Junior AMSE

Inspired by the Creator, AMSE aims to develop Christian scientists, mathematicians, and engineers who are equipped to become global leaders in the most advanced fields. AMSE provides students who have an aptitude for math and science with a K-12th grade pipeline of inspiration, instruction, and experience, in order that they might become successful innovators with the power to do a “world of good.”

The United States has advanced as a world leader, in part, through brilliant and dedicated scientists, engineers, innovators, and entrepreneurs. In a world that’s becoming constantly more complex, it is more important now than ever before for our young men and women to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and come up with a solution based on what they have learned. These skills are acquired by studying applied math, science, engineering, and technology—all vital components of Valley Christian Schools STEM program, the Applied Math, Science, and Engineering (AMSE) Institute. 

Valley Christian Junior High offers students an opportunity to prepare for our esteemed AMSE Institute when they enter the high school through our special JH AMSE program. Students, who apply to the VCJH as an AMSE Major, have a set goal to achieve and stay on task to be prepared for the AMSE Institute in high school. It also allows them priority placement in AMSE electives, access to exclusive AMSE lectures and events, active mentorships from industry leaders, internship opportunities with industry partners, and special recognition upon graduation from the VCJH.

VCJH offers many curricular opportunities for students to participate in Junior AMSE. From the after-school Robotics Club, the WarriorBots competitive team, Chi Alpha Mu Math Club, Science Club, numerous competition opportunities, and a variety of innovative, hands-on science and engineering classes, AMSE opportunities abound at VCJH. AMSE provides students with incredible facilities, outstanding curriculum, and unique opportunities that aim to inspire future mathematicians, scientists, and engineers.






Valley Christian Junior High Featured as "Cool School"

Valley Christian Junior High was featured on channel 5 news as the “cool school” of the week! Watch the news story below to hear the students talk about the great opportunities the ISS program has opened up for them.

Congratulations Valley Christian Junior High ISS

Congratulations to our Valley Christian Junior High ISS Student Team, their teacher Mrs. Malathi Tuers, their mentor Jim Nadir, and Valley Christian's Applied Math, Science, and Engineering (AMSE) Institute team including Dan Saldana, Werner Vavken, Howell Ivy, and George Sousa. Watch the video below to see the NBC Channel Eleven News story describing the first junior high to put an experiment on the International Space Station. It's thrilling to see the Quest for Excellence in action.







VCJH Robotics Highlight

The Valley Christian Junior High (VCJH) Robotics team is not only gifted, but it also demonstrates a tremendous work ethic that focuses on giving back to the community. These amazing young students identified a problem for a visually impaired, paraplegic senior citizen and invented a solution. With these educational tools, junior high students can accomplish incredible feats, displaying compassionate understanding of how to better another man’s life. 

Clubs, Programs & Achievements 


Junior High AMSE FAQs:

Q: How do I apply for the Junior High AMSE Program?
A: Student applications are now open now. Head to https://www.govcs.net/amse_app/
 to apply. The deadline to apply is Sept. 2 and confirmations will be sent out by first two weeks of October.  To help students plan out their activities, we encourage that students apply in the Spring if possible.

Q: What is the value of applying to the Junior High AMSE Program if I can still take AMSE electives and participate in AMSE clubs?
A: Below are some of the tangible benefits of joining JH AMSE: 

Other than helping your student have a set goal to achieve and stay on task and be ready for AMSE in high school, below are some of the tangible benefits of joining JH AMSE today: 

1.) The JH AMSE Program prepares students for our high school AMSE program, helping them set goals and get ahead.

2.) AMSE students will have priority admittance into AMSE clubs, especially helpful for clubs where applications are needed or are over-subscribed.
3.) AMSE students will be given access to AMSE only events, lectures (such as President’s Business Challenge workshops) and research projects.
4.) AMSE students will be given special recognition and award at graduation.

Q: What are the elective/club requirements to graduate from the JH AMSE Program?
A: The requirements for the JH AMSE Program are as follows:

1.) 2 AMSE Electives before graduation
2.) 2 AMSE clubs before graduation
3.) 1 Science project submission before graduation (eCybermission project qualifies)
4.) Attendance at monthly AMSE lunch meetings (the first Tuesday of the month)
5.) 3 AMSE lunch/seminar reports each year

Q: What if my student is in 8th or 7th grade and hasn’t met all of the requirements?
A: There will be a separate rubric for 8th and 7th grade students, which is mainly determined as long as they can show they’ve met 2/3 of the requirements listed. The eCybermission project, which is required for all JH students, will qualify for the project requirement for 8th and 7th graders.

