Middle School

LSU Pathways for middle school consists of two introductory courses designed to help students gain a wide breadth of knowledge in preparation for choosing their preferred pathway, laying a solid groundwork for any of the four pathways.

The Middle School STEM Pathways Program is pleased to announce we will be piloting new 6th grade courses in summer of 2022. This will allow us to expand the number of quality course offerings at the middle school level that support STEM and PBL in the classrooms.

For more information on our newest pilots, please contact Nicole Foster at nfoster1@lsu.edu or Dr. Frank Neubrander at fneub1@lsu.edu

Introduction to STEM Pathways and Careers

Introduction to STEM Pathways and Careers was developed for the Louisiana Department of Education through a partnership between Louisiana State University and the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, with partial funding from the National Science Foundation. The course is offered to middle school students at the seventh-grade level for high school credit and serves as a universal course elective for the STEM Pathways as well as JUMPSTART and PLTW.

This year long project-based course explores four main pathways of STEM education and possible careers in the fields of 1) Computing and Computer Science, 2) Pre-Engineering, 3) Digital Design and Emergent Media, and 4) Biomedical Sciences. This course is meant to expose students to these overarching concepts:

  • To expand awareness of various careers and occupational pathways related to STEM
  • To stimulate the understanding of higher order thinking processes such as the engineering design process, the scientific method, and computational thinking
  • To develop foundational knowledge and skills in the JumpStart pathways and careers as related to STEM, and utilize the knowledge and skills in their current educational setting.
  • To increase interest in the four core areas of STEM related to this class through project-based activities that are also standards based.

Course Objectives:

  • Identify career opportunities in various STEM fields.
  • Use computing technology for creative expression.
  • Explain the Software Development Process through projects and activities where students design and code.
  • Explain the Engineering Design Process and utilize the process in various engineering projects.
  • Describe the role of visual communication and its cultural implications in society.
  • Use various forms of digital and emergent media to design their own products.
  • Explore and analyze medical scenarios in the areas of forensics, comparative anatomy, ecology studies, biochemistry, microbiology, and bioinformatics.

Survey of Computer Science

This course introduces the basics of computing using fun and engaging activities instead of formally describing the concepts. It follows the framework of Seven Big Ideas adopted in the AP Computer Science Principles course, but it has more emphasis on exploration and experimentation, and less emphasis on problem-solving and formal analysis than a regular CSP course. To prepare students for the rigors of other courses in the Pathway, this course models ways to adopt a productive disposition that fosters creativity and perseverance. In addition, career exploration lessons are threaded throughout the course, with a focus on developing students' interest in computing and identification with the computing professions.

Course Objectives:

  • Demonstrate how to use technology to create computing artifacts.
  • Explain the Big Ideas in Computing.
  • Describe how computers work, and how to use them effectively.
  • Analyze how the Big Ideas in Computing are relevant in daily life.
  • Describe careers related to computing and the requisites for each.
  • Communicate computing ideas using appropriate terminology
  • Collaborate with other students to develop computing artifacts, algorithms or protocols. Assessment

Course Assessment:

Formative assessment includes worksheets and several practice activities for each lesson, and unit quizzes. Summative assessment includes projects and/or tests at the end of each unit.

For an outline of recommended courses in the computing pathway, please see the
Recommended Order of Courses Flyer.

Looking for a grant for supplies for your classroom? Follow the link here for the QSM Grant.