Math/Science/Technology Initiative at EAHSAccording to the 2006, Peter Hart Research and Winston Group Survey, math and science are viewed as vital to America's ability to maintain an edge in the global economy and remain competitive with other nations. The results of the survey also indicated that Americans recognize the important role that public schools play in contributing to our nation's achievements.
In the recent reports of Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), when American 12th graders were compared to their peers in other industrial countries, they ranked 15th in mathematics and 16th in science.
To reverse the trend, East Aurora administrators and Board of Education members last year proposed a math/science/tech “school within a school” to provide a select core of students a curricular “rich” environment that includes an extra hour of instruction per six-day cycle. In a similar format to EAHS's International Studies program, the integrated MST program enables students to work individually and in groups to develop students' interests, with further education and career goals in mind.
A unique feature of the program is combining algebra with physics instruction. EAHS teachers in both departments have enumerated the potential benefits to students that could come from aligning the two curricula.
This fall, the first class of ninth grade students began mathematics instruction in algebra classes with Mrs. Alathia Yuhnke and put those manipulative skills to use in a physics class with Mr. Ryan Ellis. Important skills such as modeling physical situations algebraically, converting between units, and manipulating equations are reinforced by both curricula, creating a stronger and deeper understanding of these skills and concepts for students. In addition, Mr. Ellis is free to spend more time working on the scientific concepts he wishes to emphasize because the students are exposed to necessary mathematics in algebra classes.Mrs. Alathia Yuhnke, above, teaches the Algebra II component of a new four-year program at the High School, blending mathematics, science and technology.Mr. Ryan Ellis, left, teaches physics and physics lab to the eight freshmen students enrolled. The program covers four periods in each school day, similar to the High School's International Studies program.The enrolled students will proceed through the lessons, graduating in 2014 with credits to help in their college and career choices. This year, the program's first students expressed interest in pursuing careers in medicine, engineering, industrial design and robotics, among others. Several of the enrolled students cite parental influence in choosing the program,and each expressed high hopes for the program's ability to aid them in the future.The four-year program consists of three linked areas of instruction; math, science and technology. In the first year of the program, students study physics and algebra II, and as sophomores will take geometry, chemistry and principles of engineering. In their third year, they will study precalculus, advanced placement biology and computer programming, and in their senior year they will take advanced placement calculus, problems in physics or chemistry and robotics/CAD I.
This year, there are three periods of instruction for the ninth graders, but in subsequent years, there will be four, including science lab, physical education and one period of enriched math or science instruction.
Q & AWhen does the student take Integrated Algebra?Students must complete the first year of Algebra in eighth grade.What about Earth Science?Students in this program may take Earth Science in the eighth grade or take it during senior year.When do students in the program take Living Environment (Biology)?Students in this program will take the AP Biology course in their junior year.Will students receive a weighted grade in the program?Yes and no. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are weighted; core requirement courses such as Physics, Algebra II, Chemistry, Geometry, etc. are not weighted.Will Computer Programming/Robotics be open to other students?Students in this program will have the opportunity to take programming and robotics. Other students may have the opportunity to participate in these classes.Will students in the program have room in their schedule for an elective?Yes, students will be able to take one elective each year.Which students will qualify for this program?This is a highly selective program. Participating students will be identified through a test of critical thinking and problem solving and teacher recommendation.
Why should my child enroll in this program?Research indicates that advancing gifted students at a faster pace results in their achieving more than similarly gifted students who are taught at a normal rate. Second, students in other countries are spending more time in math and science on a daily and yearly basis. We believe that more instructional time is needed if our best students are to compete with students on an international level. Finally, research indicates that students whose curriculum is most rigorous will achieve higher scores on important standardized tests (SAT, ACT) as well as in AP courses.
For more information on this program, or to begin a student application process, contact the EAHS Counseling Center at 687- 2509.