Academics

STEM and Innovation

Welcome

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  • Thank you for your interest in the Invent Center for STEM and Innovation!

    At the AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation, our goal is to build enthusiasm and fluency for the practices of science, math, engineering and technology. We inspire all students with authentic, real experiences that apply to their lives. Students at AC investigate, solve, construct, and code. They actively DO science, allowing them to own their excitement and curiosity and carry it with them to the next school day, the next course, the next year.

    Don’t “endure” science... LOVE it!

    The Invent Center for STEM and Innovation is unique because our students don’t “endure” their science or math classes, all slogging through the same task. Instead, our students are each known for their individual potential and interests as they progress through their own scientific journey – whether that is equine therapy or the biomechanics of pointe shoes. Every student will find a lifelong love for STEM, here at AC!

Invent Center Mission

To invent means to produce something for the first time through the use of the imagination and/or ingenious thinking and experimentation.This definition exemplifies the educational opportunities our AC students have through our Invent Center for STEM and Innovation. Whether in the student-designed research projects from our upper school Science, Writing and Research course or through the fierce competition of our lower school robotics team, we encourage our students to develop critical and innovative thinking. Students actively solve authentic problems and overcome challenges every day in our courses and programs.A fundamental part of the science and engineering process is also communicating and sharing what was learned.An integral part of our program at AC is that students share their work, making an impact on their peers and our community, locally and globally.

What We Do

Use the links below to explore the experiences students can look forward to through the Invent Center for STEM and Innovation.

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  • Science, Writing and Research

    Our upper school Science, Writing and Research course is unique to the Rochester area and rarely duplicated nationally. In this course, students learn about the profession of science, the culture of science, and the literature of science. They are then challenged to design and investigate their own research study for an entire school year with a professional mentor. Students then present their work as part of a formal symposium along with undergraduate researchers at a local college – a capstone to a challenging and rigorous project. This course is also unique in that student research is published in our own scientific journal- Research and Discovery, AC’s Journal of Student Inquiry.
  • STEM Engagement Diploma

    Beginning in 8th grade, students can choose to pursue the STEM Engagement Diploma, a unique program that allows students the ability to dive deeper into the pursuit of their interests and studies. Designed to offer students choice, autonomy, and accountability, the requirements for the STEM Engagement Diploma serve as a road map and every experience a student has leads to the next one.

    Upon completion of the diploma program, students will have:
    • a personalized digital portfolio of their work
    • completed a Birches Project or internship
    • conducted research
    • engaged in peer collaboration
    • connected with a mentor
    • built a network outside of AC
    • organized a community event with external AC partners
    • published an article in a public setting
    Students interested in pursuing the STEM Engagement Diploma can apply during their 8th or 9th grade year.
  • Maple Sugaring

    Students who participate in our Maple Sugaring science elective in middle school learn firsthand about the science of maple sugar collection and processing. They research weather patterns and record data until just the right moment, then tap the maple trees on our beautiful and spacious campus. For weeks, they collect the sap, and then take turns staying up for days to boil the sap into syrup – checking density, monitoring color, quality and temperature – for the perfect and most tasty product. All that careful scientific practice is worth it for the taste of maple syrup that they harvested and created!
  • FIRST Robotics

    In our lower school FIRST Robotics program, competition and collaboration are both required for a successful team. Our youngest robot engineers build the machine, with their teammates learning the code required to make the robot solve tasks, and budding program managers and technical writers preparing a presentation pitch for the day of competition. Students clamor to participate – so much so that we have expanded this program to include all of fifth grade and expand to younger grades.

Making an Impact Through Research and Writing

At AC’s Invent Center, students demonstrate resilience and iteration through long term projects that are both independent and team-based. We seek to engage students in the process of presenting and reflecting on their work with external partners, industry leaders, and experts in various content areas.

One of the ways in which we achieve this goal is through the Science, Research, and Writing course, which is unique to the Rochester area and rarely duplicated nationally. In this course, students learn about the profession of science, the culture of science, and the literature of science.They are then challenged to design and investigate their own research study for an entire school year with a professional mentor. Finally, students present their work as part of a formal symposium along with undergraduate researchers at a local college – a capstone to a challenging and rigorous project. Student research is also published in AC’s scientific journal— Research and Discovery,AC’s Journal of Student Inquiry .

Invent Center Courses by Division

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  • Lower School

    STEM is part of all problem based learning units in the LS Curriculum. Highlighted areas include:
    • Biodiversity
    • Climate change
    • Civil engineering
    • Engineering design process and computational thinking
    • Robotics and applied technology
    • Optics
  • Middle School

    • Energy of the earth
    • Microorganisms to Mammals – All Things Living
    • Physical Science
    • FIRST Lego Robotics
    • Computer Science Discoveries
    • Maple Sugaring
    • Innovation and Entrepreneurship with Animals
  • Upper School

    • Biology of the Cell
    • The Physical World
    • Anatomy & Physiology
    • Biology of Human Disease
    • Forensics
    • History of Medicine
    • Biotechnology and Biomechanics
    • Applied Physics and Engineering
    • Science in Literature
    • Environmental Science and Sustainability
    • Local and Global Research
    • Astronomy
    • AP Biology
    • AP Chemistry
    • AP Physics
    • AP Computer Science Principles
    • AP Computer Science A
    • Science Writing & Research
    • Applying Programming Languages
    • Video Game Creation
    • Machine Learning

Center Director

Maya Crosby, Director
AC Invent Center
for STEM and Innovation
mcrosby@allendalecolumbia.org
At Allendale Columbia, we prepare students for the world they will inherit. In our trusting and responsive environment, students in nursery through grade 12 grow in confidence and develop scholastic independence.