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STEM X

THE PHILOSOPHY

Our STEM X department offers courses with a strong project-based component that help students grow their capacity to be confident and creative problem solvers in a fast-paced world where the rapid evolution of technology presents an astounding range of challenges and opportunities. STEM X draws inspiration from problem solving methods at innovative organizations around the world, ranging from Google X to MIT. The courses are interdisciplinary in their application of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (“STEM”) and STEM X students learn how to tackle the unknown variable in a situation, or “X,” by discovering interesting problems, experimenting with novel creative solutions, documenting their work and sharing their findings.

Participants in the program immerse themselves in projects that range broadly from developing and prototyping products using physical and digital technologies to coding in a world marked by the transformative impact of Artificial Intelligence. Students work both individually and as part of teams to develop the research skills, analytical rigor, creative thinking and entrepreneurial attitudes needed to investigate and tackle real world problems in original ways.
 
 
  • STEM: Research and Design for X

    (F, W, S)
    (Grades 9-12)
    Research and Design for X, or RED X, offers the opportunity for strong, highly motivated students to design and undertake their own interdisciplinary projects under the guidance of Mr. Pankratz. Selected students will work independently on their projects and regularly exchange ideas, resources and updates. Students will walk through the design process for their project: brainstorm, proposal, research summary, detailed plan, and regular progress reports. If a student is accepted to the course, RED X may be taken for one or more terms (starting in Fall, Winter or Spring), depending on the project. Due to space limitations, sign-up for RED X does not guarantee enrollment. Interested students should see Mr. Pankratz for more information.
  • AT STEM: Research and Design for X

    (F, W)
    (Grades 10-12)
    Research and Design for X - Competition Track, or RED X - Compete, offers the opportunity for strong, highly motivated students to compete in an academic competition such as the New Hampshire Science and Engineering Expo under the guidance of Mr. Pankratz. Selected students will work independently on their competition projects and meet regularly in class to exchange ideas, resources and updates. Students will walk through the design process for their project: brainstorm, proposal, research summary, detailed plan, and regular progress reports. Additionally,  projects must match the submission requirements of the New Hampshire Science and Engineering Expo, or similar competition. If a student is accepted to the course, RED X - Compete must be taken for two terms (Fall, Winter). Due to space limitations, sign-up for RED X - Compete does not guarantee enrollment. Interested students should see Mr. Pankratz for more information.
  • AT STEM: Research and Design for X - Competition Track

    (year long) (Grades 10-12)
    Research and Design for X - Competition Track, or RED X - Compete, offers the opportunity for strong, highly motivated students to compete in an academic competition such as the New Hampshire Science and Engineering Expo under the guidance of Mr. Pankratz. Selected students will work independently on their competition projects and meet regularly in class to exchange ideas, resources and updates. Students will walk through the design process for their project: brainstorm, proposal, research summary, detailed plan, and regular progress reports. Additionally, projects must match the submission requirements of the New Hampshire Science and Engineering Expo, or similar competition.
    Due to space limitations, sign-up for RED X - Compete does not guarantee enrollment. Interested students should see Mr. Pankratz for more information.
  • Computer Science Lab I

    (F, W, S)
    The Introduction to Computer Science course is intended for any student, regardless of prior experience. This course aims to introduce students to a wide range of topics relating to computer science by providing a workshop environment where students complete interest driven projects. Students are guided through two different technology strands with real world connections. The first strand consists of an online coding platform called freeCodeCamp that is used by programmers to earn computer programming certificates as a qualification for software engineering jobs. Students work with the building blocks of the internet, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The second strand centers on Arduino microcontrollers used by industrial engineers and designers as a tool to prototype new products. As the year progresses, experienced students have the opportunity to mentor new students entering at the first level. Opportunities will also be presented for students to engage in hack-a-thons, field trips, and other outreach events.
  • Computer Science Lab II

    (F, W, S)
    The Introduction to Computer Science course is intended for any student, regardless of prior experience. This course aims to introduce students to a wide range of topics relating to computer science by providing a workshop environment where students complete interest driven projects. Students are guided through two different technology strands with real world connections. The first strand consists of an online coding platform called freeCodeCamp that is used by programmers to earn computer programming certificates as a qualification for software engineering jobs. Students work with the building blocks of the internet, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The second strand centers on Arduino microcontrollers used by industrial engineers and designers as a tool to prototype new products. As the year progresses, experienced students have the opportunity to mentor new students entering at the first level. Opportunities will also be presented for students to engage in hack-a-thons, field trips, and other outreach events.
  • Computer Science Lab III

