Description of Courses

Introducing STEM

Week 1: Monday

What is STEM? STEM is more than a school subject, it is a philosophy and new approach to learning! It is an approach to the world, which helps students understand, explore, and engage with the world, so that they have the ability and the capacity to change that world… STEM education prepares young people to think deeply and to think well, so as to become the innovators and leaders who can deal with and solve world challenges, both today and tomorrow.

Data Analysis

Week 1: Monday and Friday

The module offers opportunities to students to explore data analysis. Students will use raw data from men and women from different countries, so as to draw histograms and look for descriptive results, as manufacturers need to take these into account when they design products.

The Chemistry of Breakfast

Week 1: Monday and Thursday

Cereals, fruits, and juices, various types of bread and biscuits, honey, and milk are some of the most common and basic components of a nutritional breakfast, which for some is considered to be «the most important meal of the day». Their consumption provides the human body with a variety of essential chemical compounds that are required for both growth and conservation, and are present in foods either as main ingredients and/or as food additives. Food companies are required to provide the names and respective quantities of such compounds on food packages, so as to inform the public of their presence and nutritional contribution.

Students will perform a series of analytical experiments and derive qualitative and/or quantitative results on the ingredients of some of the most commonly consumed foods, usually served during breakfast. Their results will be compared to the information appearing on food packages and statistical analysis will elucidate the precision and accuracy of the experimental results. Furthermore, students will become familiar with the E-number coding system for substances that are permitted to be used as food additives in the industry. Finally, a simulated Food Traceability system, similar to the one that the food industry uses, will be applied to a mock production line in the lab.

STEM Ethics

Week 1: Wednesday

What is ethical behavior? How should or shouldn’t we act in a specific situation? Ethics refer to a code or set of principles, standards, or rules that guide our actions within a particular social framework. This module aims to explore and consider the nature of ethical action, judgment, and decision making, with special reference to applied ethics disciplines such as bioethics and computer ethics. Students are engaged in a critical discussion of how a person ought to act responsibly in a particular case and to what extent this action should be described as right or wrong.

Workshop of Environmental Responsibility II / Global Climate Change and Water

Week 1: Wednesday

Our relationship with the environment is a field of action that requires equal measures of heightened awareness and responsible decision-making. Therefore, this program offers a range of environmental workshops intended to encourage the participants’ understanding of and engagement with the relevant issues.

Computer Science and Robotics

Week 1: Wednesday

Week 2: Monday and Friday

Students will get involved with how robots and other similar technologies are built and operate. Choosing the optimum position for several sensors, calculations on U turns, distance of reaction, algorithm reaction time, and robot interaction are some of the topics that students will engage with. Teams will include students of all ages, thus providing the younger students the chance to learn from the older, and the older students the chance to understand the topics at hand on a deeper level, in order to explain them to the younger students. Robotic constructions will be based in independent, programmable controllers instead of ready-made packages, thus allowing the students to engage endless robotics and controller implementations and learning possibilities.

Edible Car Contest

Week 1: Thursday

An edible car contest is a high interest, hands-on activity to engage students with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The teams, consisting of three to five students, will compete in two categories: speed/distance, and «most distinctive» car. Cars must be built entirely from food items edible by humans.

Debate and Communication Skills

Week 1: Friday

Week 2: Friday

Public speaking skills, and most importantly the art of persuasion, are essential for anyone considering taking on a leadership role. Participants in the Pierce Leadership Academy (STEM) will be introduced to basic debate formats and rules. They will then prepare, and have a debate on issues dealing with ethics in science and technology. The overarching goals of this module are to sharpen students’ critical thinking skills, and to build their self-confidence when addressing an audience. 

Exploring STEM: Internet and library research challenges

Week 1: Friday

Students learn how to look for and how to use information in order to tackle a specific research question.

Film and Discussion

Week 2: Monday

«You never had a camera inside my head.»

