STEM-Focused Learning for All Ages
Reach Cyber Charter School was founded with the goal of giving every student a high-quality 21st-century online education that includes a strong emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Personalized learning and flexible pacing gives online school students the ability to make the most of their potential, while our engaging range of STEM opportunities makes it possible for them to extend their learning beyond the curriculum.
What Is STEM Education?
The acronym STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. A STEM education not only offers these four disciplines in specific courses but also provides hands-on STEM learning experiences and integrates opportunities to explore real-world applications across all disciplines in the curriculum.
To make STEM-based learning a priority for students in every grade level and every course, each teacher at Reach Cyber has committed to delivering STEM-focused lessons that provide project-based learning experiences. These lessons are designed to spark students’ curiosity and to inspire them to explore the learning, research, and career options of these important fields of study.
“STEM in a Box” Kit
Every enrolled student at Reach Cyber receives an age-appropriate “STEM in a Box” kit at the start of each school year. The kit is designed to give students “raw materials” they can use creatively and innovatively as they expand their STEM knowledge through inquiry and teamwork. Students can share projects completed from STEM in a Box in related courses throughout the year.
Back-to-School STEM Days
Reach Cyber kicks off each school year by bringing new and exciting STEM education activities to various regions of Pennsylvania. One year, students built and took home their own mini solar-powered cars, then completed their learning with a chance to ride in an actual solar-powered pedal car. STEM Days wrap up with STEM-themed scavenger hunts and other fun, while Learning Coaches have the chance to meet their students’ Reach Cyber teachers, administration, and counselors—and each other.
Reach Cyber Weather Station
Reach Cyber Charter School is the only cyber school in Pennsylvania working directly with WeatherSTEM®*. This state-of-the-art, multimedia weather station displays up-to-the-second weather details; broadcasts a live HD stream and compiles interactive time-lapse videos daily; broadcasts sunrise and sunset weather photos, conditions, and severe weather information daily via social media; and offers weather forecasts via user-subscribed text or email. These capabilities provide students many opportunities to observe and learn about our environment. Teachers have access to the station’s built-in library of lessons that can be used in LiveLesson® sessions. There is also a WeatherSTEM mobile application available so families can keep up with Reach Cyber weather all year long.
STEM Day Camps
STEM day camps are held throughout the school year to provide hands-on STEM-focused learning. Most camps provide LiveLesson sessions as well as in-person socialization for students. Each event offers a unique activity designed for specific grade levels. New camps are always being planned. Past and future STEM day camps include:
- Drone Camp, grades 8–12
- LEGO Mindstorm EV3 Camp, grades 6–8
- LEGO WeDo Simple Machines Camp, grades K–5
- Stream Studies, grades K–12
- 3-D Printing Camp, grades 6–12
- Coding Camp, grades 3–6 (held remotely via LiveLesson session)
STEM Club is a teacher-led forum where students of all grade levels can expand and share their STEM learning with classmates who share their interests. The club meets every other week via LiveLesson session.
The Winter STEM Challenge
Designed to maintain student interest over the long holiday break, the inaugural Winter STEM Challenge held during the 2017–2018 school year encouraged students to construct their own “Rube Goldberg” machines—complex systems that are designed to perform simple tasks. Prizes and certificates were awarded by grade level. The challenge was a great success and has become a part of each school year.
STEM Program Leadership
Reach Cyber Charter School’s STEM program is supervised by Mr. John McMurray, STEM education manager. Mr. McMurray has a master’s degree in science education and is enrolled in a STEM endorsement program through NASA.
Mr. McMurray’s passion for learning and teaching STEM is contagious and helps set Reach Cyber apart from all other Pennsylvania cyber schools. By incorporating the STEM program into all subjects throughout the curriculum,
Mr. McMurray hopes to launch students on a lifelong interest in STEM and to inspire them to pursue higher education and careers in STEM fields. He anticipates that many Reach Cyber students will go on to hold jobs using technology that is yet to be discovered.
To enhance STEM program opportunities for our students, Reach Cyber Charter School has partnered with Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, a full STEM university. Through this partnership, Reach Cyber high school students will be able to complete related STEM college courses and earn college credits in the process. A state-of-the-art aquaponics system is coming to Harrisburg University in the 2018–2019 school year, the data from which will link to Reach Cyber’s WeatherSTEM system and be available for study only by Reach Cyber and Harrisburg University students.
Reach Cyber students have the unique opportunity to earn a STEM independent study credit (a science elective) toward their high school diploma. This enables a student to explore his or her passion for STEM while solving a unique problem of interest.