ACADEMICS

Students performing a science experiment
Students performing a science experiment

The educational philosophy of Maryland International School (MDIS) is based on our belief that all students, with proper instruction and skill development, can achieve at high levels when held to high standards in a supportive educational environment. At the STEM Academy, we believe that systematic testing leads to improved student performance and that a high quality teaching staff can attain sustainable achievement. Our program is built on these principles, as well as, a partnership between the students, parents/guardian, community, and school staff to create a thriving learning environment.

There is nothing common about MDIS and that is why we do not follow the common core. Our STEM-based curriculum has been developed taking into account the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), technology standards, Disciplinary literacy standards, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and transdisciplinary core content lessons. The curriculum is designed to promote critical thinking, collaboration, and innovation in order to develop the intellectual, emotional and social skills that students will need to live and work in a globalized world. Some of the afterschool programs and clubs that will be offered are Robotics, Science Olympiad, Intel, FIRST Lego league, SCRATCH, Gaming Club, National Forensic League, Math-nastics, and outdoor education club.

IB Program

International Baccalaureate (IB) programs challenge students Grades 1-12 to excel in their studies, and encourage both personal and academic achievement. IB programs aim to do more than other curricula by developing inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are motivated to succeed. Students in the IB program will:

  • Be encouraged to think independently and drive their own learning
  • Take part in programs of education that can lead them to some of the highest ranking universities around the world
  • Become more culturally aware, through the development of a second language
  • Be able to engage with people in an increasingly globalized, rapidly changing world

Lower School

Our Elementary School focuses on content and higher order thinking and the association between different areas of study. Children in the Elementary program benefit from mixed-age classrooms. Our lower elementary students, first through third grade, learn together and develop competencies such as collaboration and communication skills necessary for success in current and future education. Critical thinking and hands-on activities are present during instruction with multiple opportunities to work independently and collaboratively to solve problems.

Our Upper Elementary program includes 4th-5th grade concepts of Biology, Geology and History. Natural sciences lead to the social and physical sciences, while Algebra and Geometry concepts emerge from basic number operations. Students will experience exposure to STEM fields around naturally fitting integrated content.

Upper School

Middle School is focused on academically, organizationally, and emotionally preparing your child to successfully transition to high school, even as they navigate the changes and challenges of early adolescence.

In addition to challenging academics, your child’s middle school years are greatly enriched by abundant learning opportunities in STEM transdisciplinary learning experiences, outreach programs with area universities such as; University of Maryland Baltimore Campus, Howard County Community College, and John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab STEM, overnight field trips and grade level hands-on lessons will all be offered at the middle school level.

At the Middle School level, the integrated curriculum provides a more comprehensive standards-based, structured inquiry-based and real world problem-based learning which interconnects STEM-related subjects and prepares the students for secondary education and a broad range of careers. All lessons taught are derived from the 5E model and the Maryland State 7 STEM Standards of Practice. The Middle School STEM Program focuses on promoting student exploration and family awareness of the broad spectrum of STEM careers through field trips, outreach programs, guest speakers, Family STEM nights, STEM career field job shadowing, clubs and afterschool programs.

Five E Model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate

The 5Es represent five stages of a sequence for teaching and learning:

  1. ENGAGE:The purpose for the ENGAGE stage is to pique student interest and get them personally involved in the lesson, while pre-assessing prior understanding. During this experience, students first encounter and identify the instructional task. During the ENGAGE stage, students make connections between past and present learning experiences, setting the organizational ground work for upcoming activities. NASA eClips™ are designed to ENGAGE students. Through discussions, the videos may be used to uncover students’ prior understanding. The video format arouses students’ curiosity and encourages them to ask their own questions.
  2. EXPLORE: The purpose for the EXPLORE stage is to get students involved in the topic; providing them with a chance to build their own understanding. In the EXPLORATION stage the students have the opportunity to get directly involved with phenomena and materials. As they work together in teams, students build a set of common experiences which prompts sharing and communicating. The teacher acts as a facilitator, providing materials and guiding the students’ focus. The students’ inquiry process drives the instruction during an exploration. Students are actively learning through inquiry-based science instruction and engineering challenges. Emphasis is placed on: Questioning, Data Analysis and Critical Thinking. NASA eClips™ help students EXPLORE new topics on their own. Through self-designed or guided exploration students make hypotheses, test their own predictions, and draw their own conclusions.
  3. EXPLAIN: The purpose for the EXPLAIN stage is to provide students with an opportunity to communicate what they have learned so far and figure out what it means. EXPLAIN is the stage at which learners begin to communicate what they have learned. Language provides motivation for sequencing events into a logical format. Communication occurs between peers, with the facilitator, and through the reflective process. Once students build their own understanding, they may use NASA eClips™ to help summarize or EXPLAIN their own ideas. These segments introduce vocabulary in context and correct or redirect misconceptions.
  4. EXTEND: The purpose for the EXTEND stage is to allow students to use their new knowledge and continue to explore its implications. At this stage students expand on the concepts they have learned, make connections to other related concepts, and apply their understandings to the world around them in new ways. NASA eClips™ segments help students EXTEND and apply what they learned to new and unfamiliar situations.
  5. EVALUATE: The purpose for the EVALUATION stage is for both students and teachers to determine how much learning and understanding has taken place. EVALUATE, the final “E”, is an on-going diagnostic process that allows the teacher to determine if the learner has attained understanding of concepts and knowledge. Evaluation and assessment can occur at all points along the continuum of the instructional process. Some of the tools that assist in this diagnostic process are: rubrics, teacher observation, student interviews, portfolios, project and problem-based learning products. Video segments can be used to determine students’ depth of understanding. Students will be excited to demonstrate their understanding through journals, drawings, models and performance tasks.

The Student Exploration Program is one of the highlights of MDIS Middle School. Each semester, students explore STEM themes or topics in weekly sessions. Students have a chance to study topics like Creative Writing, Global Citizenship, Robotics, Architecture, Philosophy and Art, Animation, Food Science, Nutrition and more. Under the active mentorship of faculty and parent volunteers, student teams select a particular topic, then plan and implement a project around it, concluding each year with an interactive presentation of their group’s topic. Not only do students learn about topics that might lead to eventual career choices, they also develop skills through using technology, collaboration, and creative problem-solving skills.

During High School, we are methodically preparing our high school students to thrive in universities and colleges across every continent, readying them to embrace the unique challenges and boundless opportunities presented by one of the most technologically innovative eras in history.

For students and families who first join MDIS in Elementary, High School marks the final chapter of their story with us. For those new to the MDIS community, it is the beginning of a four-year experience that will forever change how they see and interact with the world around them.

At the High School level, the curriculum provides a challenging and rigorous program of study focusing on the application of STEM subjects. It offers courses and pathways for preparation in STEM fields and occupations, provides in-school and out-of-school learning opportunities, provides opportunities for student exploration of STEM related fields and careers, and prepares students for successful post-secondary employment, education, or both. The High School STEM Program focuses on providing a rigorous, academic experience resulting in students being better prepared and more aware of the requirements of post-secondary coursework. Mentor programs, job shadowing, field experiences, internships, authentic work experiences, dual enrollment in STEM courses are some of the examples of what high school students will experience in their STEM community.

STEM Courses Offered:

  • Engineering
  • Biomedical Science
  • Molecular Chemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Health Science
  • Algebra-based Physics
  • Calculus and Trigonometry
  • Computer Science
  • Coding
  • Graphic and Web Design