NWPHS to expand programming

All students at Northwest Passage High School have been exploring the science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics fields for years.

Northwest Passage High School students participate in a wildlife management class at the Wildlife Science Center.

Northwest Passage High School students participate in a wildlife management class at the Wildlife Science Center.

Starting next fall, however, students who have a passion for inquiry will have the choice to spend the majority of the their high school career in the schools newly developed S.T.E.A.M. Lab, which will focus primarily on environmental sciences and sustainability.

The idea behind S.T.E.A.M. is to integrate the subjects into a project or problem based inquiry methodology more reminiscent of the way professionals in the real world go about their own research. In most traditional schools science, math, art, technology and engineering are taught as separate, independent subjects and students don’t often see the connections that exist within the subjects in their everyday lives. S.T.E.A.M. helps to make learning more relevant and hopefully more fun for students.

The Northwest Passage S.T.E.A.M. lab will provide students with the opportunity to explore a wide variety of topical areas including sustainability and green technologies, water issues, fisheries and wildlife management, in addition to other student generated project ideas. NWPHS is actively partnering with a number of organizations working in the S.T.E.A.M. fields including the Wildlife Science Center, Springbrook Nature Center, Voyageur Outward Bound, Wilderness Inquiry and the University of Minnesota.

According to Peter Wieczorek, director and biology teacher at NWPHS, the ideal student for the S.T.E.A.M. Lab is someone who has an inquisitive mind, likes to be outdoors (at least some of the time), has an interest in technology and wants to be creative.

Northwest Passage High School is a tuition free public charter school located in Coon Rapids serving students in 9-12 grade. NWPHS is a small independent school with a total enrollment of 180 students and maintains a 15:1 student to teacher classroom ratio. NWPHS will be hosting a parent information meeting on March 25 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at 11355 Robinson Dr.

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