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STEM Academy provides a winning formula

 A student lights a spark in chemistry class Angela Garza helps students work through the experiment

Angelica Garza loves to get her students in the science lab. Her sophomore Honors Chemistry STEM Academy students love it too. Samantha Machado says some of her favorite days are spent interacting with the very formulas and elements they cover in class.  

“Basically, we’re taking the water out of the magnesium oxide so we can then weigh it and find the actual formula,” said Machado. “Personally, I wanted to be part of a more inclusive community, so STEM seemed like a good option, especially since I wanted to be on the technology pathway as well.” 

This specific experiment involved observing a chemical reaction between magnesium and oxygen and taking measurements to calculate what is known as an empirical formula - a chemical formula in which all the elements in the formula are in their smallest possible ratio.

“Performing lab procedures such as this one gives more meaning to the skills they learned how to do on paper because they are gathering data and solving problems based purely on their observations and measurements in the lab,” explained Garza. “Having students participate in more hands-on activities provides a more relevant context for what they learn in class and helps fuel their interest in their respective academic pathways.”

North East ISD offers two STEM Academy programs – one is located at Nimitz Middle School, while the other is housed at Legacy of Educational Excellence (LEE) High School. The middle school program is a direct pipeline to the high school program, where science and math serve as vehicles for discovery, innovation and independent problem-solving.

For many students, and even teachers, STEM Academy is a place for like-minded people to discover their passion and even choose their focus in the fields of science.

“I love teaching at STEM because of the community the students help create,” said Garza. “There is a true sense of camaraderie, and overall, students encourage each other to do the best they can to keep improving as students and as people.” 

Click here to learn more about the STEM Academy and other NEISD magnet programs. The deadline to apply for the 2022-2023 school year is Monday, Feb. 7.

Students weigh a crucible during an experiment Students carefully weigh a hot crucible

Posted by Lila Stanley
Posted on 2-2-22