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Frequently Asked Questions


What is the rationale behind STEMVOX Academy?

STEMVOX Academy is the perfect place for children aged 7 to 12 curious about the wonders of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Our academy specializes in engaging young minds using the current Ontario Ministry of Education Math and Science curricula that combine educational rigour with the thrill of discovery, all through project-based learning that brings STEM concepts to life. We aim to ignite a passion for learning and innovation in your child, ensuring they understand STEM subjects and see the exciting possibilities these fields offer for their future. If you’re a parent looking to give your child a head start in building critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills, STEMVOX Academy is designed to help your child explore, learn, and grow in the fascinating world of STEM.

DOES MY CHILD HAVE TO HAVE A SPECIAL APTITUDE IN STEM?

No, your child does not need to have a special aptitude in STEM to join and thrive at STEMVOX Academy. Our programs are meticulously crafted to inspire and engage students of all skill levels, igniting an enthusiasm for the marvels of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. We believe every child has the potential to develop a curiosity and love for STEM fields, and our wide range of hands-on, project-based activities is catered to learners from all kinds of educational backgrounds and experiences. Our main goal is to facilitate a healthy learning journey, where questions are encouraged, experimentation is central, and exploration leads to meaningful instruction. What is essential is your child’s openness to engage in new ideas, a willingness to delve into projects, and a singular spark of enthusiasm for learning; we will provide the gateway to an immersive STEM world, ensuring that your child has the most layered and approachable experience to pique and nurture their knowledge of, and persistence in, the bubbling, huge heart of what makes STEM so foundational and electric. So, in essence, an innate aptitude is secondary to curiosity and a spirit of participation at STEMVOX Academy.

What does STEMVOX Academy offer for gifted students?

STEMVOX Academy is well-equipped to support and enrich the educational journey of students who are designated as gifted. Our curriculum is designed with the flexibility to challenge and inspire students at all levels in the STEM fields, especially those with advanced capabilities. For gifted learners, we offer an environment that not only meets their heightened intellectual curiosity but also pushes the boundaries of their knowledge and skills.

Our project-based learning approach allows gifted students to delve deeper into complex concepts, engage in critical thinking, and apply their learning in innovative ways. We provide opportunities for these students to work on advanced projects, participate in problem-solving challenges, and explore subjects at a depth that matches their advanced abilities and eagerness to learn. Additionally, our educators are skilled at adapting teaching strategies to cater to the unique needs of gifted learners, ensuring that they are constantly stimulated and not limited by a one-size-fits-all curriculum.

By fostering a culture of inquiry, creativity, and exploration, STEMVOX Academy aims to help gifted students realize their full potential, encouraging them to become leaders and innovators in the STEM fields. We believe in nurturing their extraordinary talents while also providing a balanced education that promotes emotional and social development alongside academic achievement.

Do you offer STEM in Schools opportunities?

Teaching STEM in public schools can be challenging. We offer STEM programs from coding and robotics to 3D printing and environmental science in fully Ontario curriculum-aligned programs. Contact us if you’re interested in having us come to lead a half or full-day STEM program. Our programs are focused on grades 3-8. We offer in school STEM programs on Mondays and Fridays only.

Contact us for pricing. We offer half and full-day sessions.

What is your philosophy regarding the teaching of STEM?

Our philosophy of teaching STEM is deeply informed by current research in both STEM pedagogy and cognitive science, emphasizing an integrative, experiential learning approach that nurtures academic skills, essential soft skills, and behavioural competencies. This educational framework is designed to prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century by fostering a balanced development of technical acumen and interpersonal abilities. Our curricula is based on the current Ontario Ministry of Education K-8 Math and Science documents.

Integrative and Experiential Learning: At the heart of modern STEM education is the principle of integrative learning, which encourages the connection of concepts across different STEM disciplines and their application to solving real-world problems. This approach is supported by brain research that highlights the benefits of contextual learning, where students are more likely to retain and understand information when it is learned in context and through application (Edutopia, 2016). Experiential learning through projects and hands-on activities engages multiple areas of the brain, facilitating deeper learning and retention of knowledge (National Academy of Sciences, 2018).

Cultivating Curiosity and Critical Thinking: Current pedagogical research underscores the importance of cultivating curiosity and critical thinking skills from an early age. Brain research shows that curiosity enhances learning by activating the hippocampus, which creates memories (Gruber, Gelman, & Ranganath, 2014). Encouraging students to ask questions, explore, and engage deeply with subjects promotes a growth mindset and resilience, essential for lifelong learning and adaptation.

Soft Skills and Behavioral Competencies: Soft skills and behavioural competencies such as collaboration, communication, creativity, and emotional intelligence are equally important in the philosophy of STEM teaching. STEM education’s collaborative nature mirrors the brain’s collaborative nature, where neural networks interact to process and synthesize information. Developing these skills is crucial for students to function effectively in team-based environments and navigate workplace dynamics’ socio-emotional aspects. Research by the World Economic Forum (2020) has identified these competencies as critical for success in the future workforce.

Inclusivity and Equity: An inclusive STEM education philosophy recognizes and addresses the diverse needs of learners, ensuring equitable access to resources, opportunities, and support. Brain research supports the notion that stress and anxiety can negatively impact learning and cognitive function, highlighting the importance of creating supportive and inclusive learning environments that reduce barriers to learning and allow all students to thrive (Immordino-Yang, 2016).

Teacher’s Role as Facilitator: The role of the teacher is pivotal in this educational philosophy. Moving away from traditional didactic teaching, educators are seen as facilitators who guide inquiry, support exploration, and scaffold learning according to individual needs. Professional development in the latest STEM content, pedagogical strategies, and understanding of brain-based learning principles is essential for teachers to implement this approach effectively.

In conclusion, the philosophy of teaching STEM today is multifaceted. It emphasizes a holistic education integrating rigorous academic content with developing soft skills and behavioural competencies. Grounded in current research, this approach aims to prepare students for academic success and personal and professional fulfillment in an ever-changing world.

References:

  • Edutopia. (2016). Real-World Learning: Linking Teaching to the Real World.
  • National Academy of Sciences. (2018). How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures.
  • Gruber, M.J., Gelman, B.D., & Ranganath, C. (2014). States of Curiosity Modulate Hippocampus-Dependent Learning via the Dopaminergic Circuit. Neuron.
  • World Economic Forum. (2020). The Future of Jobs Report 2020.
  • Immordino-Yang, M.H. (2016). Emotions, Learning, and the Brain: Exploring the Educational Implications of Affective Neuroscience.
What kinds of STEM equipment do your use and support?

Many people think that STEM is just about robots and coding. We do use robots and teach coding, however, we offer so much more! STEM is a vast area! Just think how broad the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics are and you get a better sense of what we could do and support in our STEM programs!

Here are a few examples of the kinds of tools that we use to teach STEM:

  • Microcontrollers and Single Board computers from Micro: bits to Raspberry Pi Pico W. We use these in the context of building robots and IOT devices
  • Engineering Design and Building Kits designed for elementary and middle school students
  • Advanced robotics kits
  • Digital Microscopes
  • Independent and dependent sensor kits for collecting and analyzing data
  • 3D printers and design software
  • Mathematics Manipulatives
  • Environmental and Renewable Energy Kits
  • And more….