The Science Department strives to promote active learning as a model for lifelong self-education. The pursuit of scientific process and knowledge, development of learning skills, and enhancement of positive social interactions are all part of the science curriculum. The content of our program is composed of fundamental and powerful ideas that form the structure of the four disciplines: earth science, biology, chemistry, and physics.
The acquisition of knowledge builds upon general concepts, scientific methodology, and processes learned in 7th and 8th grades to more complex conceptual ideas and mathematical formulations beginning in 9th grade. We offer a variety of rigorous courses in high school to accommodate the learning styles of individual students. All levels relate scientific principles to the real world, foster concern for the environment, promote problem-based and inquiry-based learning, and nurture informed decision-making. Social values such as respect for others and cooperation with peers are developed and reinforced in both laboratory and classroom settings. Frequent work with laboratory partners and teams cultivates positive social interactions and models the teamwork inherent in scientific endeavors. Values are examined and strengthened through open discussion of controversial topics.
Our science courses are not “tracked” in the traditional sense. For example, students can take a regular course in 9th grade and move to an accelerated course in 10th and return to a regular course in 11th; they can move between levels to best match their interests, talents, and developmental stage. While maintaining a laboratory focus in our biology and chemistry college-level courses as well as in our advanced studies of ecology and modern physics, seniors may also choose to experience a project-based introduction to engineering or broaden their perspectives in an interdisciplinary seminar on science and ethics.