “Ohio’s New Learning Standards: K-12 Science” undergo frequent revisions (a major revision occurred in 2012 with the ultimate goal of adopting a COMMON CORE set of standards similar to what is currently in place for English/Language Arts). Despite these revisions, we continually align our lessons and activities to the state’s standards, benchmarks and indicators (Note that with the 2012 revisions, the hierarchy of STANDARDS, BENCHMARKS, and INDICATORS has been replaced by STRANDS, TOPICS, and CONTENT SUMMARIES). CLICK HERE to visit the Ohio Department of Education’s website and see “Ohio’s New Learning Standards: K-12 Science.” 


OUR TEACHERS

What qualifications do your teachers/staff have and what is the teacher-to-student ratio?

One of the unique aspects of your child’s experience at The Science Factory is his/her teacher. Your child will never be under the supervision of high school students or undergraduate students working towards a degree in education. The Science Factory is not a day-care service where your child will be watching movies, playing at the park, or taking naps. Instead, your child will receive instruction from university professors, certified-teachers, or STEM-practitioners.

Some of the unique aspects of our teachers and classes include:

  • The Science Factory is under the direction of certified-teachers, Ph.D.s and M.D.s in the STEM-disciplines. Therefore, all classes are taught by certified-teachers or professionals in a STEM-field or STEM-education.
  • Class content is separated by discipline and layered according to grade-level. For this reason, some teachers have expertise in the PHYSICAL SCIENCES, LIFE SCIENCES, MEDICAL SCIENCES, etc., while other teachers have expertise at the EARLY CHILDHOOD (grades pre K–3), MIDDLE CHILDHOOD, (grades 4–9) or ADOLESCENT/YOUNG ADULT (grades 9–12) levels. We also have staff with expertise in INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY.
  • Classes are limited to 12 children per group; thus classes will have a maximum of a 1:12 teacher-to-student ratio.

 We really enjoyed our experience at The Science Factory, how can we thank our child’s teacher?

We suggest you go on-line after your child’s class is completed to fill-out the EVALUATION. If you would like to show appreciation for a staff member or teacher, please fill out this form – tipping and gratuities are strictly prohibited at The Science Factory. Instead, our staff members earn performance-based bonuses based on your feedback through this form.


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