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.
The eighth grade science curriculum emphasizes boys as active learners who engage in hands-on, laboratory-based assignments. We want students to experience science through all of the senses. Boys participate in experimentation, see demonstrations, work cooperatively, and experience creative problem solving. Here, boys think like scientists, take ownership of their learning, and intellectually step outside the classroom boundaries to better understand the world. In addition to a unit on evolution, the overarching theme in eighth grade is physical science, where students hone their understanding of the physical world. The year culminates with the “Sludge Test,” a challenge that requires boys to use their knowledge of lab techniques to separate, identify, and quantify a sample containing unknowns. These fundamental aspects help prepare students for chemistry, biology, and physics at the Upper School.