In fifth grade, areas of study are space and flight, planet research, weather, light and the eye, robotics, the reproductive system, ecology and biomes. Activities include simulated space missions, the straw rocket engineering project, the shuttle glider builder, the sheep eye dissection, and the stream study.
The goal of sixth grade science is to keep the spark of fascination lit for each student who is already engaged in science and to find the spark for those who have yet to discover it! Units of study have four main components: encouraging initial curiosity; establishing a foundation of basic scientific knowledge; engaging in hands-on experiences to solidify and expand understanding; and exploring real-life, current applications. Areas of concentration are chemistry, magnetism, cell biology, genetics, and botany. The curriculum is flexible, allowing for adjustments to incorporate current events in a timely fashion. All boys have the opportunity to investigate topics of personal interest, and often teach the class what they have learned. During the year, students develop basic scientific inquiry skills such as making observations, inferences, and predictions, while being challenged to expand their critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills. Integration of other disciplines including math, history, languages, art, music, and drama occurs regularly, keeping the course lively and ever-changing. Sixth grade is a wonderful time to enhance students' natural curiosity about the world!
Seventh grade science is a thorough, student-driven, hands-on exploration of the science and the scientific process. Students are encouraged to take the role of the scientist through independent research, group discussions, experiment design, and data collection. Our curriculum builds on prior knowledge, connects to the real world and community, leads to a better understanding of the systems and processes in the world, emphasizes the role of humans on our planet, and pushes students to be inquisitive learners who are strong problem solvers and self-driven. Through problem and project-based learning, we explore topics such as plate tectonics, rocks and minerals, scale, time, deep space structures, the solar system, forces, Newton’s Laws, climate, biomes, light, and heat. It is our goal to prepare students for the rigorous demands of eighth grade and high school by encouraging inquiry, ingenuity, and imagination.
Two courses are offered. Both Eighth Grade Science and Intensive Eighth Grade Science are designed for boys who love science and include exciting, hands-on experiments, which cover an impressive range of concepts. Boys experiment, watch demonstrations, work cooperatively, and problem solve. Boys think like scientists, take ownership of their learning, and intellectually step outside the classroom to better understand the world. In Eighth Grade Science, in addition to a unit on evolution, the overarching theme is physical science, culminating with the Sludge Test, a challenge that requires boys to use lab techniques to separate, identify, and quantify an unknown sample. Intensive Eighth Grade Science covers these topics and also explores additional topics that require boys to process more challenging math concepts. The course moves at a faster pace. The fundamentals in both courses help prepare students for chemistry, biology, and physics at the upper school.