Welcome to Independence Elementary STEM School
Independence Elementary is Big Lake Schools' STEM School that is home to third, fourth and fifth graders. The school opened its doors as a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) School in September 2019, and every year continues to make learning more engaged through STEM-driven curriculum.
3-5 Academics & Beyond
Our teachers effectively deliver Minnesota's grade level academic standards to our students through the use of hands-on projects and activities that heavily engage students. This engagement level is the core of STEM Education, which Independence is all about. Students will find STEM principles embedded in their teachers' everyday lesson plans. In addition to core subjects, students rotate each trimester between STEM-focused classes (Launch, Engineering, and Innovative Design). Students also attend music and physical education classes on alternating days.
What would make you most interested in becoming a robotics engineer? Reading about robots in a book or actually building one? The hands-on experience of designing, building and testing a robot would more than likely spark an interest in the career. This is essentially the theory behind STEM Education. It is an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning that emphasizes the engineering design process, applying learning to real-life situations through hands-on projects and activities that engage students.
Immersing students in STEM early is key to creating critical and creative thinkers, collaborative problem-solvers, and innovative communicators who are prepared for success in higher education and a highly competitive global workforce. Introducing students to STEM early is also important in order to spark an interest in STEM fields and help fill the growing demand for STEM workers.
The importance of citizenship, community and relationships is woven throughout our curriculum. A key component to this is the school’s Community Connection program where each classroom is paired with a local organization. Students and employees/members of the organization meet multiple times during the year for collaborative activities. Additionally, we hold several community-invited events throughout the school year.
Safe and Welcoming
Students follow the district’s behavior philosophy, the Hornet Way. This behavior model focuses on 5 traits: respect, honesty, kindness, responsibility, and fairness. Independence is a safe, welcoming, and caring community because all community members exhibit these positive behavior traits.
Building Foundations in STEM
Independence Elementary STEM was recognized by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) for its successful work in implementing the framework of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) during the 2022-23 school year.
Independence Elementary STEM presented with STEM School of Excellence honor at National ITEEA Conference
Representatives from Independence Elementary STEM in Big Lake recently attended the (ITEEA) International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) national conference, where they were presented with the ITEEA STEM School of Excellence honor.