Xaverian’s STEM classes are an integral part of every students’ experience and provide them with the scientific language to be leaders in the business arenas of technology and engineering. The program allows students to have hands-on experiences with real-world applications that will yield significant advantages when it comes to preparedness for college classes and fieldwork. As part of Xaverian’s commitment to fully preparing students for success in the global economy, the school has partnered with Amazon Edhesive and Project Lead The Way (PLTW), the leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM education curricular programs used in middle and high schools across the U.S. Through these partnerships, Xaverian offers a comprehensive curriculum for engineering, computer, and biomedical sciences that have been collaboratively designed by PLTW teachers, university educators, engineering, computer, and biomedical professionals, and school administrators to promote critical thinking, innovation, and real-world problem-solving skills in students.
STEM Department Goals
List of 5 items.
Acquire Strong Teamwork and Communication Skills
To help students acquire strong teamwork and communication proficiency, and develop organizational, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills.
Design, Build, and Program
To allow students to use multiple platforms to design, build and program a solution to solve an existing problem.
Investigate the Roles of STEM Professionals
To afford students the time to investigate the roles of biomedical, computer, and engineering professionals as they study different concepts in their fields.
Learn the Principles of STEM Fields
To provide students with the newest scientific equipment and state-of-the-art labs to learn the principles of these three fields.
Prepare for Leadership Roles
To provide students the academic foundation and experience to prepare for leadership roles throughout their careers.
In Automation and Robotics, students trace the history, development, and influence of automation and robotics. They learn about mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation, and computer control systems. Students use a robust robotics platform to design, build and program a solution to solve an existing problem.
In Design and Modeling, students begin to recognize the value of an engineering notebook to document and capture their ideas. They are introduced to and use the design process to solve problems and understand the influence that creative and innovative design has on our lives. Students use industry-standard 3D modeling software to create a virtual image of their designs and produce a portfolio to showcase their creative solutions.
This is a required course for freshmen students in Xaverian. This course is an excellent entry point for new high school computer science (CS) learners. All students who take CS Essentials will have many opportunities for creative expression and exploration in topics of personal interest, whether it be through app development, web design, or connecting computing with the physical world. CS Essentials introduces students to coding fundamentals through an approachable, block-based programming language where they will have early success in creating usable apps. As students sharpen their computational thinking skills, they will transition to programming environments that reinforce coding fundamentals by displaying block programming and text-based programming side-by-side. Finally, students will learn the power of text-based programming as they are introduced to the Python programming language.
The Principles of Biomedical Science (PBS) course is an introduction to biomedical science through exciting hands-on projects and problems. Students investigate concepts of biology and medicine as they explore health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, sickle-cell disease, hypercholesterolemia, and infectious diseases. They determine the cause of death of a fictional woman by piecing together evidence from her medical history and autopsy report. They investigate lifestyle choices and medical treatments that might have prolonged the woman’s life and demonstrate how the development of disease is related to changes in human body systems. The activities and projects including experimental design require students to utilize data acquisition software to calculate energy trapped in food, measure blood pressure, and record an electrocardiogram. Students are introduced to human genetics, human physiology, basic biology, medicine, and research processes, and the key biological concepts, including maintenance of homeostasis in the body, metabolism, inheritance of traits, and defense against disease are embedded in the curriculum. This course is designed to provide an overview of all the courses in the biomedical science program and lays the scientific foundation for subsequent courses. Students practice problem solving with structured activities and progress to open-ended projects and problems that require them to develop planning, documentation, communication, and other professional skills.
In this course, students step inside the human body and explore the individual systems that help us move, protect us from disease or injury, and facilitate communication within the body and the outside world. Students investigate how each system functions as a part of the whole, establishing and emphasizing the role of homeostasis. The course provides students with an opportunity to build analytical and engineering skills. They design experiments and use data acquisition software to monitor respiratory function, muscle action, and reflex and voluntary behavior. Working collaboratively, students assess energy input and output to evaluate health, analyze blood types, and build organs and tissues on a skeletal Maniken. They engage in role play which allows them to assume the position of biomedical professionals solving real-world medical mysteries.
In the Medical Interventions course students investigate a variety of interventions involved in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease as they follow the lives of a fictitious family. The course explores how to prevent and fight infection, how to screen and evaluate the code in our DNA, how to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, and how to prevail when the organs of the body begin to fail. Through various scenarios students are exposed to a wide range of interventions related to Immunology, Surgery, Genetics, Pharmacology, Medical Devices, and Diagnostics. Each scenario introduces the student to multiple types of interventions and reinforces the concepts learned in the previous two courses, as well as present new content. Interventions range from simple diagnostic tests to treatment of complex diseases and disorders. These interventions are showcased across the generations of the family and provide a look at the past, present and future of biomedical science. Lifestyle choices, medical ethics, and preventive measures are emphasized throughout the course as well as the important role scientific thinking and engineering design play in the development of interventions in the future. Students are encouraged to be innovative and work collaboratively in designing a research study, rehabilitation program or treatment module.
Computer Science Principles introduced during the Sophomore year encourages students to work in teams to develop computational thinking and problem solving. The course does not aim to teach mastery of a single programming language but aims instead to develop computational thinking, to generate excitement about the field of computing, and to introduce computational tools that foster creativity. The aim of this course is to build students’ awareness of the tremendous demand for computer specialists and for professionals in all fields who have computational skills. It engages students to consider issues raised by the present and future societal impact of computing. Students practice problem solving with structured activities and progress to open-ended projects and problems that require them to develop planning, documentation, communication, and other professional skills.