Q: Why would a student choose to do another Science Fair Project in addition to the eCybermission project? 
A: Participating in a Science Fair (i.e. Synopsys) is a GREAT experience for Junior High students.  They can go through the process of formulating an idea, writing it down, and presenting it. 

Q: How much time and effort are the 3 reports that need to be turned in each year?
A: The reports are a way to help students learn about a topic and then reflect and articulate what they learned and how it applies to their interests.  The monthly lunchtime seminars are less than 20 minutes long.

Q: What AMSE Electives and Clubs/Programs qualify?
A: Below are the list of AMSE Electives and Clubs/Programs that qualify:

AMSE and Other Qualified Electives

AMSE Clubs

Project Lead the Way - Gateway to Technology - Medical Detectives and Green Architecture

Satellite Tracking Amateur Radio Club

Project Lead the Way - Gateway to Technology - Foundations

Gem ST

Logic and Reasoning

Junior High Math Club

Investigative Science: The Truth is out There

Robotics Program

Robotics 1

Science Club

Introduction to Programing

Valley Aggies Club

Game Design and 3D Animation


ISS Space Program




Investigative Science: The Truth is Out There
Ever wonder why Mentos explode when combined with Coke? Or how you can get the same plant to produce both potatoes and tomatoes? Is the physics of flight a mystery to you? Or the forensic techniques used by crime investigators? For the student who is curious about how the world works, this course is a great chance to work in a laboratory setting. The student will conduct real experiments to find the answers to some of nature’s strangest mysteries.

Logic and Reasoning
The Logic and Reasoning course teaches the necessary skills to solve puzzles, problems, and develop critical thinking skills. The student will learn to analyze the validity of statements, separate fact from opinion, and recognize fallacies. Instruction will also address how to tackle difficult math problems with calculated ease. Each student in this elective will have opportunities to attend math contests hosted by various organizations.

VCJH Space Program: Blasting Off into Space
This course is ideal for the student that is interested in pursuing science and engineering, or for the student that is highly interested in experimentation. The scientific method for investigation is taught in detail, and each student will also design an experiment of his or her choice to compete at the Synopsys Science Fair. The experiments might be entered into other competitive science fairs in the state of California as well. 

Engineering Electives

Project Lead the Way - Gateway to Technology (GTT) - Medical Detectives and Green Architecture
Project Lead the Way’s Medical Detectives course explores the biomedical sciences through hands-on projects and labs that require the class to solve a variety of medical mysteries. The class investigates medical careers, vital signs, and the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Genetic testing for hereditary diseases and DNA crime scene analysis put each student in the place of real life medical detectives. The Green Architecture portion of the course introduces the concepts of architectural plans, construction styles, alternative materials and processes, dimensioning, measuring, and architectural sustainability. The student uses a 3D architectural software program to create an environmentally friendly home using shipping containers.

Project Lead the Way - Gateway to Technology (GTT) - Foundations
Project Lead the Way’s curriculum, Gateway to Technology (GTT) – Foundations, is an activity-, project-, and problem-based learning program designed to engage the natural curiosity of junior high students. In this introductory engineering course, instruction traces the history, development, and influence of automation and robotics. The student will learn about mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation, and computer control systems. The student will also design and model alternative energy sources and evaluate ways to reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency and waste management techniques. Industry standard 3D modeling software is used to create virtual images and produce a portfolio that showcases each student’s creative solutions and print 3D products.

Project Lead the Way - Gateway to Technology (GTT) - Specialization
Project Lead the Way’s second year curriculum, Gateway to Technology - Specialization (GTT2) is geared towards the student that has completed GTT Foundations. Having learned the basics, this student is ready to branch out and survey the many fields of engineering, including: Chemical, Electrical, Aerospace, and Environmental. From building and launching rockets, to making ice cream, the student will explore all the fun and excitement that is engineering. The capstone of this class is the “Design Challenge.” As a class, students choose a product to innovate, and then move the product through the entire design process from concept to manufacturing. 

Robotics I
The Robotics I course accepts all levels of experience, and teaches skills including programing, engineering, and concepts that can be used for both academic and professional careers. Instruction begins with a focus on structural stability, balancing weight, robustness, and making logical decisions by considering the criteria. Each Robotics student will use these concepts to build robots, manipulators, and sensors through the fun of Legos. The student will build and program these robots using EV3, a simplistic robot program. The student will also learn practices such as teamwork, being competitive yet kind, and other core values. 


