What is STEM?

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Do any of your students spend hours outside with a telescope on breezy nights, excitedly locating and pointing out constellations? Or devote a few hours every night to teaching themselves how to code, hoping to create their own website or app one day?

If so, they may have an interest and potential career path in STEM.

According to Live Science, STEM is a “curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.” While students can take separate classes in each of these four subjects, STEM education can also take an interdisciplinary approach and integrate all subjects to make it a cohesive learning experience.

Why is it so important?

Not only do students learn a handful of important skills in STEM courses, such as problem solving and critical thinking, but these jobs are also in high demand—and only becoming increasingly more important.

Last year, it was projected that 2.4 million STEM jobs would go unfulfilled. Meanwhile, from now until 2027, STEM jobs are expected to grow 13%. And if you’re wondering what jobs fall under the STEM umbrella, and how important they are, here are some examples:

  • Software Engineer
  • Pharmacy Technician 
  • Green Power Creator
  • Web Developer
  • Environmental Engineer

These jobs are crucial to sustaining and improving society as a whole, whether it’s finding ways to distribute information or discovering solutions to environmental issues.

How is STEM implemented in curriculum?

With the knowledge that STEM is significant to our success as a society, how do we make sure students are prepared to pursue a major and potential career in one of the many related fields? And more than that, how do we cultivate an interest in these subjects?

The first step is to make sure STEM is being integrated into your curriculum across the board. Chances are you offer science and math courses independently, but you can introduce key concepts and skills from STEM into classes you already have or partner with a virtual high school to provide more classes and expand your students’ opportunities.

But that’s not enough. The second and equally important step is to engage students. These subjects are not easy and there has been a declining interest in STEM over the last few years, making it harder to steer students in the direction of possibly pursuing a career in a related field. 

Schools like ASU Prep Digital use technology to keep students engaged and excited to learn, whether it’s launching a crew on a mission to Mars in their BioBeyond course, or taking virtual field trips. Giving students more virtual or hands-on activities enhances the learning experience and shows them how the concepts they’re mastering apply to real-world situations and careers.

STEM education is a vital part of every student’s education and introducing it in high school courses is a great way to pique their interest and encourage them to pursue it in future courses in college, and beyond.


Interested in learning more about how ASU Prep Digital incorporates STEM into their curriculum? Check out the career pathways students can explore within the STEM field and which courses are recommended for each major.


Introductory Chemistry at ASU Prep Digital

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Have you ever wondered how forensic scientists test substances collected at crime scenes? Or how oil spills occur? If you’re naturally curious and always searching for answers to some of life’s biggest scientific questions, our chemistry course is for you!

Introductory Chemistry, an ASU Prep Digital course powered by Smart Sparrow, teaches the fundamentals of chemistry by engaging you through scientific thinking and problem-solving.

This course, like BioBeyond, pushes the boundaries of what online science classes can be while keeping students entertained and engaged all semester long.

Through 24 real-life case studies, nine guided reading lessons, eight virtual lab experiments, and four PhET mini-simulations, you will learn a year’s worth of high school chemistry and the concepts and theories applied to fields such as environmental science, medicine, and forensics.

For students interested in these fields, this course is one of the first steps toward making those dreams a reality.

“I’m quite interested in the medical field, so it’s exciting that I get to learn about how chemistry contributes to medicine and how we use it to treat patients!” Olivia Fish, an ASU Prep Digital student currently taking the course, said.

The course uses adaptive technologies to personalize your learning pathway and provide immediate feedback and real-time guidance. And since we’re in the business of making sure your classes are informative and fun, you’ll earn points throughout the course as you master new concepts. Completing virtual labs and reports, challenges, quizzes, and tests will contribute to your overall score.

When exploring each case study, you’ll take on a role in a team of scientists trying to solve a problem. But don’t worry—we won’t leave you to fend for yourself! As you go through the lesson, you’ll learn all of the necessary concepts needed to crack the case.

Get ready to master concepts such as logarithms, nuclear chemistry, and chemical reactions so you can help test the safety of water sources, detect cancerous cells in the body, and uncover the source of unexplainable diseases.

“My favorite part of the course so far has been the real-life case studies,” Fish said. “I love the scenarios where we’re given patients we need to treat because we learn how to treat them with different medicines!”

