The Freitas family, which includes kindergartner Caroline, fourth- grader Jack, Mark and Mary, cut the ribbon to Rosarian Academy’s new Freitas STEM Innovation Center at a dedication held Nov. 2.

Rosarian Academy showcases STEM lab

WEST PALM BEACH | Rosarian Academy, the only independent Catholic school in Palm Beach County, opened the Freitas STEM Innovation Center at the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

This hands-on learning environment educates students in four specific disciplines, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics, using an interdisciplinary and applied approach to learning in an 8:1 student-faculty ratio environment. Parents and family of Rosarian students viewed the equipment during a visitation Nov. 1, and donors to the STEM lab were honored at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 2.

Groups of fifth- through eighth-graders led visitors through the different stations of the lab. One demonstration revolved around solving a puzzle about a rocket using the scientific method, which exhibited science and engineering knowledge, and team-building skills.

Items in the lab include video green-screen wall, 3-D printer, laser cutter, EV3 kits, and Beebots. The video green-screen wall allows students to discuss, evaluate and reflect on their learning using their imagination and digital skills to create news reports, explain history, analyze sports, create animation and offer weather forecasts. The 3-D printers allow students to create various models, such as cross-sections of the organs, chemistry molecules, prototypes of personal creations and recreations of historical artifacts, and the laser cutters offer precision for the creations. The EV3 kits provide resources to design, build and program a creation while developing essential skills such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills.

Beebots are small robots used with younger children. The robots remember more than 50 commands that allow them to move around the floor. The exercises develop students’ understanding of sequencing, computational thinking and mathematical concepts of coordinates, distance and location.

Rosarian became the first Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway partner in Florida. Carnegie was designed to assist schools in adopting best practices in STEM education as well as the tools to assess the current STEM programming. Through the generosity of Mary and Mark Freitas, William and Jean Koeppel, and Estelle Curran, as well as the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Rosarian was able to acquire the new, state-of-the-art equipment to engage the students. Thanks to Curran’s generous donation, Carnegie held teacher professional development sessions over the summer.

Rosarian is located on Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach and is sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters.