What makes us STEM?

Concept schools provide a well-rounded, college-prep education with STEM (science, technology,

engineering, and math) emphasis. From more instructional time in math and science to highly

qualified subject expert teachers, to cross-discipline, project-based learning and hands-on

extracurricular activities, our schools have a STEM culture that encourages curiosity, problem-

solving, and forward thinking so students can enter college and the world equipped with the 21st-

century skills they will need.


 4 credits of Science: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and one elective Science Course

 4 Credits of Math: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus.

 1 Credit of Engineering/Technology: Project Lead the Way (PLTW) or one of the

Computer Courses

Science Instruction

The Concept Schools Science Curriculum (CSSC) is based on the five phases of the 5E

Instructional Model that is designed to facilitate the process of conceptual change.


 Engagement – students’ prior knowledge accessed and interest engaged in the


 Exploration – students participate in an activity that facilitates conceptual change

 Explanation – students generate an explanation of the phenomenon

 Elaboration – students’ understanding of the phenomenon challenged and deepened

through new experiences

 Evaluation – students assess their understanding of the phenomenon

The use of this model brings coherence to different teaching strategies, provides connections

among educational activities, and helps science teachers make decisions about interactions

with students.


21st century skills are also an essential part of the curriculum component through the

incorporation and integration of scientific inquiry as well as science skills and processes.


Our science curriculum is always staying up to date on the most current educational research

and standards, such as the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and incorporates

engineering activities and principles in our K-12 classrooms. Our students’ scientific and

mathematical learning benefits from experiencing hands-on and real-world applications of the subject



Concept schools require more credit hours in Science courses than their respective

states require.

Rigorous Laboratory Curriculum: K-12

The CSSC features a rigorous lab curriculum that focuses on developing students’ knowledge

and understanding of scientific ideas through hands-on lab activities. .


McGraw Hill’s “Science: A Closer Look” Deluxe Kits are commonly used from Kindergarten to 5th

grades with 12 science lab activities required throughout the year.

GRADE 6-8:

Carolina Kits and Glencoe iScience Lab activities are commonly used from grades 6 through 8

with 12 science experiments required throughout the year.

GRADES 9-12:

Digital tools, such as Vernier and Pasco sensors, and Carolina Kits are commonly used in high

school Science classes to enhance the STEM curriculum by integrating technology. These

advanced materials help students to visualize data and build critical-thinking skills.

In each Science course, 12 major lab science experiments are distributed throughout the year.

Science Competitions


Science fairs constitute the great portion of our STEM Education in order to provide

opportunities for the future inventors and innovators to shine.

Grade K-3: All students from K-3rd grades prepare a single science project as a big team

per grade level.

Grade 4-12: Each student from grade 4 through 12 is required to prepare a science

project throughout the year.


Those who qualify at the in-school science fair are invited to participate in regional/state

science fairs.


CONSEF is part of the larger STEMCON annual 3-day conference organized by Concept

Schools. STEMCON features the STEM Conference, a professional conference for educators and

STEM professionals, and CONSEF, a series of STEM competitions and expositions for students.

All students from public, private, charter, or home schools are welcome to attend and compete

in the following CONSEF events:

CONSEF – Project Session 

In the project session, no one is competing against any other participant. Participants will be

awarded according to their scores given by the judges.


CS Stem Exposition is an event designed to encourage students to showcase their science



The ROBOCON is a robotic sumo contest, in which two autonomous robots attempt to push

each other out of a circular arena using mechanisms, cunning, and brute force.


The Design Contest is an art competition. The entries of top ten finalists are displayed during

the days of the event. The winning design is printed on T-Shirts and program booklets.

Each Concept school is required to participate in the CONSEF project session with minimum 10

projects and 2 STEM demonstrations.


Students are encouraged to participate in the Google Science Fair, DuPont challenge, Siemens

Challenge, and international project competitions.

STEM Activities

Because STEM is so important, we encourage our students to understand and embrace the

science, technology, engineering and math that affect them every day of their lives. Students

are advised on the merits of taking as many STEM courses in high school as possible. Engaged

and enthusiastic teachers using STEM activities in their daily instruction teach these courses.

Making science, math, and technology courses fun and interesting help students not only to

learn, but might also plant the “seed of interest” that could grow into an exciting and rewarding

STEM career.


Besides embedding the STEM activities into instruction, STEM clubs like Science EXPO teams,

Math DEMO Teams, and LEGO Robotics teams motivate our students to explore more deeply

the STEM fields.

All Concept schools are required to offer these STEM clubs for grades 5-12.


