Students study the following life and physical science topics during their kindergarten year: the five senses, the seasons, nutrition and healthy habits, the polar and desert biomes, and the life cycles of people, plants, insects, and animals.
Students study the rain forest to explore diversity of life. In Earth science students develop an understanding of how land changes over time. Primary students observe and classify matter as a part of physical science.
Students ask questions, create a hypothesis, and design experiments to test their hypotheses. Cooperative groups work together to hypothesize and test for evidence with each student responsible for a task. Each unit compliments the four areas of science: Earth science by studying the Chesapeake Bay, life science by studying plant development, Health by studying nutrition and healthy habits, and Physical science by studying sound and light energy.
The science curriculum is designed to give students the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities including investigations, experiments, and journal writing that continue to build upon their current knowledge of the scientific method. The science curriculum is also designed to help prepare students for Middle School lab science. Students explore units in meteorology, matter and change, body systems, and family life. Students are assessed in science through their science journal work, class participation, homework, quizzes and tests. The textbook Harcourt Science (2005) as well as materials from Delta Science Modules are used as resources for all units. Other units of study also utilize materials from Delta Science Modules.
Science at the Middle School level promotes a broad understanding and interest in the many areas of scientific study. The main focus is to teach students to effectively problem solve. Students will be able to define a problem, design a way of testing the problem, and then come to a conclusion about the problem based on the evidence they have collected. Throughout middle school science, the emphasis is on the scientific method, accurate data collection, and good report writing. Students will also learn how to gather information from various sources such as books at the internet to draw their own conclusions based upon the sources. Instruction is supplemented regularly with labs, demonstrations, and hands-on activities that provide students with concrete examples of concepts discussed in class. Technology is integrated throughout the science curriculum with reinforcement in the computer lab.
Science instruction concentrates on four major areas of science: Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Physics. Emphasis will be placed on mankind’s impact in these areas such as engineering, pollution, and agriculture. Throughout the three years of middle school, the curriculum will touch on these areas and each successive year will build upon the last.
Each year starts with a short unit on the scientific method and proper report writing and builds upon the last as the students’ problem solving skills increase. In sixth grade, students are given a simple format and the importance of each section is discussed. In seventh grade, students must write in third person and focus on detailed analysis. In eighth grade, students write an abstract for their reports and discuss possible improvements to future investigations.
The first unit of study is Physics, specifically motion. Students learn about Newton’s Laws with activities such as an egg drop, where they must protect an egg from breaking given a set of parameters. Cells and simple life comprise the next unit in which students learn about the building blocks of life. Microscope care and use are incorporated into the labs in this unit. The last unit of sixth grade study is astronomy. Students learn about Earth’s relationship to the moon, sun, and other planets in our solar system. The unit culminates with students learning about rocketry while constructing and testing water bottle rockets that then compete for distance and height.
Students begin the year exploring the world of Biology. This introduction to life on our planet starts with the smallest of organisms including bacteria, viruses, protists, and fungi then continues into plants and animals. Diverse animals from sponges to mammals are researched. Comparisons are constantly drawn between organisms and how they each differently tackle life’s challenges. The second term uses the background knowledge of life forms from term one to investigate ecology. Students discover and analyze populations, communities, ecosystems in the form of a fish pond on campus. The year ends with a geology unit, exploring the Earth’s interior, plate tectonics, minerals, and rocks.
The first unit of study is an introduction to chemistry through an investigation of atoms, bonding, chemical reactions, acids, bases, and solutions. Labs relating to these concepts enhance these units. The second unit is an engineering project where students design and build a balsa wood bridge given a set of constraints as if bidding on a real life bridge. Concepts addressed in the project range from statics to cost analysis. Students’ final designs are tested in front of the whole school. The year finishes with a unit of meteorology with attention spent on the weather patterns of the local area. Topics addressed during this unit include thunderstorms, hurricanes, and global weather patterns.