Knox understands the value that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines provide to our future leaders. Our state-of-the-art STEM lab is a gathering place for students to explore technology, computer science, and engineering. Students can choose from a full course offering of hands-on and engaging classes ranging from robotics to 3D design and drafting, or even build their own computer!
STEM Course Offerings
Middle School Topics in STEM
This project-driven and research-based exploratory course introduces Middle School students to various topics in the field of STEM. In this hands-on course, students will learn to work cooperatively to overcome various challenges. Topics covered range from aviation and rocketry to reusable energy, geology, and astronomy, coding and computer science, robotics, 3D printing, and more. This course will be an open learning course, meaning while there are some designated topics for study throughout the year, students will be given the chance to determine additional topics which they want to learn.
The 3D Printing course will provide students with the opportunity to use technology that is growing in the world around them. Students will gain an understanding of how these technologies can benefit us in our day-to-day lives. Students will explore a variety of 3D design software programs from free and web-based to industry standard and advanced software. The course will introduce students to elements of digital design and drafting, geometry, and how to use and work with 3D printers. Requirements: Windows laptop with dedicated graphics preferred
3D Design and Drafting
3D Design and Drafting will provide students with the opportunity to expand their skills in 3D Design, as well as learn and use applied Geometry. Students will spend time learning geometry, geometric constructions, and 2D sketching, which will lead into 3D design. For the entirety of the course, students will be using Fusion 360 Software both in and out of class. By the completion of this course, students will have the skills to work in both large-scale and small-scale engineering through use of power tools, hardware and 3D printers. Prerequisites: Successful completion of Geometry and 3D Printing. Requirements: Windows laptop with dedicated graphics
Introduction to Robotics
This course introduces students to the world of robotics and programming. Beginning with the history of robotics, students come to an understanding of how robots function as an integral part of today’s society. Working in our STEM lab, students take a hands-on approach to the fundamentals of machine logic and automated problem solving with an emphasis on the basics of movement and physical interaction with the local environment. Requirements: Laptop (any OS)
Advanced Robotics further explores robotic assembly, architecture and capability, and careers available in the field. Through understanding the diversity and power of each area of robotics, students work collaboratively in a competitive proposal-solution environment. Learning will be fast-paced and hands-on, with real world problem solving at the center of the coursework. Prerequisites: Successful completion of Introduction to Robotics. Requirements: Windows or Mac laptop, no Chromebooks or tablets
Introduction to Coding
This class will introduce students to the world of Computer Science, which includes an introduction to the history of computers and how computers work. Over the course of the year, students will learn the Python programming language, which they will use to write their own programs and algorithms that they can take with them from class. By the end of the year, students will have had experience coding basic functions, data structures, visual effects, and graphical interfaces. Requirements: Windows or Mac laptop, no Chromebooks or tablets
Introduction to Computer Science and Engineering
Introduction to Computer Science and Engineering is a multifaceted course that is designed for students who are new to computer science and want to learn from scratch, as well as for students who are well versed in computers who want to expand their skills. This course will take students through the history of computers, the engineering and parts of computers and how they function, and basics of software and workflow. By the end of this course, students will have built their own computers that they will have used throughout the course, and then bring home to keep. Requirements: $600 Materials Fee
Advanced Computer Science and Engineering
Advanced Computer Science and Engineering is a continuation of Introduction to Computer Science. Students who wish to continue with advanced will, instead of taking their computers home, learn more about the advanced back-end functions and programming of their self-made computers in addition to how the internet works, how to network, and finish upgrading their computers before taking them home at the end of the year. Prerequisites: Successful completion of Introduction to Computer Science and Engineering. Requirements: Fee for Windows 10 License.
In this course, students will discover and research a problem, propose, develop and execute a solution, then design, construct and present their solutions. Students will learn about current topics in STEAM, participate in round-table discussions, work together to devise solutions to given problems, and understand the importance of design efficiency. This course will prepare students for the rigors of college thesis and research courses which will require students to work on their own or in groups with minimal teacher interaction.
AP Computer Science Principles
AP Computer Science Principles introduces students to the breadth of the field of computer science. In this course, students will learn to design and evaluate solutions and to apply computer science to problem solving through the development of algorithms and programs. They will incorporate abstraction into programs and use data to discover new knowledge. Students will also explain how computing innovations and computing systems, including the internet, work, explore their potential impacts, and contribute to a computing culture that is collaborative and ethical. Prerequisites: Successful completion of at least two of the following- Introduction to Coding, Advanced Robotics, Computer Science and Engineering.
AP Computer Science A
AP Computer Science A introduces students to computer science through programming. Fundamental topics in this course include the design of solutions to problems, the use of data structures to organize large sets of data, the development and implementation of algorithms to process data and discover new information, the analysis of potential solutions, and the ethical and social implications of computing systems. The course emphasizes object-oriented programming and design using the Java programming language. Prerequisites: Successful completion of Computer Science and Engineering, AP Computer Science Principles, and either Introduction to Coding or Advanced Robotics.
At Knox, rather than simply purchasing a 3D printer, instructor, Kaj Christianson felt that it would be more beneficial for the students to build a printer from scratch.