STEM Academy

Previous Slide
Next Slide

Academy Overview

Bangor High School welcomes students to an innovative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Academy which originated in the fall of 2012. Students who choose to enroll in the BHS STEM Academy complete all the traditional Bangor High School graduation requirements while simultaneously completing a challenging and enriching research-based sequence of STEM courses and experiences.

BHS STEM is a program option available to all Bangor High School students (tuition and non-tuition) and has its origins in a highly successful student research program that resulted in multiple and successive prize winners in the nation’s most prestigious junior science competitions. BHS STEM seeks to expand this winning model to more students through rigorous curricula and direct research experiences at Maine’s flagship university.

Academy Structure

  • Students who choose to enroll in the BHS STEM Academy complete all existing BHS diploma requirements while prioritizing AP and Honors Science and Mathematics courses as well as a sequence of STEM elective courses. 

  • Independent research projects form the basis of the STEM Academy experience. The STEM foundational courses  build the foundation for independent research projects developed over the course of four years.

  • STEM foundational courses such as Computer Science and Technology taken during the sophomore year and Technology and Engineering during the junior year introduce the principles of technology and engineering and the integration of engineering principles into projects and scientific research.

  • Students receive support and opportunities to publish and present their work, including opportunities at local, regional, national and even international levels of competition. 

  • Summer investment allows students to develop skills and engage in research. Summer opportunities include internship opportunities as well as school based field research and support for independent research projects.

STEM Academy Typical Sequence

9th Grade

10th Grade

11th Grade

12th Grade

Introduction to Research

Technology and Engineering I

Technology and Engineering II

Research Capstone

STEM Physics

Honors Chemistry

AP Chemistry

AP Biology / AP Physics C

Honors Geometry or Algebra 2

Honors Algebra 2 or Precalculus

Precalculus or AP Calculus AB

Calculus AB / Calculus BC / AP Statistics

STEM Course Descriptions

Introduction to Research (9th Grade)

The purpose of this class is to engage students in the ideas behind science and engineering practices as outlined in Table 1. and begin to familiarize them with the initial processes behind doing research. The course aims to build a foundation for students allowing them to examine original identified research opportunities in the natural science and engineering programs that hone students’ investigative skills and prepare them for academic competitions. Through this course students will gain experience in laboratory-based research, project planning, experimentation, problem solving, design, modeling, fabrication, testing, evaluation, documentation, and presentation related to engineering and science. Essentially this course is the precursor to the apprenticed research courses I,II,III, and IV. Throughout the course the instructor will expose the students to possible research projects and introduce them to research groups at UMaine. The class will meet daily for 40 minutes.

Technology and Engineering I (10th Grade)

Technology and Engineering I is an introductory college-level computing course that introduces students to the breadth of the field of computer science. Students learn to design and evaluate solutions and to apply computer science to solve problems through the development of algorithms and programs. They incorporate abstraction into programs and use data to discover new knowledge. Students will use MATLAB software to apply the fundamentals of computer programming. Students also explain how computing innovations and computing systems—including the internet—work, explore their potential impacts, and contribute to a computing culture that is collaborative and ethical.

Technology and Engineering II (11th Grade)

The Technology and Engineering II course is designed to introduce students to engineering practices through modern, hands-on experiments and attract students to STEM disciplines. Students will apply electronics knowledge to Arduino microcontrollers and the Raspberry Pi computer. Matlab and Python programs running on these computers will be used to interface with a variety of sensors and actuators. Robotics platforms will be employed for teaching basic concepts in kinetics, control, and intelligent systems.  Students will use various languages to interface with these robotic systems. Depending on project availability, students may be involved in off-campus challenges in engineering related fields. A portion of class time is dedicated to the multi- year STEM research projects.

STEM Research Capstone (12th grade)

The objective of the capstone class is for students to refine their research skills, to learn how statistics fit into scientific and engineering research, and to experience planning, performing, and reporting real, original research.  Students will prepare for the Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS), New England Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS), Maine State Science Fair (MSSF), and Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP).  Class time will be used to continue discussing the nature of science and engineering, workshop the current status of research projects and to continue to develop student writing, communication and presentation skills.

Summer Research Opportunities

STEM Academy students have access to summer research and internship opportunities. Students work with the STEM coordinator to develop topics of interest and conduct a literature review to determine the scope and feasibility of their ideas. Students are paired with a mentor or teacher that can help guide their work and provide access to equipment and resources. These experiences vary from field experiences with high school teachers, volunteer experiences with the local hospital, summer courses and camps, to formal internships at the University of Maine. Ultimately, the summer often forms to foundation and inspiration for research projects that are developed through the four year sequence of STEM courses.