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STEM X

THE PHILOSOPHY

Our STEM X department introduces students to interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving that leverage Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (“STEM”) to solve for X by tackling the unknown variable in a situation, or “X.” Ultimately, the goal is to help students develop their capacity to discover interesting problems, experiment with novel creative solutions, document their work and share their findings. In a STEM X course or activity, students are encouraged to adopt an innovator’s mindset when they problem solve, whether it’s designing software, building a 3D printed prototype or pitching their ideas like entrepreneurs. By challenging students to explore the unknown, we aim to ignite student creativity. In the words of astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, speaking about space exploration, “Once the impossible becomes possible, that opens up the floodgates of human imagination.” 
  • AT Mathematics: Investment Math

    Prerequisite: Precalculus
    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. The class will analyze data and fit the data with regression curves as well as employ probability to develop tools to determine investment buy and sell decisions. 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. Building upon the technical analysis done in the fall term, this class will explore the power of TradeStation’s software. 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. In the spring, we will develop hypotheses about what drives the markets. We will use our ability to code to write an algorithmic trading program that tries to capture gains from these observations. We will backtest our programs and evaluate their performance. We will use filters to try to improve performance, and we will continue to improve our programming skills. We will incubate these algorithms and see how they perform on real time data. We will then learn about how to manage a portfolio through the application of many different non-correlated algorithms. This course is cross-listed in Math/STEM.
  • STEM X: Airfoils and Wind Turbines

    (F)
    Open to: Grades 9-12
    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 tackle the challenge using supplied materials (foams, balsa wood, 3D printer), and invent other processes as their interests and skills direct (clay, laminates).
  • STEM X: Gliders

    (W)
    Open to: Grades 9-12
    In this term, students build on their work in the previous term by constructing gliders. Their challenge is, given a basic set of materials, to design a fuselage and wing conformation that will maximize the distance their glider will travel. The test bed is a gravity-powered launcher which allows students to experiment launch angle as an additional controlled variable. The final product is a report including what techniques worked, which avenues were yet unexplored, and which goals were selected.
  • STEM X: Laminate Process and Application in Wind Energy

    (S)
    Open to: Grades 9-12
    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 much larger cross sections. The brief is three-fold: Design and build a male mold for laying-up a fiberglass 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. Collaborative teams will be four to six students.  In the process, we will learn about 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 versus wind speed.
  • Computer Science Lab Section 1

    CS Lab Section 1: Introduction to Web Development (F, W, S)
    Open to: Grades 9-12
    In this section of the CS Lab STEM X course, students learn how to create and stylize web pages using HTML and CSS. Students also have the opportunity to create interactive web applications using Javascript. This course is taught in a hands-on, laboratory format. Students begin the term by building small example web pages. Students then progress to designing and building their own custom website or application. The goal of this class is for the students to learn in a fun, non-intimidating way through self-paced, student-driven projects. If you’ve ever wanted to build your own beautifully stylized website, then this course is for you!
  • Computer Science Lab Section 2

    CS Lab Section 2: Programming with the Arduino (F, W, S)
    Open to: Grades 9-12
    In this section of the CS Lab STEM X course, students learn how to build electronic circuits and control them using the popular Arduino microcontroller. Students learn about electricity and how to build useful systems that use sensors, motors, LEDs, buzzers, and touchscreens. Students also learn basic programming concepts and learn how to control electromechanical systems using an Arduino controller. This course is taught in a hands-on, laboratory format. Students begin the term by building example circuits and systems. Students then progress to designing and building their own custom invention. The goal of this class is for the students to learn in a fun, non-intimidating way through self-paced, student-driven projects. If you’ve ever wanted to create the next must-have electronic gadget, then this course is for you!
  • Computer Science Lab Section 3

    CS Lab Section 3: Mobile App Development (F, W, S)
    Open to: Grades 9-12
    In this section of the CS Lab STEM X course, students learn to write mobile applications using the MIT App Inventor programming tool. Students learn basic programming concepts while they create fun, multimedia games and applications for an Android tablet or mobile phone. Students learn about event driven programming, and they get practical experience in app design and development. This course is taught in a hands-on, laboratory format. Students begin the term by building instructive, example Android applications. Students then progress to designing and building their own custom application. If you’ve ever wanted to write the next viral app, then this course is for you!
  • STEM X: Legacy and Independent Projects

    (Year long)
    Open to: Grades 9-12
    Projects offer the opportunity for strong, highly motivated students to design and undertake their own interdisciplinary projects under the guidance of Mr. Pankratz, or participate in one of several legacy endeavors. 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. Interested students should see Mr. Pankratz for more information.
  • Software Design with Java

    (year long)
    Open to: 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. A laptop running Windows, Linux, or MacOS is required.
  • AT Computer Science: Software Design with Java

    (year long)
    Open to: Grades 11 & 12
    Prerequisites: Permission from the teacher
    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. This course will require meeting times in addition to the regularly scheduled blocks. A laptop running Windows, Linux, or MacOS is required.
  • Computer Science Practice and Principles

    Required for: 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.

Faculty

  • Photo of Steven Pankratz
    Steven Pankratz
  • Photo of Mia Ek
    Mia Ek
    Technology Integrationist
  • Photo of Thomas Eng
    Thomas Eng
    Bio
  • Photo of Steve Young
    Steve Young
    Bio

The Derryfield School

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