Students attend the Center half of each school day for a rigorous education in mathematics, science, and technology, while spending the remainder of the day at their home school for other course work. If you want to know what the Center is really like, go straight to the smartest people in the building: the student.
The Battle Creek Area Mathematics and Science Center offers a quality program that has been recognized and distinguished by several major universities. Established in 1991 as a result of efforts by business, industry and education leaders, the Center enhances the learning of high school students in Barry, Branch and Calhoun counties. The Center has a unique partnership with school districts in these counties, offering a rich, diversified college preparatory program in mathematics, science and technology. Students attend the Center half of each school day for mathematics, science, and computer education and spend the remainder of the day at their home school for other course work. The 9th and 10th grade curriculum focuses on the basic tools and knowledge students need in order to make decisions on their future courses of study, and even careers. The 11th and 12th grade curriculum provides students with the opportunity to explore scientific and mathematical areas of interest in greater depth. Through this challenging educational experience, the Center shapes inquisitive students into the great thinkers of tomorrow. As a member of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Math, Science and Technology, the Center is able to offer specialized educational and financial opportunities for both students and graduates.
Committed To Learning
Even with a world-class faculty, there are other tools students need in order to reach their potential. The Center has placed an emphasis on obtaining industry-level analytical equipment to make it possible for students to participate in coordinated research projects. Many projects are multi-year, and help develop skills in accurate and reliable observations, the use of mathematics and science literature, and experimental design and analysis methods. The Center is a host to a variety of world-renowned guest speakers who help connect the classroom experiences to opportunities and discoveries in the professional world. Students are often placed in university and research settings to complete their research, which gives them the opportunity to publish their research nationally and internationally. Our students have been the first in the area to present at national research symposiums, to receive awards at the International Science and Engineering Fair, and to be selected as Siemens and Westinghouse Science Scholars.
Research Helps Define The World
Students working in scientific and mathematical research — as members of a team or as individuals — develop skills in recognizing and analyzing alternative explanations as presented by their peers, giving them a broader, richer knowledge base. A cooperative learning atmosphere provides a deeper understanding of math and science as a human endeavor, as well as developing leadership, scientific writing, statistical analysis, presentation and study skills. Students develop the crucial ability to analyze an argument by reviewing the evidence and statistics in current scientific and mathematical understanding in a thoughtful, constructive format. Under the guidance of Center faculty, students acquire the knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary in making sense of their world, and if desired, pursuing a career in math or science.
Knowing the right answer is critical to any education, but students who ask the right questions show a natural inquisitiveness that will serve them better in the future than any perfect test score. The Center encourages inquiry-based learning in every class, every day. This is achieved through a curriculum based on stimulating students' curiosity, and forcing them to question the answers instead of answering the questions. Inquiry-based learning provokes students to constantly pursue compelling lines of questioning, taking ownership of their education. This encourages curiosity, independence and responsibility, and places an emphasis on problem-solving. Students who ask questions develop better communication and critical thinking skills — tools they need to become the leaders of tomorrow.
Results Of The Equation
Since its opening, the Center has invested in the latest technology and hired the most effective faculty. It has paid off for our students. Three-year averages allow students to boast high ACT performance: 28 composite, 29 mathematics-sub, and 28.4 science reasoning-sub. This equates to national rankings of the 91 percentile, 93 percentile, and 95th percentile, respectively. The three-year average Advance Placement (AP) exam pass rate is 95%. Accepted scholarships for graduating classes exceeds $1.4 million for the same period. The Center has helped produce National Merit Scholars, AP Scholars, and a Rhodes Scholar. Every graduating class sends a high percentage of students to universities in the Big Ten, and even the Ivy League. Graduates have become doctors, neurosurgeons, nuclear engineers, physicians, forensic chemists, pilots, physicists, sculptors and astronomers. It is clear that the Center has an impact on students that lasts well beyond the four years they spend in high school.
The Center occupies the former Cereal City USA. It underwent extensive renovations and opened for the high school in the fall of 2013.
- The Center is equipped with two Mac computer labs. All students have network accounts with high speed web access. The network provides Wi-Fi, allowing students and teachers to access system resources from anywhere in the building. Digital cameras, video recorders, and laptops are available for student use. The TI-nSpire CAS is the handheld of choice for student use.
- Each classroom has an instructional workstation with document camera, LCD projector, and laptop connection.
- The Center provides specialized laboratories to support unique courses such as analytical chemistry, genetics, biotechnology, and research methods. Some chemistry labs, for example, focus on the analysis of foods: iron content of oatmeal, verification of dyes used in candy and caffeine concentration in soft drinks. After learning to operate the equipment, students are encouraged to ask their own questions and develop a protocol to answer them using the equipment available. Some on-site industry-level equipment includes:
- High Performance Liquid Chromatograph: Perkin-Elmer Series 10 Pump/Waters 490 detector and a Buck BLC 20
- Gas Chromatograph - Buck Model 910
- UV-VIS Spectrophotometer/Scanner - Ocean Optics
- Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer - Buck 210 VGP
- Biotechnology Equipment
- Environmental Chambers
- Electrophoresis Chambers
- Recombinant DNA Technologies
- Kjeldahl Apparatus with Buchi Distillation unit for protein analysis
- Buck IR Spectrophotometer Model 500
- Muffle Furnace - Blue M Box Type
- Vernier Spectro-Vis Spectrophotometers
- Lab Quest Data Collectors
- Engineering Laboratory with LabView Software
- Star Lab and Telescopes