The Science Department encourages students to develop and expand their scientific literacy through a broad spectrum of courses and provides opportunities for hands-on learning, experimentation, and the mastery of the content of science, as well as an appreciation of the implications for science in everyday life. The Science Department is dedicated to providing all students a solid foundation in biology, physics, and chemistry. Course content reflects the view that science is most significantly a problem-solving activity that encompasses the “Three P’s” - posing questions, problem solving, and marshaling evidence to put forth a persuasive argument. The science program emphasizes basic concepts, facts, how new knowledge is discovered and validated, the process of science, and the influence of science on society. We promote scientific literacy by providing students with opportunities to acquire and utilize critical thinking skills and knowledge of science and technology.
“Science education is a critical component of education for the 21st century. Most policy makers and educators agree that scientific literacy is essential for all citizens in an increasingly technological world. At the same time, science education is essential to meeting the nation’s needs for scientists and engineers in an era of growing global competition in research, development, and technological innovation.” - America’s Lab Report (NRC, 2005)
All courses offered in the Science Department meet the "g" requirement for admission to the University of California; all courses in biology, physics, and chemistry meet the "d" requirement.
Science 6: Topics in Science
The sixth grade science curriculum is designed to foster curiosity and a love for science while teaching and reinforcing study skills. The focus is an exploration of earth science. Here the students investigate heat and convection, plate tectonics, earthquakes and volcanoes, the rock cycle and erosion, and global warming. Students are encouraged to develop critical thinking and an understanding of the importance of a scientific world view. The last unit is archaeology in which students are taught about methods of dating artifacts, the importance of archaeological finds and digs, and the reconstruction of a civilization. Each of these units is strongly tied to other sixth grade content areas (English, geography, etc.).
Science 8: Physical Science
This course includes a survey of physical science concepts such as forces, energy, Newton's Laws of Motion, optics, and electricity and magnetism. Students are also introduced to matter, atomic structure, chemical reactions, and the periodic table. Physical Science students also design and build robots each quarter as a compliment to the concepts taught.
Science 7: Life Science
Life Science examines the defining features of living things. Topics include animal behavior, evolutionary theory, cell structure and function, the chemical basis of life, and reproduction and development. Readings for this course are designed to give the student a different kind of experience in learning about life science, giving students an opportunity to practice important thinking skills as they journey though history in search of how living things work. Students practice posing hypotheses, designing experiments, and interpreting results.