Skip to main content

ARC Appalachian STEM Academy at Oak Ridge - Middle School

Appalachian STEM Academy at Oak Ridge logo

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), in collaboration with ORAU in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, presents a one-week, residential, science academy focusing on math, science, and technology for middle school students in July.

The ARC Appalachian STEM Academy at Oak Ridge - Middle School is a unique opportunity for students to work in collaborative teams with experienced teachers to utilize current technology to answer a research question. Students work in three specific teams, each comprising 8-9 students. The team approach provides an opportunity to collaboratively tackle a specific research topic and investigate it using a hands-on, inquiry-based approach.

The Academy curriculum is developed by area Master Teachers utilizing national and state science standards, area scientific expertise, and best practices in education. The Master Teachers also arrange tours, speakers and competitions, and assume primary teaching responsibilities for content delivery, hands-on experimentation, data collection, data analysis and final presentations. Three resident teachers typically assist with the curriculum presentation and daily student explorations and research.

In addition to the science activities, each day will include group sessions where students will be given the opportunity to apply what they have learned from the day’s events. This builds a better understanding of the day’s science activities and allows students to apply their knowledge in a hands-on approach to science.

The week culminates with final presentations where each group presented their work and findings to an audience of ARC, ORAU dignitaries, parents, and friends.

Visit the ARC Appalachian STEM Academy at Oak Ridge - Middle School website

Impact Areas

3D printing

Students became familiar with the 3D printing process by learning how to use CAD software to design and create objects to print. The students were able to print their designs and use their new knowledge of 3D printing to help solve problems in their communities.

A male student works on a 3D printing research project during the Appalachian STEM Academy

City planning

Students learned about food desserts, heat islands, and sustainability to understand issues city planners face in the communities of Appalachia. Students used a variety of technology and worked with City of Knoxville planners to explore and better understand the concepts they learned.

Students works on a city planning research project during the Appalachian STEM Academy

Artificial intelligence

Students discussed and explored the concept of Artificial Intelligence, and used digital platforms to better understand and create AI tools. Students looked at how AI can be used as a tool to solve real world problems, how to avoid bias, and techniques to make sure AI is an inclusive tool for the future.

Two male students work on research projects during the Appalachian STEM Academy

See what the Academy is all about!

Contact us

For additional information or if you have questions about the ARC Appalachian STEM Academy at Oak Ridge - Middle School, please contact