Clubs and Extracurricular

GEM ST stands for Girls love Engineering, Math, Science, and Technology. We invite you to join this fabulous club where you can do cool math, science, and engineering! Do you think it is fun to build, create, get messy, use tools, and mix stuff up? GEM ST. club gives girls the chance to try new things with their friends and to succeed without the pressure of grades, test scores, or boys watching.

Math Club
Math Club is an exciting opportunity to grow in your understanding and knowledge of mathematical concepts. The club competes in several local and national assessments and competitions, such as the Chi Alpha Mu National Honors Society, Online Math Competitions, American Regional Math League, National Assessment Testing, MathCounts, and the Math Olympiad.

VCJH’s Robotics program sponsors WarriorBots, the school’s competitive robotics team. The school has joined forces with the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO® League (FLL), an organization where students compete in a sports-like environment that engages them in exciting mentor-based programs and inspires them as science and technology leaders.

Rube Goldberg Competition
VCJH has an annual Rube Goldberg Competition. Working in teams of two to four, students design and build a Rube Goldberg Machine that accomplishes a specific task. The machine utilizes at least ten different events using all six simple machine types. Teams have the morning to assemble and test their machine before judging in the afternoon. Entries are judged on: technical difficulty, creativity, success, and team work. This competition is open to all junior high students. 

Science Club
Do you love to experiment and test new ideas and theories? Do you enjoy science and wish to challenge yourself beyond the classroom? Then this is the club for you! The junior high Science Club works on various aspects of scientific study and research, such as Science Fairs, Project Research, Aquariums, Dissections, Experiments, and much more!

STAR/Radio Youth Club
The STAR Club is for all junior high students who have an interest in wireless communications. We will be tracking satellites, performing experiments with radio technology, developing emergency radio service skills, preparing for the FCC Technician Class Radio Exam, and, for licensed operators, receiving and transmitting Radio Communications. This is the perfect club for students who enjoy hands-on projects that both challenge and intrigue. Join us for the most exciting lunch activity around as we reach for the stars!

Valley Aggies Club
The Valley Aggies Club working in cooperation with Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo, a certified organic farm in San Jose will promote environmental awareness, develop agricultural engineering skills, provide ecological research opportunities, and build business skills. Numerous activities involve students in hands-on projects such as, raising crops, organic farming, urban farming, environment studies, ecological studies, building of bird habitats, forming a business plan, public relations, and marketing. The Valley Aggies Club... we’re diggin’ it! 


As a vital component of the Junior AMSE program and VCJH core curriculum, the Junior High Math Department provides a comprehensive math program that encompasses all levels of ability from grades six through eight. We are pleased to offer advanced level courses at every grade level, with all math courses emphasizing critical thinking, problem solving, mathematical concepts/applications, and preparation for high school mathematics.


VCJH Science provides our students with many exciting opportunities for learning through exploration and discovery. Standard science courses include hands-on labs in the junior high’s science laboratory classrooms. While studying the effects of force, students may build pinewood derby cars or even Middle Age trebuchets. They also have the opportunity to view samples at the molecular level in Valley Christian’s Nanotechnology Microscopy Laboratory which features two scanning probe microscopes. They analyze DNA through DNA electrophoresis analysis, and may also treasure hunt using handheld GPS units. Students solidify and demonstrate their learning by building models of DNA, atoms, and animal cells. VCJH science curriculum reaches all levels of students, from those just beginning to explore the field to those with exceptionally advanced scientific minds. 

Our Physical Science curriculum provides VCJH students with the opportunity to participate in eCYBERMISSION, a web-based science, math, and technology competition for 6th-9th grade students. The competition promotes self-discovery and enables all students to recognize the real-life applications of science, math, and technology. Students compete for regional and national awards while working to solve problems in their community. Teams may choose one of four Mission Challenges: Sports & Recreation, Scenario Challenge, Environment, or Food, Health & Safety.

This year, more than 12,000 students registered for eCYBERMISSION and 2,005 teams submitted their research for scoring. eCYBERMISSION has awarded more than $6.8 million in U.S. EE Savings Bonds in support of the science, math, and technology leaders of tomorrow. Since its inception, more than 58,000 students from across the country, in U.S. territories, and Department of Defense Education Activity schools worldwide have participated in the competition.

VCJH students have regularly done very well in this competition, taking 1st and 2nd place in 2012.