Cybersecurity introduces the tools and concepts of cybersecurity and encourages students to create solutions that allow people to share computing resources while protecting privacy. Nationally, computational resources are vulnerable and frequently attacked; in Cybersecurity, students solve problems by understanding and closing these vulnerabilities. This course raises students’ knowledge of and commitment to ethical computing behavior. It also aims to develop students’ skills as consumers, friends, citizens, and employees who can effectively contribute to communities with a dependable cyber-infrastructure that moves and processes information safely.
This course will teach students to be comfortable creating, coding and posting using HTML and CSS. Students will gain a historical understanding of the web’s evolution and key industry-standard design guidelines. Students will learn how to create a strong online presence, so they can leave with a foundational knowledge of website creation and apply it to the planning, design and development of their own web page (based on a business plan) over the course of the year.
Be able to read and write basic HTML and CSS code
Create a fully functioning website based off a business plan
Understand marketing and website standards
Create and design an aesthetically pleasing website
Understand how to upload websites to a web server
Be familiar with different web design theories and understand web terminology
As most companies and organizations transition their business practices to the cloud, users with the necessary training are in high demand. Certifications (like the ones offered in this class) will be the primary solution to validating the cloud skills of a user. IT professionals should be looking to strengthen their cloud skills as it is a top investment priority and a strong hiring area. With a certification, IT professionals will notice an incremental increase of quality, effectiveness, and performance over their competitors.
Cloud computing is a major focus area. Being a certified employee gives the user a competitive advantage in the outside world. AWS and Google Cloud (which will be targeted heavily in this course) make up over 50% of the cloud computing world. For example, the 4 AWS certifications that are targeted here are the most sought-after certifications.
Cloud technologies are growing at a rapid pace, and with AWS certifications and as an IT professional, you will build your knowledge and credibility.
Students are responsible for fees associated with the certification exams.
Computer Science A (CSA) aligns with the College Board’s CS A framework. CSA builds on the basic skills learned in PLTW Computer Science Principles (CSP) to teach students Java and authentic AndroidTM app development. This course aims to fully develop Object Oriented Programming (OOP) skills that were introduced in CSP and will require consummate engagement with the material for success. Students in this course continue to hone their communication and collaboration skills while learning to use a variety of tools. The primary goal of the course is to create independent-thinking app developers: every unit in this course builds on the students' prior knowledge and skills strengthening their ability to complete an app development cycle independently from the ground up.
Introduction to Engineering Design (IED), taken by sophomores, is a high school level foundation course in the PLTW Engineering Program. In IED, students are introduced to the engineering profession and a common approach to the solution of engineering problems, an engineering design process. Utilizing the activity-project-problem-based (APB) teaching and learning pedagogy, students’ progress from completing structured activities to solving open-ended projects and problems that require them to develop skills in planning, documentation, and communication, as well as other professional skills. Through collaborative team activities, and projects, students learn to solve problems as they practice common engineering design and development protocols such as project management and peer review. They develop skills in technical representation and documentation of design solutions according to accepted technical standards, and use current 3D design and modeling software to represent and communicate solutions. In addition, the development of computational methods that are commonly used in engineering problem solving, including statistical analysis and mathematical modeling, are emphasized. Ethical issues related to professional practice and product development are also presented.
Principles of Engineering (POE), is a survey course which exposes students to some of the major concepts that they will encounter in a postsecondary engineering course of study. Through problems that engage and challenge, students explore a broad range of engineering topics, including mechanisms, the strength of materials and structures, automation, and kinematics. The course applies and concurrently develops secondary level knowledge and skills in mathematics, science, and technology. Students get the opportunity to develop skills and understanding of course concepts through activity-, project-, and problem-based (APB) learning. By solving rigorous and relevant design problems using engineering and science concepts within a collaborative learning environment, APB learning challenges students to continually hone their interpersonal skills, creative abilities, and problem solving skills. Students will also learn how to document their work and communicate their solutions to their peers and members of the professional community. It also allows students to develop strategies to enable and direct their own learning - the ultimate goal of education.
This course is the capstone course in the PLTW high school engineering program. It is an open-ended engineering research course in which students work in teams to design and develop an original solution to a well-defined and justified open-ended problem by applying an engineering design process. Students will perform research to select, define, and justify a problem. After carefully defining the design requirements and creating multiple solution approaches, teams of students select an approach, create, and test their solution prototype. While progressing through the engineering design process, students will work closely with experts and will continually hone their organizational, communication and interpersonal skills, their creative and problem-solving abilities, and their understanding of the design process. The course culminates with each student team presenting and defending their original solution to an outside panel of judges.
STEM Department Members
List of 14 members.
Math Department Chairperson, Business Department Chairperson, Coordinator of Computer Science
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Assistant Principal for Enrollment
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Coordinator of Engineering
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Coordinator of Biomedical Sciences
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Assistant Director of Athletics / Teacher
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James Schreiner 04
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Patrick Snyder 10
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Established in 1957, Xaverian is one of thirteen schools nationwide sponsored by the Xaverian Brothers.