This course is designed to engage and entertain you while you discover the many ways scientists use chemistry every day. And for those with a career pathway in mind, such as education, engineering, communication, or science, this can be the first step toward fulfilling grade 9 requirements and preparing for a future college major.

“I would definitely recommend this course to others, especially those who want to go into a science-related field after college!” Fish said. “While some topics might be a little hard to understand or not click at first, don’t give up or force yourself to get it finished. Reach out to your teacher and ask for help so you understand the topic fully.”

Ready to take the course? Check out our course catalog or schedule a call with an admissions advisor to get started.

Looking to add another class to your schedule or start preparing for next semester? Check out a few of our blog posts for inspiration:

Course Review: BioBeyond

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If we told you that you could take a trip to Mars or journey into a cell, would you believe us? You should, because it’s all possible through an innovative course called BioBeyond.

BioBeyond is an introductory biology course offered through ASU and ASU Online as part of their BIO 100 – The Living World class.  And the best part is that full-time ASU Prep Digital students are eligible to take the course for free, allowing them to earn both high school and college credit simultaneously.

BioBeyond is the first online course of its kind, providing ‘education through exploration.’

The course strives to be unique to every student through adaptive, personalized learning. The learning pathway is designed to cater to each student’s individual learning pace and style, providing feedback and real-time guidance as they go through each unit.

You’ll start the course with a unit called “Biology Bootcamp” where you will be introduced to BioBeyond and the different scientific terms and practices you’ll need to be successful throughout the class.

You’ll quickly learn that you will not be taking exams or quizzes in this course. Simply put by the creators of BioBeyond, “you don’t like to take them, and we don’t like to grade them.” Instead, the course is designed like a game where you earn points as you learn new concepts. Who doesn’t love racking up points?

In order to ‘win’ points, you’ll be answering questions and interacting with simulations to demonstrate how much you’ve learned. There are four types of screens you’ll encounter during your lessons in which you will be able to earn points: Instructional, Simulation, Summative, and Formative. The point levels will vary based on how far along in the lesson you are and how much information you should’ve learned.



Once you learn about the structure of the course and the tools/skills you’ll need to be successful, you’ll be ready to journey forward with your lessons. You’ll learn everything from what organisms call the Galapagos home to how food is broken down into energy in the cell.

Along the way, you’ll be able to take virtual field trips during some of your lessons. And, as promised, you’ll have the opportunity to launch your crew on a mission to Mars!

BioBeyond keeps students engaged and having fun while ensuring they get through all of the course material they’d learn in a standard first-year biology course. And for those with a career pathway in mind, such as science, education, business, humanities, or communication, this can be the first step toward fulfilling grade 9 requirements—and discovering your love of all things science.

Interested in taking the course? Check out this introductory video and get started today.

ASU Prep Students Debunk Common Moon Misconceptions

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This past summer, ASU Preparatory Academy was selected by NASA eClips and the ASU Center for Education Through eXploration (ETX Center) to debunk common moon misconceptions. Six ASU Prep students were assembled and divided into two teams to complete the project.

The project allowed students to meet up both in person and virtually, giving them the opportunity to collaborate on campus and utilize ASU resources.

One team was tasked with disproving the common misconception that the moon does not rotate, resulting in us always seeing the same side:

The other team was tasked with the common misconception that the phases of the moon are caused by shadows cast on its surface by other objects in the solar system:

Using scientific knowledge, the two groups made videos to teach the correct science and ultimately debunk the misconceptions. Over the course of the project, students learned how to create a narrative, develop a storyboard, film segments, do voice-overs, and create descriptions of their scenes. The descriptions were coded and fed into SkySkan, a program that brings images to life and animates the provided descriptions.

With any project, there are bound to be obstacles to overcome.

“For a lot of the time the video was in production, the entire team was spread all over the country and editing together was a little difficult without in-person talks,” Max Gao, ASU Prep Digital senior, said.

But our students have the ability to persevere and make the best out of any situation.

“Despite all of those setbacks, we had a ton of support from mentors and great team members that really carried the project through to its awesome state,” Gao said.

And for one student, the experience was more than just a fun project.

“My greatest wish is that the project never ended,” Aza Tyszkowski, ASU Prep Digital sophomore, said. “If nothing else, it solidified my love of science and science communication!”