Press Release: California Jr. High School Students to Launch Microgravity Experiments aboard International Space Station

Valley Christian Junior High students to boldly go 
where no Junior High has ever gone before

May 1, 2014 (San Jose, CA) – National Blue Ribbon School award recipient Valley Christian Junior High School is poised to set a record achievement by becoming the world’s first junior high to send their student-built experiments aboard NASA’s International Space Station (ISS). With their payload launching May 1st aboard the Cygnus resupply spacecraft, these 12 and 13 year-old students will begin to examine the growth patterns and rates of Penicillin, and examine how liquids of different densities mix to examine the capillary action of water in the microgravity environment of space. This exemplary, high performing Junior High School, as recognized in November 2013 by the US Department of Education, will follow in the footsteps of their pioneering Senior High School; the first High School in the world whose students were able to fly computer-controlled experiments aboard the ISS in 2011. Industry mentors of Valley Christian Schools’ Applied Math, Science, and Engineering (AMSE) Institute help the students manage each phase of the project as “real world” development teams would, taking ownership and accountability of all complex engineering problems and resolutions.

Traditionally only universities, government agencies, and industry corporations participate in these types of endeavors aboard the ISS National Laboratory. Through a first-of-its kind educational partnership created by Valley Christian Schools, the Quest Institute for Quality Education, and NanoRacks, LLC, schools and organizations from Hawaii to Finland have now joined Valley Christian in designing, building, and flight testing “micro-lab” experiments – many of which fit into a container the size of a small can of soda. This space station opportunity is being made available by NanoRacks LLC, via its Space Act Agreement with NASA's U.S. National Lab. “Capturing the imagination and harnessing the potential of our bright young students has been an amazing journey for AMSE at Valley Christian Junior High School,” noted Principal Lisa Arnett. “We have learned that students are capable of doing so much more, at a very young age, when we remove their limitations and encourage them to step up to any challenge. I am so thankful that we have not only reached a significant milestone in technology innovation, but are also helping to equip other like-minded schools and organizations around the world to reach higher with us.” Recognized for their dedication in encouraging more students to pursue math, sciences, and engineering at a young age, Valley Christian Junior High has received two prestigious Intel awards: the top honor 2011 STAR Innovator Award and an Intel Schools of Distinction Award for Middle School Mathematics Excellence.

About NanoRacks LLC
NanoRacks LLC was formed in 2009 to provide commercial hardware and services for the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the International Space Station. The Company is unique in owning and marketing its own family of hardware, both inside and external to the space station. To date, over 100 payloads have been deployed on the space station and the current signed customer pipeline of over 50 payloads including domestic and international educational institutions, research organizations and government organizations, has propelled NanoRacks into a leadership position in understanding the emerging commercial market for low-earth orbit utilization. For more information visit www.nanoracks.com and follow @nanoracks.

About Quest Institute for Quality Education
The Quest Institute for Quality Education supports schools and organizations in pursuit of the Quest for Excellence™ and quality educational instruction. The Institute shall uphold the values of our Founding Fathers whose writings include the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other documents. www.thequestinstitute.com

About Valley Christian Schools
Valley Christian Schools (VCS) is a private, K-12 Christian school system located in the heart of Silicon Valley in San Jose, California. Valley Christian Schools provides challenging college preparatory programs while offering a K-12 comprehensive education. VCS challenges students to aspire toward lives of character, service, and influence while pursuing their individual Quest for Excellence through A3 Academic Achievement, Artistic Beauty, and Athletic Distinction. www.vcs.net

Junior High FIRST Lego League Team WarriorBots

2013 - NorCal Silicon Valley District Championship 1st Place Strategy and Innovation Award
2013 - NorCal Qualifying Tournament - 1st Place Robot Design
2012 - NorCal Silicon Valley District Championship - 2nd Place Champion's Award
2012 - NorCal Qualifying Tournament - Champion's Award
2011 - NorCal Silicon Valley District Championship - Champion's Award
2010 - NorCal Qualifier - 2nd Place Robot Design

2014 Synopsys Silicon Valley Science and Technology Fair

2nd Place in Biochemistry/Microbiology Category for project titled, “Penicillium Unveiled”
2nd Place in Engineering Category for project titled, “Radar Guided Rock Layer Surface Mapping”
2nd Place award in Engineering Category for project titled “Cave Mapping”
A student earned a Certificate of Achievement and an ONR (Office of Naval Research) Medal from the United States Navy and Marine Corps, as well as a Certificate of Achievement and cash prize from Varian Medical Systems. 

  • Elementary School 1450 Leigh Avenue
  • San Jose, CA 95125 408.559.4400
  • Junior High 100 Skyway Drive, Ste. 130
  • San Jose, CA 95111 408.513.2460
  • High School 100 Skyway Drive, Ste. 110
  • San Jose, CA 95111 408.513.2400
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