    (F, W, S)
    The Introduction to Computer Science course is intended for any student, regardless of prior experience. This course aims to introduce students to a wide range of topics relating to computer science by providing a workshop environment where students complete interest driven projects. Students are guided through two different technology strands with real world connections. The first strand consists of an online coding platform called freeCodeCamp that is used by programmers to earn computer programming certificates as a qualification for software engineering jobs. Students work with the building blocks of the internet, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The second strand centers on Arduino microcontrollers used by industrial engineers and designers as a tool to prototype new products. As the year progresses, experienced students have the opportunity to mentor new students entering at the first level. Opportunities will also be presented for students to engage in hack-a-thons, field trips, and other outreach events.
  • AT Mathematics: Investment Math

    This seminar style course will begin with an exploration of the broader capital markets and an examination of the fundamental principles of investing (time value of money, efficient market hypothesis, risk vs. return, supply/demand dynamics, market cycles, etc.). The focus will then shift to the technical analysis of single security price data as an ideal application of precalculus and other mathematics. Students will be responsible for analyzing a specific stock over the course of the term using the tools developed in the class. Throughout the course, there will be an emphasis on relating current events to the financial markets. The class will explore the power of TradeStation’s software (see hardware requirements below). We will learn about some of the many different functionalities that TradeStation offers, and we will apply these functionalities to different price series. We will begin to develop our first strategy by optimizing parameters of basic analysis techniques learned in the fall. We will apply an advanced statistical Walk Forward Analysis to review our results. Then we will learn how to code using EasyLanguage. We will then develop hypotheses about what drives the markets and use our ability to code to write algorithmic trading programs that try to capture gains from these observations. We will backtest our programs and evaluate their performance. We will then learn about how to manage a portfolio through the application of many different non-correlated algorithms.
    *Prerequisite: Precalculus
    This course is cross-listed with the Math and STEM X Departments
    Required: Windows Based computer or Apple computer with Bootcamp and Windows installed. Chromebook or Tablet/iPad are not acceptable.
  • Computer Science Practice and Principles

    (Grade 10)
    This exposure course is designed to give all sophomores an introduction to the principles of computer programming and the impact that computational technologies have on modern society. We will work in the Python programming language and learn basic control structures, object manipulation, and get introduced to data structures. We will also consider other topics such as cryptography and security, big data, digital humanism, virtual/alternate reality and artificial intelligence. Students will be able to transfer and apply the knowledge from this course to make better informed decisions about how to leverage technology using interdisciplinary approaches. Computer Science Practice and Principles also serves as a gateway to future coding and STEM courses.
    *This course is graded Pass/Fail.

  • Software Design with Java

    (year) (Grades 9-12)
    This course offers an extensive introduction to computer programming and software design using the Java programming language. There are no prerequisites for this course, but some understanding of basic programming structures, such as the coding topics learned in Computer Science Practice and Principles, or the Computer Science Lab courses, would be helpful. This course begins with the basic syntax of Java, including variables and types, simple commands, program flow and decision statements, and iterative looping structures. We then proceed to arrays and array lists, interfaces and polymorphism, inheritance hierarchies, recursion, analysis of algorithms, sorting and searching. While we learn the particulars of Java, we focus on more broad-based language and design concepts that apply to different higher languages.
    *Teacher approval and a laptop running Windows, Linux, or MacOS is required.


  • AT Computer Science: Software Design with Java

    (year) (Grades 11-12)
    Embedded in Introduction to Software Design with Java, this course allows students with a stronger background in computer science to learn the Java programming language. The AT students in the class will also work independently on an exploration of Theoretical Computer Science, using the textbook Introduction to the Theory of Computation by Michael Sipser. This is a high-level and mathematically challenging exploration of automata, regular expressions, context-free grammars, Turing machines, the halting problem, and the P=NP problem. No specific prior knowledge is required and the required mathematical techniques will be introduced, but some programming experience and mathematical maturity are highly desired. Students who have previously taken the non-AT version of this class will focus more on the Theoretical Computer Science topic.
    *Teacher approval and a laptop running Windows, Linux, or MacOS is required.


  • STEM: Airfoils and Wind Turbines

    (F)
    (Grades 9-12)
    These interdisciplinary courses immerse students in design thinking and project based learning experiences that allow them to explore their interests as they relate to the various strands of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Students learn how to envision, plan, and execute engineering projects informed by outside research and using techniques and data produced in class. Each trimester course will give students ample opportunities to learn through doing – manipulating foam and balsa wood to test airfoils in our wind tunnel (Fall), constructing basic measurement devices (thermometer, pressure gauge, and piston) for physical chemistry (Winter), and scaling up the wind turbine project from the fall to test outdoors (Spring). Individual projects will include building models, disassembling and reconstructing professional-grade exemplars, and matching each exploration to appropriate testing apparatuses. Group projects will allow students to specialize in an area of study that they wish to develop, allowing more complex designs to be executed.

