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STEM-Driven Curriculum to Inspire Future Innovators 

Independence Elementary STEM became an official STEM school in 2019. To us, STEM is so much more than a word on our building; STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) is incorporated into every classroom every day, and is truly at the center of everything we do.

"STEM education isn't just about science, technology, engineering, & math. It's about looking at problem-solving in a new way."

Award-winning STEM Programming

Our school has won numerous prestigious national & state-wide awards in recognition of our innovative STEM-driven instruction:

  • ITEEA STEM School of Excellence (2022, 2023) (Press Release)
  • STEM Innovation Award Winner, Presented by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA) and the Science Museum of Minnesota. (Press Release)

STEM Driven Curriculum

While STEM is often not introduced until middle school or high school, our students start taking STEM classes right away in 3rd grade. Our students take one semester of each of the following courses every year during their time at Independence:

In addition, STEM is immersed into every classroom every day. At the center of our school is our STEM lab: A space where classes can come together to collaborate, engage in the 4Cs, and utilize the Engineering Design Process through hands-on learning. No matter the subject area, in our classrooms, you will constantly see engaged students participating in hands-on activities that enrich the curriculum. Our goal is to not only teach our students essential skills needed for future success, but to also inspire them to love learning.

The 4C's: Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, & Creativity

 Students learn the 4Cs (collaboration, communication, critical thinking, & creativity) early on, and consistently engage in strategies that revolve around these core concept throughout all their learning experiences across all curricular areas. All teachers at Independent Elementary STEM are trained in effective collaboration strategies that ensure all students are highly engaged and do not have opportunities to opt out of their learning. Students explore the content of all their classes through the Engineering Design Process where they are encouraged to ask questions, are provided opportunities to explore and create, and learn how to evaluate their own learning.

Students in grades 3-5 do not naturally know how to effectively communicate or collaborate with their peers. These are skills that have to be intentionally taught and practiced. Through STEM education and the 4Cs, we help prepare students with the critical lifelong skills they need to be ready, and highly qualified, to take on any career path.

STEM Integration Staff Support

One of the reasons our STEM integration has been so successful is because of the support and resources we provide to our teachers. In addition to training, all staff are supported by our three on-staff STEM Integrationists who partner with our classroom teachers and help them effectively integrate STEM into their classrooms. Our STEM Integrationists help brainstorm and implement various STEM activities in order to give our students get the best experience possible. 

students engaged in STEM activity
student engaged in STEM activity
students posing with STEM activity