Surveillance Technologies and the Question of Privacy in The Truman Show

Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) is the «star» of a TV show broadcast non-stop, unedited for thirty years. Truman’s life is «live» through an intricate network of hidden cameras all over his hometown of Seahaven, the largest studio ever constructed, conceived by eccentric director, Christof (Ed Harris). Truman is unaware that his reality is counterfeit and that his life is aired worldwide. After a number of unpredictable anomalies in the flow of the show, Truman progressively realizes the fake nature of his world.

Peter Weir’s The Truman Show (1998), written by Andrew Niccol, has been approached from different philosophical perspectives including the question of reality and the nature of the external world, as well as the problem of human freedom and ethical decision-making. In this philosophy-through-film session, through The Truman Show, students reflect on and discuss the question of information privacy in a surveillance society and its ethical implications on human freedom, as well as their lives as citizens and individuals.

3D Creation

Week 1: Wednesday

GeoGebra has often been described as a ‘playground’ or ‘laboratory’ for exploring mathematics. Through GeoGebra, teachers and students are able to assemble and disassemble 3-dimensional objects, expanding the possibilities for representation, reasoning, and learning anywhere in the world, which will be helpful for 3D printing.

3D Printer

Week 2: Wednesday and Friday

The 3D Printing Workshop will be the students’ gateway to a different, new 3D fabrication world. This world is characterized by the following triptych: «I think – I plan – I build.» The purpose of this workshop is to familiarize students with a technology that they will certainly meet in the future, and to cultivate a holistic approach in the construction world, enabling students to address real world problems with the right decisions. 3D Printing allows us to build three-dimensional objects in the physical world immediately after their conception and design.

Firstly, issues around the initial conception of the object will be discussed, along with how it can be designed. There will be a brief demonstration of a CAD design program where basic working principles will be presented. Secondly, aspects of 3D printing technology will be discussed in detail, such as the individual components of the 3D printer, its working principles, its fabrication abilities, and the materials used. In addition, several tips and tricks leading to higher-end product quality will also be presented.

Mediation Presentation and Games

Week 3: Monday

A presentation of what mediation is to all students of the Pierce Leadership Academy course, in order to understand and explore the fundamental principles of mediation. Students will have the opportunity to practice mediating conflicts and understand the value of mediation as a conflict resolution tool applicable games.

STEM Presentation and Games

Week 3: Monday

A presentation of what is STEM to all students of the Pierce Leadership Academy course. Students will have the opportunity to see experiments and science workshops in order to understand the varied roles science plays in our society.

Ethical Dilemmas and Games

Week 3: Monday

A presentation of what leadership is to all Pierce Leadership Academy students, in order for them to understand and explore the fundamentals of leadership, so that they can connect STEM and mediation areas with social responsibility controversies.

Mediation, STEM, and Social Change: The Work of Nobel Peace Laureate Sir Joseph Rotblat (UK)

Week 3: Wednesday

Sir Joseph Rotblat won the Peace Prize in 1995 for advocating for human safety and security in the use of scientific developments, and against the reckless use of weapons of mass destruction, after working on the atomic bomb with Einstein and Russell Bertrand.  Students will explore right vs. wrong ethical dilemmas in STEM research, and the responsibility that scientists have to preserve human life in the pursuit of progress. Students will participate in a conference call with his Research Assistant, Sally Milne.

Theater Acting

Week 3: Thursday 

Students from all groups will work together for the Final Performance of the Pierce Leadership Academy that will be presented on the last day of the summer program.

Feedback: Final Reports

Week 3: Friday

Each student is invited to write an individual report about their interaction with the rest of the students, as well as about their experience of the Academy as whole. The reports are going to be handed in to the program’s coordinators and will be taken into account by the instructors’ reports, which will be sent to each student via email, after the program has ended.

Final Performance – Ethical Dilemmas: An artistic touch – Certificates

Week 3: Friday