Young children learn best through doing. Abstract thoughts and concepts are difficult for them to grasp because they primarily learn about the world around them by experiencing it through their senses. For this reason it is important to focus science lessons around things that they can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell so that they are continually immersed in science as they discover all sorts of new and different things about the world around them, how things work and about themselves and others. These types of discoveries are science in a very real way.
Our science program is discovery-based with strong attention to safety and proper tool use in the laboratory. We build confident and caring young scientists who take a systematic approach with emphasis on learning how to observe, asking questions and sharing discoveries.
Science first comes to life in Early Education with interactive, hands-on learning through a dedicated Preschool garden. This introduction to earth science is explored through art and sensory activities that discuss plants, what they need to grow, why we need plants, and through observation of seasonal and environmental changes. Students learn about the scientific method and showcase their learning in a collaborative Science Fair with Middle School students each spring.
The Lower School Science lab facilitates deeper understanding of scientific knowledge and allows students to build on and apply the concepts they learn in the classroom with the interactive, hands-on activities conducted in the lab. Kindergarten through fifth grade students visit the lab once a week to work independently and in collaborative groups to construct and challenge their understanding of the world through research, experimentation, observation, data collection, analysis, and reflection. The scientific method is infused in each lab activity, at an age appropriate level. Students construct an interactive science notebook which records their thinking, understanding, work, and progress throughout the entire school year. The Lower School Science lab is equipped with digital microscopes, netbooks, traditional microscopes, organic and inorganic specimens from around the world, and mini habitats with live animals, all of which are integrated into the units of inquiry for each grade level. Another component of the Lower School Science lab is the outdoor garden classroom. Students plant and care for their own organic plants and learn about water conservation using rain barrels to water the water wise gardens.
The student in Middle Years Sciences continues to grow an awareness of the environment and a sense of responsibility for stewardship to the Earth. At the heart of lessons in Earth, Life, and Physical Science lie explanations to the natural world. Dedicated science teachers provide open inquiry with technology, engineering, and mathematics integrated in everyday lessons. Student proficiency in Science knowledge, practices, and applications progress throughout the Middle Years Program and students engage in the behaviors of scientists. Weekly 90 minute blocks allow students to do scientific inquiry and think creatively and reflect on their experiences. Veracity and moral reasoning, ethics in science are on-going discussions in this learning community. During longer lab blocks, students find opportunities both collaboratively and as individuals to take content knowledge and apply to a situation. Hands-on demonstrations stem from questions posed by teachers in hand crafted unit planners help students bring the body of knowledge and application of skills to the next performance level. Independent investigations each year require students to ask their own question and define safe methods for data collections. All students in Middle School Sciences document their methods and findings using a science journal. In addition, several times throughout the school year students type formal lab reports complete with a Bibliography page referencing sources used during research.
Example of open scientific inquiry in the MYP Sciences:
- Year One students engineer river systems using powered pumps and stream tables to build models of alluvial fans and apply theories about runoff and the changing surface of Earth.