Minnehaha has long had an emphasis in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). We offer exciting opportunities at the Upper School, including sending experiments to the International Space Station. Our rigorous curriculum focuses on writing, research and hands-on experiences that prepare our students for success in future coursework, college and careers. Critical thinking is paramount in our classes. Students are engaged in inquiry through student-designed, hands-on lab activities that supplement course content.
A Strong STEM Foundation
Here at Minnehaha, we know that science teaches the basic principles of our physical and biological world and their influence on – and application to – our everyday lives. The integration of science, engineering and mathematics with technology (STEM) teaches students independent and innovative ways to solve problems and utilizes the skills that they are learning in other areas of study. These skills are required in order for today’s students to become tomorrow’s global leaders.
Page Family STEM Research Lab
Minnehaha Academy’s new, state-of-the-art Page Family STEM Research Lab and adjacent STEM learning spaces provide our student scientists with the latest in equipment and technology that helps them take their studies to the next level. Our STEM labs provide more than 3,000 square feet of flexible learning space, created specifically with the needs of our students in mind. These spaces are used by a variety of science classes in the Upper School.
“I’ve undergone an immense amount of personal growth with the understanding that the objective of research (and space travel) applies to me as well: curiosity and exploration are essential to finding one’s place in the vast and opportunity-rich world,”
- Applied Research & Engineering Student
Applied Research and Engineering: Sending Experiments to Space
The Applied Research and Engineering class creates, from concept to completion, two experiments to send to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Minnehaha Academy is the only school in the Midwest to offer this program, and ISS students meet weekly with mentors, who are professional engineers, geneticists, and computer programmers as well as two Minnehaha Academy science teachers. Students are also invited to conduct parts of their research in the laboratories of their mentors at the University of Minnesota.
“Minnehaha’s Applied Engineering & Research program offers students two valuable opportunities rarely offered at the High School level,” commented mentor Tom Holman. “First, students learn engineering processes and procedures including how to define, design, test and debug complex electrical and mechanical devices. Second, students learn 21st Century learning skills that business leaders have defined as critical for the success of future employees. These skills include creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, as well as communication and collaboration.”
- 2015-2016 ISS Team Blog: Read about the journey of the two 2015-2016 ISS teams as they prepared their experiments for launch day.
- 2014-2015 Media Coverage of the students’ 2014-2015 ISS experiment.
“Before taking ISS, I had no idea what I wanted to do in college or what field of study really ‘clicked’ with me. ISS ignited my desire for engineering."
- Andrew Johnson, ISS student project leader
A World of Opportunity
Students are encouraged to explore a variety of STEM disciplines at Minnehaha.
Science offerings include oceanography, environmental science, physics, as well as Advanced Placement and Honors science courses, among others. Students participate in problem- and project-based learning as they apply their skills in real world settings. Lab performance, projects and collaborative group work are significant factors in student evaluation in the science courses, which incorporate 21st century skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Technology is integrated into the fabric of most every course at Minnehaha and students learn how to use it with integrity and as a tool to enhance learning. Students may take computer science and graphic design courses. These courses teach students to be creators of technology, not just consumers.
Students study Engineering most notably through our unique Applied Research & Engineering course where they are introduced to the process of engineering design and are encouraged to use higher order thinking skills as they engage in authentic scientific research.
Strength in Mathematics is gained in courses that engage students using a variety of instructional strategies including interactive instructor and student presentations, hands-on projects and labs, individual and group work, and video presentations. Advanced Placement courses are available for students to earn college credit.