Achievement House Blog


How to jump start a student’s interest in STEM?

Alane Butler

The first week back to school after a the winter holidays can be tough for students. Instead of jumping right back into academic studies, Achievement House Cyber Charter School staff challenged its students in a completely new way.  The prize at stake? A personal 3D printer.

During the course of the week, students were given the opportunity to complete a number of challenges in the STEM field.  Some of the easier challenges consisted of answering questions after watching a short video and others were more difficult and involved CAD software or writing code. At the end of the week, over 100 students had participated in the challenge in some way, with 11 students earning enough points to take home their own personal 3D printer. 

Shyanne S., of Minersville, PA didn’t consider herself a big fan of computer science or STEM, but she believes in trying everything once. “I suddenly found myself working on challenges for hours each day,” she said.

The lessons for the most part where short and sweet, but students then got to create tangible objects as they progressed. “Learning how to build something in 3D was really cool, and I’m not sure I would get that experience at a regular school.”    

James and Joanna C. from Havertown, PA dove head first into the challenge and took part in enough challenges to win a 3D printer and a Virtual Reality headset. For James, a 9th grade student at AHCCS, learning about computer science comes naturally to him and could one day see himself becoming a professional computer programmer.

Joanna Calabria is only in 7th grade, and spent her week doing more CAD based projects, “I really like art and drawing,  the challenges taught me how to design different objects using the computer,” said the potential future designer or architect. 

From Robinson, PA, 11th grade AHCCS student Jensine W. was able to explore topics and STEM related activities she never thought she would be interested in including coding, creating 3D models, and even graphic design in Photoshop. She was intrigued by learning to code and wants to keep learning how to build on the skills she learned during the challenge week and AHCCS offers full semester courses in many of these topics.

To her, there is a natural connection between cyber school students and STEM education, “Since cyber school students spend so much time on a computer learning how it all works can be a fun way to explore and learn more about your computer and what goes into programs you use every day.”

Achievement House Cyber Charter School strives to provide its students with the tech skills needed to be competitive in the 21st century job market, even if their post secondary plans don’t involve college. The curriculum introduces students to coding as early as 7th grade and encourages them to find their inner entrepreneur, maker or techie during their high school journey. Want to learn more about the unique STEM based curriculum at AHCCS? Check out our full academic course selection here!