    In this term, students are given two briefs: Optimize lift at low wind speeds, and build a wind turbine which maximizes power in this regime. The test bed is our wind tunnel, which is itself the focus of projects in other STEM courses. Students are allowed to address the brief using supplied materials (foams, balsa wood, 3D printer), but are free to envision other processes if their interests and skills permit (clay, laminates).
  • STEM: Laminate Process and Application in Wind Energy

    (S)
    (Grades 9-12)
    These interdisciplinary courses immerse students in design thinking and project based learning experiences that allow them to explore their interests as they relate to the various strands of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Students learn how to envision, plan, and execute engineering projects informed by outside research and using techniques and data produced in class. Each trimester course will give students ample opportunities to learn through doing – manipulating foam and balsa wood to test airfoils in our wind tunnel (Fall), constructing basic measurement devices (thermometer, pressure gauge, and piston) for physical chemistry (Winter), and scaling up the wind turbine project from the fall to test outdoors (Spring). Individual projects will include building models, disassembling and reconstructing professional-grade exemplars, and matching each exploration to appropriate testing apparatuses. Group projects will allow students to specialize in an area of study that they wish to develop, allowing more complex designs to be executed.

    In this term, students will draw on what they learned in the first term to scale up a wind turbine from 12 inch cross sections to one meter cross sections. The brief is three-fold: Design and build a male mold for laying-up a fibreglass wind turbine blade; lay-up and build that fiberglass wind turbine; deploy that turbine in the real world and measure its performance at low wind speed. Groups will be four to six students; the amount of handwork to be done necessitates collaboration. Skills to be assessed are 3D planning, the art of fiberglass, integration of static and dynamic elements through power transmission (ball bearings), and, finally, how to measure and quantify power output vs. wind speed.
  • STEM: Metrology

    (W)
    (Grades 9-12)
    These interdisciplinary courses immerse students in design thinking and project based learning experiences that allow them to explore their interests as they relate to the various strands of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Students learn how to envision, plan, and execute engineering projects informed by outside research and using techniques and data produced in class. Each trimester course will give students ample opportunities to learn through doing – manipulating foam and balsa wood to test airfoils in our wind tunnel (Fall), constructing basic measurement devices (thermometer, pressure gauge, and piston) for physical chemistry (Winter), and scaling up the wind turbine project from the fall to test outdoors (Spring). Individual projects will include building models, disassembling and reconstructing professional-grade exemplars, and matching each exploration to appropriate testing apparatuses. Group projects will allow students to specialize in an area of study that they wish to develop, allowing more complex designs to be executed.

    In this term, students are given three briefs: Design and build an analog thermometer, design and build a compact analog pressure gauge, and design and build a gas-tight piston. The piston is the test bed. These three devices together are the foundation of physical chemistry, and can be used in concert to confirm the Ideal Gas Law. Students collaborate to generate a procedure to build and calibrate each device, and submit material lists as a class. The final product for each project is a final report including what techniques worked, which avenues were left unexplored, and which reach goals were met (or discarded).
  • STEM: Renewable Design

    These upper school interdisciplinary courses immerse students in design thinking and project based learning experiences that allow them to explore their interests as they relate to the various strands of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Each trimester course will give students ample opportunities to learn through doing – foam and fiberglass airfoil design (Fall), investigating and building components of a working steam engine (Winter), and how to construct with green consideration in mind (Spring). Individual projects will include building models, disassembling and reconstructing professional-grade exemplars, and matching each exploration to appropriate testing apparatuses. Group projects will allow students to specialize in an area of study that they wish to develop, allowing more complex designs to be executed.
  • STEM: Steam Technology

    These upper school interdisciplinary courses immerse students in design thinking and project based learning experiences that allow them to explore their interests as they relate to the various strands of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Each trimester course will give students ample opportunities to learn through doing – foam and fiberglass airfoil design (Fall), investigating and building components of a working steam engine (Winter), and how to construct with green consideration in mind (Spring). Individual projects will include building models, disassembling and reconstructing professional-grade exemplars, and matching each exploration to appropriate testing apparatuses. Group projects will allow students to specialize in an area of study that they wish to develop, allowing more complex designs to be executed.
  • STEM: Wind and Energy

    These upper school interdisciplinary courses immerse students in design thinking and project based learning experiences that allow them to explore their interests as they relate to the various strands of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Each trimester course will give students ample opportunities to learn through doing – foam and fiberglass airfoil design (Fall), investigating and building components of a working steam engine (Winter), and how to construct with green consideration in mind (Spring). Individual projects will include building models, disassembling and reconstructing professional-grade exemplars, and matching each exploration to appropriate testing apparatuses. Group projects will allow students to specialize in an area of study that they wish to develop, allowing more complex designs to be executed.

Faculty

  • Photo of Steven Pankratz
    Steven Pankratz
  • Photo of Mia Ek
    Mia Ek
    Technology Integrationist
  • Photo of Peter Talpey
    Peter Talpey
    Math Faculty Member
    Bio
  • Photo of Benjamin Wickett
    Benjamin Wickett
  • Photo of Steve Young
    Steve Young
    Bio

The Derryfield School

2108 River Road, Manchester, NH 03104     p: 603.669.4524     f: 603.625.9715