STEM at Valley Christian
STEM education is at the heart of today’s high-tech, high-skill global economy. Our next generation of leaders – our students of today – must develop the critical-reasoning and problem-solving skills that will help them thrive in the professional world.
VCS offers a rigorous, technologically-advanced STEM program in state-of-the-art facilities designed to better equip our students for tomorrow’s challenges. This intentionality begins in Kindergarten and culminates with four distinct pathways for high school students. All VCS high school freshmen take a semester long “Freshmen STEM Survey” course designed to expose them to each pathway and the options available to each student through project-based learning and field trips.
America is on pace to experience a shortage in qualified engineers, scientists, and math-based professionals within the next decade. Valley Christian is seeking to better equip our graduates to meet the needs of a changing landscape and the demands of the jobs market.
Four Student Pathways
Valley Christian is proud to partner with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) to provide our students with an exciting opportunity to learn about the field of aerospace. This four-year curriculum from the AOPA includes two years of Introduction to Aerospace, taught in-person by our own VCS faculty. The courses taken in years three and four of this pathway will be specialized in manned or unmanned aircraft and the completion of all four years can result in a student obtaining their pilot’s license or remote pilot certificate.
Courses in 2021-22:
Intro to Aerospace
In this pathway, students will learn the different areas of biology and chemistry that are relevant to the healthcare and public health industries.
Courses in 2021-22:
STEM Biology, STEM Anatomy, STEM Forensics
Materials Science & Engineering
Valley Christian is excited to build upon the success of our Robotics Club and expand understanding of engineering. Students will engage in the engineering design process to problem-solve real world challenges as well as enhance their skills in documentation and 3-D modelling.
Courses in 2021-22:
Robotics, Intro to Engineering Design
In an increasingly computerized world, students are introduced to the field of Software Engineering in this pathway. Students will study computer history and logic as well as programming strategies, algorithms and code development. Furthermore, students will learn the parts of a computer, how they work together, and how they can manipulate them to keep data safe.
Courses in 2021-22:
Intro to Computer Programming; Intro to Cybersecurity
“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”
Integrated STEM Education
The focus in STEM will include not only our four pathways, but also a much more inclusive perspective. Students will consider STEM-relevant problems from various angles such as political influence, social acceptance, and economic consequence. As such, students will understand the importance of collaboration and communication.
Engineering Design Process
To broaden student perspective and provide problem-solving resources, the engineering design process will be implemented in all classrooms K-12. Our goal is to demonstrate to students that the skills used in the engineering design process (critical thinking, creativity, peer feedback, etc.) are applicable to many aspects of academia beyond STEM.
The goal of the Valley Christian STEM Program is to excite students about these topics and then prepare students for college and career. One component of this will be including relevant applications in the world today. Students will explore how what they learn pertains to global sustainable development goals. Students will visit local colleges to experiment with their resources and facilities. Furthermore, students will speak with local professionals in fields relevant to the curriculum.
College and Career Preparation
As we continue to build out our K-12 STEM initiative, each pathway will culminate in a capstone project. This is intended to have our students think beyond the textbook and apply their knowledge to real world problems. Students will need to think critically about what issues are relevant, research potential solutions, and present their findings to professionals in the field.
Seminars and Outreach
A critical aspect to our STEM program at Valley Christian will be to take advantage of our unique location in the East Valley’s Tech Corridor. Chandler is home to numerous global industry leaders within our four pathways (Aerospace, Biomedical, Materials Science and Engineering, and Software Engineering). A wonderful opportunity for students, parents, and alumni alike, seminars will allow current professionals to speak to their experience in the field as well as the current technology and research. For those in the STEM program, students will also be going out and sharing what they know. Outreach not only endorses VCS but also promotes interest in STEM for people of all ages.
As technology advances, communication between scientists becomes increasingly important. VCS is excited to encourage connection between our students and industry experts and alumni. This will include mentor/internships, job shadowing opportunities, guest speakers, discussion panels, and more.
“Those laws [of nature] are within the grasp of the human mind; God wanted us to recognize them by creating us after his own image so that we could share in his own thoughts.”
Al Nelson STEM Floor
Our high school students have the opportunity to engage in STEM fields in our state-of-the-art building. Built in 2020, the Al Nelson STEM Floor features four classrooms built to suit for each of our pathways.
The STEM Floor is named after longtime VCS teacher, Al Nelson. Mr. Nelson believed that math is the language God uses in His creation. He also believed that today’s teenagers have an abundance of talent and energy that God can use in a might way to meet the challenges of the next generation. Mr. Nelson taught at VCS from 1987-2018 when the Lord called him home.