Extracurricular » STEM


For the past 10+ years, Alta Loma Christian School has put forth an intentional effort to stay at the forefront of innovation and the development of 21st Century Skills at every grade level. In addition to comprehensive technology instruction - from coding in preschool to 3D modeling and printing - and technology integration in every classroom, ALCS has led the way in its extracurricular STEM (applied Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) programs, earning both local and national attention for student accomplishments in aerospace engineering and programming.
We are committed to offering new opportunities across grade levels for STEM exploration outside those already being addressed as a part of our core curriculum. Please continue reading below for a glimpse of what ALCS students have accomplished in recent years as a part of our after-school STEM programs.
After a yearlong hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, ALCS revamped the after-school STEM program for 6th-8th grade only (due to cohort/pod restrictions in response to schoolwide health and safety protocols). The STEM group formed three teams, each of which was given a specific yearlong building challenge: an aerospace glider, a slingshot, and a computer-programmed simulated card game. All three teams spent the duration of the school year designing, prototyping, constructing, testing, and improving their original ideas, in addition to keeping an engineering journal for each project.
The yearlong efforts of the Eagle Beta Pi team culminated in spring 2022, when all three projects were entered in the Association of Christian Schools International's (ACSI) first annual National STEM Competition in Phoenix, Arizona, in partnership with Grand Canyon University. Competing against mostly high schoolers from across the country, the ALCS team took first place in both the aerospace glider competition and the IT coding challenge, reaffirming the worthwhile efforts of Alta Loma Christian School to stay at the forefront of developing 21st Century Skills and preparing our students for their finest future. Read more about the Eagle Beta Pi's competition success and journey.
stem competition

In 2018-2019, ALCS introduced a new year-long after-school STEM program specifically for upper grade students to explore computer programming and applied computing. Accepted students of the program received a personal Raspberry Pi mini-computer, with which they learned the Scratch and Python languages. Students used both languages to create their own games, programs, and learned how to connect and control physical components with the Raspberry Pi.

SpaceEagles in STEM Rocketry learn about the science that goes into creating and launching rockets, including aerodynamics, flight, rocketry, engineering, the scientific method, and space science. Throughout the year, these SpaceEagles learn new concepts and gradually build their own rockets and, at the end of the school year, launch them together on their Model Rocketry Field Day (see below). The ALCS STEM Rocketry program utilizes educational materials from the National Association of Rocketry (NAR), Estes Educator, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute for Technology (Caltech), and NASA.

4th-8th grade: SpaceEagles – In 2016-2017, the first new co-curricular program was launched for 1st-8th grade students under the TECCI umbrella: The SpaceEagles STEM Initiative, a joint program created by the Quest Institute, which was founded by Valley Christian Schools of San Jose, CA. Eleven middle schools and elementary schools across the country—including ALCS—currently participate in the Quest for Space ISS Project, which partners with LEGO Education, Microsoft, NanoRacks, and NASA. The mission of the SpaceEagles STEM Space Science and Engineering program is to join the exploratory nature of our interested learners with the beauty of God’s created sciences—together with the power of modern technology—in applied, real-world settings. On Saturday, June 3, 2017, the first SpaceEagles experiment was successfully launched into space aboard a SpaceX capsule; read more about the historical launch here. Two additional experiments have successfully reached the International Space Station in 2018 and 2019, each one setting a new standard for student-led science exploration.




In late 2015, Dr. Vance Nichols—ALCS Head of School and a 2015 Innovation Scholar at USC—founded The Eagle Center for Creativity and Innovation (TECCI) at ALCS. TECCI focuses on providing unique opportunities for student creativity and innovation, all in the context of a Christian worldview. This includes applied science, technology, engineering, mathematics, fine arts, visual arts (including media and screen arts), performing arts, and entrepreneurship. TECCI was founded to provide support for existing, ongoing, and new curricular and co-curricular elements related to creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship at ALCS (see the ALCS Tech Fair). TECCI is an incubator for conceiving and growing new and emerging arts and sciences programs at ALCS, each designed to equip our students with unique 21st century learning opportunities.