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Lower Merion TSA
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Lower Merion
STEM Courses

Our Wide Variety
of Choices

At Lower Merion High School, we offer many STEM courses that students can choose from. The Lower Merion School District is driven to provide the most rigorous and wide-ranging array of classes. Every student at Lower Merion High School is taught the Sciences, Technology and Engineering, and Math. Outside of the required curriculum are the STEM Clubs. Lower Merion is known for its extremely successful clubs that all compete on the National and International level. At Lower Merion High School, success in the outer world comes from within the large Science and Math departments. Every student at Lower Merion is bound to be successful.

Science

Courses

Most students choose to reach their 3 science credits by taking Biology, Chemistry, and Physics in their freshman, sophomore, and junior years respectively. Students must take an honors or college prep version of both Biology and Chemistry before they can take other (Advanced Placement) AP science classes.

These two core classes are also offered during summer school in a shortened six-week form. Taking a summer school course offers more room in a student's schedule, so that they are able to take a variety of courses. nother course offered at Lower Merion High School is Organic Chemistry Honors, a hands-on lab-based course that takes place every Saturday morning. Organic Chemistry focuses on preparing students for lab work and report creation in college. Lower Merion also offers many in-depth science electives such Environmental Science, Geology, and Oceanography.

A complete list of science classes offered at Lower Merion is as follows:

Astronomy (CP, H)
Biology (CP, H)
Chemistry (CP, H, AP)
Environmental Science (AP)
Genetics (H)
Geology (CP, H)
Human Anatomy and Physiology (CP, H)
Meteorology (CP, H)
Oceanography (CP, H)
Organic Chemistry (H)
Physics (CP, H, AP 1, AP C: Mechanics, AP C: Electromagnetism)

Clubs

Science Olympiad is a national organization that has striated levels of competition, similar to TSA. Subsections of the Science Olympiad chapter form team to participate in different events at the state, national and invitational level. The main difference between Science Olympiad and TSA is that in addition to each event getting scored individually, scores in Science Olympiad are also computed for the chapter across all events. The SciOly team with the lowest score wins, and the lowest scoring schools are permitted to advance to the next competition level which like TSA, continues to the national level.

Science Olympiad events are divided into five categories: Life, Personal & Social Science, Earth & Space Science, Physical Science & Chemistry, Technology & Engineering, and Inquiry & Nature of Science. To reflect the ever-changing nature of science, some events are rotated out each year or reintroduced every year.

The Science Olympiad team at LM studies daily after school. The team's goal this year is to make it to the national conference.

Technology &
Engineering

Courses

In addition to the required math and science courses, LM also offers many Technology and Engineering based elective courses, several of which are taught by chapter advisor Mr. Piotrowski.

Lower Merion’s computer science program has garnered immense interest over the past few years. Four courses are offered, including a basic introductory visual programming course, two half-semesters advanced courses, a year-long AP course, and a seminar course. These classes introduce students to java and gradually increase the difficulty to include loops, graphics, recursion, and classes. Additionally one of the designers of this website is a teacher assistant for many of these computer science courses.

Almost all other STEM courses take place in Lower Merion’s tech labs. Where students work on STEM-based problems while utilizing the same machines and practices that TSA members regularly use while creating their events. A basic introductory course offered at Lower Merion is Foundations of Engineering and Design, which teaches the basics of the engineering process and encourages students to collaborate to solve problems. Other courses at LM cover VEX robotics, building construction, 3D drawing and modeling, and architecture.

A complete list of STEM electives offered at Lower Merion is as follows:

Visual Programming (H)
Computer Science (1H, 2H, AP)
Computer Science Seminar (H, post AP)
Foundations of Engineering & Design (CP, H)
Computer Aided Drafting & Design / CADD (CP, H)
Architectural Design (CP, H)
Innovation & Invention -- Robotics (CP, H)

Clubs

Programming Club is Lower Merion’s newest STEM club, focusing on coding and app development. The club organizes and hosts a large annual coding competition called CodeLM and conducts biweekly trips to a local elementary school to teach fifth graders the basics of coding. Most students who are part of the club also take many of the computer science classes that are offered at LM.

Dawgma is Lower Merion's FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics team. Dawgma is one of over 38,000 teams throughout the United States. They compete in FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), one of FIRST Robotics’ five robotics programs.

In FRC, members have six weeks to build, program, and learn to operate a robot from scratch to compete in a competition with rules that change every year. In Dawgma, students learn important parts of the engineering process, such as meeting deadlines and prioritizing goals. Members also participate in specialized roles such as programming, electrical work, or business management. Dawgma closely works with TSA in many club activities such as the annual Tech Team Dance Squad and the Jr. First Lego League.

Math

Courses

Students in the Lower Merion School District are all placed on different math tracks determined by tests taken in fourth grade. Based on their results, students are either placed on a normal, one-year advanced, or two-year advanced track. Regardless of track, all students complete some level of Calculus, an important course in order to prepare LM graduates for college, by the end of high school.

Based on performance on state standardized testing (Keystones), a student may have to take a remedial lab course once every cycle. This course is meant to improve student scores on the Keystone Test, which are a graduation requirement for Pennsylvania students. In addition to its remedial programs, LM offers many high-level math courses for high performing students. These courses include three AP classes in mathematics and two college level post-calculus courses that focus on independent learning and group collaboration for problem sets.

A complete list of mathematics classes offered at Lower Merion is as follows. The classes are listeed in order of relative difficulty.

Algebra 1, Part 1 (CP)
Algebra 1, Part 2 (CP)
Algebra 1 (CP)
Geometry (CP, H)
Algebra 2 (Selected Topics, CP, H)
Algebra 3 / Trigonometry (CP)
Pre-Calculus (CP, H)
Financial Math (CP)
Statistics (CP, AP)
Calculus (CP, AP: AB, Ap: BC)
Advanced Topics in Linear Algebra & Discrete Mathematics (H Post AP)
Senior Seminar in Mathematics (H Post AP)

Clubs

Math Club is an organization for students with a highly developed understanding and deep interest in mathematics. The club goes to several competitions to contest other teams in written tests. Team members work individually to increase their mathematical understanding and problem solving skills, and also work in groups to enhance their awareness through collaborative work.

The club also creates and hosts a middle school math competition that attracts students from all across the Philadelphia region. The competition challenges students to actively pursue their education outside the classroom and engages their mathematical ability at a rigorous level.