Signature Programs

STEAM

A Team Experience

The U.S. Department of Education has made advancing STEM education a national priority, and at The Country School we have added the Arts to the mix, because if our aim is to prepare the innovators of tomorrow, then creativity and design are essential parts of the equation.
    • PreS-4th Grade STEAM

    • 5th-8th Gr STEAM

Robotics

Designed to teach students some of the skills they will need in their future careers — collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity — the Robotics Program also provides valuable team experience.
Each year, The Country School’s robotics team, Archimedes Aces, competes in the FIRST Lego League robotics competition. In early September, the Aces began preparing for the 2022 regional competition with a focus on sustainable energy. The senior members of Archimedes Aces have been working together since 5th Grade, many helping throughout their Middle School years with the developmental robotics team as well as summer robotics camps. For the 2022 competition, using the FLL-provided instructions and pieces, Archimedes Aces created a bicycle that would collect three different types of energy to store into batteries that could be used for other purposes.

List of 2 items.

  • Robotics

    “Lifelong Learning Starts with Confidence. Students’ confidence in their ability to learn and solve problems sets them up for lifelong success”—Lego Education

    Try something. See how it works. Try again. At TCS, coding, engineering, and robotics is the new playground. Coding, engineering, and robotics are tools that promote confidence, creativity, curiosity, collaboration, persistence, and solving problems, in an interactive, fun, engaging, and unique way. We are teaching coding literacy through design thinking and innovation, using tools that are accessible for all ages, genders, and technical backgrounds. We learn by play, to design, build, program, engineering, and reengineer-- learning to become producers, and not merely consumers of technology. We strive to educate our future inventors to be well equipped with technology literacy, problem solving skills, and the creative confidence, to develop solutions for future real-world problems.

    Example of student learning inside and outside of the classroom
    • Gears and Simple Machines
    • Young robotics
    • All-girls robotics
    • Beginning robotics
    • Intermediate robotics
    • Drones

    Awards and recognition
    • First Lego League Competition (FLL), (2013 ,2014, 2017, 2018) regional finalists
    • Best Mentor Award from First Lego League—Steph Johnson
    • Finalist in the Connecticut Technology Councils’ Women of Innovation Award—Steph Johnson

    Programs and tools
    • Hour of code
    • Parrot Drones
    • Scratch
    • Scratch Jr
    • Blockly
    • Java
    • Tynker
    • Tinkercad
    • Snap
    • Python
    • Sphero
    • Makerbot
    • Hummingbird Robotics
    • Lego Mindstorms
    • Lego WeDo
    • Makey Makey
    • Micro:bit
    • Snap circuits
    • litteBits
    • Lego gears and simple machines
    • Vernier sensors, probes, and electronics and more!
  • Biotechnology

    Biotechnology, a tool used to further understand and manipulate living systems, has become essential towards understanding biological process, and solving some of today’s most urgent scientific issues. Just as 'coding' has become impervious to our well-connected society, so has bio-jargon. Gene cloning, genetic engineering, synthetic biology, and personalized medicine have all become integrated into everyday decisions ranging from personal to the political. A new authentic model of student-guided science education focused on modern biological tools is required to nurture a science-literate population, allowing students to learn in a way that reflects how scientists come to understand the natural world. Developing scientific literacy early in the middle school years is beneficial to a students’ growth in scientific thinking.

    At Country School, we have received some new and used biotechnology equipment, and employ a science faculty with extensive background in biotechnology approaches and technique, who have previously worked as scientists in academic and corporate environments. The combined effort of our generous school community and our faculty’s real-world experiences, allows a pilot biotechnology program to flourish at TCS. Students will be exposed to, and better understand modern technology platforms that are currently being used to build products and uncover bio-systems and processes in health and disease, laying a foundation for high school and beyond.

    Example of curriculum of student learning using modern biotechnology tools
    • “Getting the DNA out “or DNA extraction
      • Students determine what factors affect the amount of genomic DNA that can be extracted from a raw food sample.
    • “Visualizing DNA” or electrophoresis and quantification
      • Student learn how to further purify, prepare, and quantify a DNA sample to be loaded on an agarose matrix, which separates a mixed population of DNA fragments by size.
    • “Molecular scissors” or DNA digestion
      • Restriction enzymes are used to cut (digest) DNA into pieces before separation by size on an agarose matrix. Restriction enzyme mapping is then used determine the location and size of the DNA pieces.
    • “Making lots of copies” or DNA amplification
      • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using a thermocycler is used to produce millions of copies of a specific region of a DNA sequence. Producing a large amount of a DNA sequence is necessary for many downstream techniques, such as analysis of DNA in medicine and forensics.

2022 First Lego League Competition

Rothberg Catalyzer

Promoting confidence, problem-solving, and creativity through Coding, Engineering, Robotics, and Biotechnology
The Country School gratefully accepted a $50,000 gift from Drs. Jonathan and Bonnie Rothberg to encourage the growth of coding, engineering, and robotics in students from as young as three through 8th Grade. Jonathan Rothberg, Ph.D., is a scientist and entrepreneur who invented high-speed, “Next-Gen” DNA sequencing, a National Medal of Technology and Innovation awardee, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Bonnie Gould Rothberg, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., is an Oncology Hospitalist in the Oncology Extended Care Clinic at the Smilow Cancer Hospital and earned her Ph.D. in Molecular Cancer Epidemiology. The vision for their gift, according to Dr. Jonathan Rothberg, is to “focus on programming and robotics that will prepare students to lead in a technology-driven future.”
Experts estimate that 65 percent of today's grade school students will end up working in jobs that have not been invented yet; The Country School's STEAM curriculum is designed to prepare them for that reality.
Through integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math, all students — PreSchool through Grade 8 — explore themes in depth and across the curriculum. They tackle real-world problems that require them to ask questions, problem solve, and use trial and error.

By integrating all elements of our curriculum, STEAM engages all learners, and the hands-on, creative nature of a STEAM exploration means the learning will last. Perhaps most important, STEAM gives our students the skills they will need for success in the future — communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity — and the inspiration to be tomorrow’s innovators.

Stephanie Johnson, Science Teacher and award-winning Robotics Coach

Through the generosity of the Rothberg Catalyzer program, The Country School offers coding, engineering, and robotics across all grade levels to enhance our well-established, integrated STEAM curricular offerings. Students learn programming languages such as Scratch, Snap, and Python while using technology like Sphero, Lego WeDo, drones, Lego EV3, Makey-Makeys, and Birdbrain Hummingbirds. This, along with our inspired, creative teaching, involved school community, and Mission-based commitment to honoring our students’ creativity, sense of wonder, and intellectual curiosity, make a Country School educational experience unparalleled.
341 Opening Hill Road, Madison, CT 06443
P. 203-421-3113  |  F. 203-421-4390  |  Health Office F. 860-469-2550
Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child.