Besides covering the NGSS engineering standards in the science curriculum, Gateway to

Technology (GTT) and Project Lead to Way (PLTW) classes play a role in creating a pipeline of

students who are excited about being the innovators of tomorrow.

Grade 6-8: GTT is offered as an elective course in our middle schools

Grade 9-12: PLTW courses are offered as an elective course in our high schools


Highly qualified teachers: Highly qualified STEM teachers are chosen from candidates who are

certified in the subject area and grade level they teach.

Workshops: 10 hours of professional development workshop is provided to STEM teachers in

their areas throughout the year.

Conferences: Teachers are encouraged to participate in regional/national conferences on the

STEM areas throughout the year. The schools reimburse their expenses.


STEM education is an integrated approach to learning. Therefore, all four STEM areas (science,

technology, engineering, and math) are integrated into Concept’s core math curriculum.  In our

math classes, problem-based experiences help students develop the basic skills and attitudes

necessary to apply mathematical principles to solutions of real-world problems.

Concept Schools K-12 Mathematics program specifies the student activities associated with

doing mathematics. Two general principles have guided our descriptions:

 Activities should grow out of problem situations.

 Learning occurs through active as well as passive involvement with mathematics.

We believe that learning should not be conceived of as a process in which students passively

absorb information, storing it in easily retrievable pieces as a result of repeated practice and


Math teachers are encouraged to use math online resources, technology, Math iPad,

smartphone applications and to facilitate and differentiate instruction to address the learning

styles of all students. The K-12 Math program builds upon students’ interests in real-life issues

and the world around them. This is accomplished and supported through indoor/outdoor

classrooms, STEM-related classroom math projects, math clubs, math competitions (MathCON,

Mathcounts, Math League, and STEMCON math demonstrations), and other opportunities that

make math learning engaging and relevant for students.

Because technology is changing mathematics and its uses, Concept Schools Mathematics

Department believes that

 Appropriate calculators should be available to all students at all times;

 A computer, a projector and Smart board/Starboard should be available in every

classroom for demonstration purposes;

 Every student should have access to a computer for individual and group work;

 Students should learn to use the computer as a tool for processing information and

performing calculations to investigate and solve problems.


Concept schools offer 10 credit hours of Math each year in grades K-8, which is double the

amount of Math credits that most schools offer in those grades. Our goal is to build a solid

foundation in Math understanding and skills so students are prepared to take higher-level math

courses in high school and college.

Schools in our network actively seek family and community involvement through events such as

National Pi Day and Math Family Nights, Showcase Nights.


Math is one subject that is a constant in any student’s life and MathCON, organized by Concept

Schools, annual nationwide MathCON competition is taking the time to embrace it. With 340

schools in 42 different states and 40,000 students registered this core curriculum based math

test has proved to be a hit! Students from all over the United States competes by taking a 40

minute, 40 question long online test in an attempt to be one of the finalists to come to Chicago

for the MathCON Championship.

The fun doesn’t stop there – students also participates in a Math based MathCON Photo

Contest, taking photos of things around them that represent or relate to the world of Math.

Check out our both competitions at MathCON.

Educational Technology

The mission of our Educational Technologies Department is to enhance classroom learning with

the effective use of technology.

Concept classrooms have Mobile laptop, iPad and Chromebook sets and interactive boards to

aid teachers in their instruction and students in their learning. We offer teachers the proper

professional development training so they know how to effectively utilize the tools in their


Teachers who recognize computers as problem-solving tools change the way they teach. They

move from a behavioral approach to a more constructivist approach. Technology and

interactive multimedia are more conducive to project-based learning. Students are engaged in

their learning using these powerful tools. Therefore our teachers use technology to enhance

teaching with an interdisciplinary, project-based learning curriculum.

Concept schools have various approach methods for different age groups. For K-8, our focus is

addressing technology literacy. Students are introduced to basic computer operations, digital

citizenship and ethics, document processing, Internet usage, multimedia, presentation, and

computer programming.

High school students have specialized technology electives addressing the need of today’s

market. Microsoft Office Certification classes, web page design, multimedia/animation,

computer programming, and robotics are some of the electives offered.

Besides the regular technology classes; Concept schools have implemented Project Lead the

Way programs for both middle and high schools. Aligned with the PLTW curriculum high school

students are offered Introduction to Engineering and Principles of Engineering courses, whereas

Design and Modeling, Automation and Robotics, Magic of Electrons, and Green Architecture

classes are offered to middle school students.

All four STEM subjects are combined in our afterschool Robotics Club programs. Concept

schools offer robotics clubs where students learn, create, practice and compete in state and

nationwide robotics competitions, such as First Lego League, First Tech Challenge, VEX and