The Lower School STEM program encourages students to ask questions and to identify those areas of personal interest that will launch them into a lifelong appreciation for science, technology, engineering, and math. For one student, it is finding organisms under rocks that takes her to a deeper understanding of ecology. For another, it is musing about the planets that stirs her fascination with the cosmos. Students apply science process skills by thinking innovatively, formulating hypotheses, designing experiments, drawing conclusions and taking risks. Science process skills are based on a series of discoveries. The core curriculum is a student-centered, problem-solving approach to learning. In STEM, working in a collaborative, cooperative manner is emphasized. Students understand that there are many solutions to any given challenge or problem, and all members of the group are encouraged to share their ideas.
Stuart’s Kindergarten STEM program utilizes and builds upon the strategies of the Think Math! program by incorporating the project based learning approach in math, science, engineering and technology. Working with calculators, cash registers,money, and banking insures real world application.
Working in our Kinder Garden is a theme throughout the year and includes rich experiences in nature, with water, insects animals and working with the tools of the lab. Special focus is given to recording observations, scientific thinking, questioning, exploration and documentation.
Technology is seamlessly integrated throughout the day, reinforcing movement, cooperation, projects, information gathering, writing and digital citizenship. Students are expected to be comfortable using everything from cd players to ipads to the desktop and Smartboard.
Engineering is incorporated into the daily life of a Kindergartner though blocks, legos, manipulatives, and crafts. Special focus is given towards concepts of solving engineering challenges with focus on balance, scale and representational drawing.
Life, earth, and physical science concepts are introduced utilizing a variety of resources including the program Engineering is Elementary. Engineering is integrated with science and math. Engineering units are correlated with science concepts and themes. Math is used to gather and analyze data. Engaging students in authentic experiences enriches math, science, engineering and technology content. The STEM curriculum in grades 1-4 fosters problem-solving skills and encompases project-based learning. The inventor/maker mindset is an important component of the STEM program. Children are fascinated with building and taking things apart. The active learner is at the center of the learning process.
Fifth grade science encourages our students to begin seeing the world like scientists and engineers. Students will learn the importance of observing phenomena, asking questions, recording data, and analyzing results through hands-on experimentation. Topics from across life, earth, and physical science disciplines are integrated to build a firm foundation for continued science learning. Topics include Earth’s place in the solar system, Earth’s systems, animal adaptations, matter and energy in ecosystems, waves, light, and sound, and electricity. A strong emphasis is placed on scientific applications in the real world. Through the integration of technology and the engineering process in many units, students will research and identify possible solutions to real-world challenges and then create and test a prototype of their design, making improvements as needed.
In sixth grade science, students delve deeply into the world around us by exploring the applications of structure and function in the real world. From the tiniest atoms to the most damaging hurricane, students will wonder what makes the world around us work the way it does and dissect our questions to find answers. In this integrated curriculum, students will explore topics in life, earth, and physical sciences as well as technology and engineering design. Topics include states of matter, water as a natural resource, cells, microbes, weather and climate, and simple machines. Throughout the course, students will practice important science skills including: making observations, gathering data, developing hypotheses, designing controlled experiments, analyzing results and drawing conclusions. Class activities stress the scientific method of problem solving and allow students to see how inquiry and experimentation are the foundations of scientific investigation.
Seventh grade science is driven by several essential themes in life, earth and physical sciences. We will enhance our studies using the McGraw Hill/Glencoe Integrated iSCIENCE textbook series. This course is designed to give young scientists a greater appreciation of the world around them and beyond, as well as a deeper understanding of how scientists think by becoming scientists themselves through exploration in both indoor and outdoor classrooms. Utilizing a blended approach of hands-on experimentation and digitally interactive technology, our seventh graders embark on a journey to enhance their prior knowledge of making observations and gathering scientific data into meaningful conclusions centered on personal and global responsibility. Student investigations are based upon cell biology, human body systems, the periodic table of the elements, atomic structure, plate tectonics, atmospheric science, forces and fluids. A variety of scientific skills are taught this year, such as exploring cutting-edge science articles; gathering, utilizing, and analyzing data and observations; creating high quality graphs and tables; researching and designing experiments; creating collaborative lab reports; presenting their work in a variety of modes; and giving and receiving constructive feedback. At the end of seventh grade, students will have learned and cultivated some of the fundamental skills and techniques to “do” science by conducting experiments in class and performing long-term projects. These projects require student collaboration and help students develop their organizational skills. Throughout the year, students will gain an appreciation of science and nature, as well as study their role as stewards of the environment - and beyond. During the year, students prepare and present a science independent research project (SISP) focusing on a question of interest drawn from across their three years of Middle School science curriculum.
Eighth grade science provides an opportunity for students to take a deeper dive into the three major studies of life, earth, and physical science. We will enhance our studies using the McGraw Hill/Glencoe Integrated iSCIENCE textbook series. This course is designed to empower students to employ the skills they learned in previous years to enhance their abilities to become capable, creative scientists and effective caretakers of the world around them. Utilizing a blended approach including hands-on experimentation and digitally interactive technology, our eighth graders will continue to strive to answer important questions and solve engaging problems. These exercises are all intended to foster the idea that our science students are destined to become leaders in the quest for a healthier environment on planet Earth. Student investigations are based upon ecosystems, environmental impacts, human physiology, genetics, motion, chemical bonds, chemical reactions and equations; the fossil record; continental drift and geologic history. A variety of scientific skills are taught this year, such as exploring cutting-edge science articles; gathering, utilizing, and analyzing data and observations; creating high quality graphs and tables; using basic concepts in statistics to determine the validity of collected data; researching and designing experiments; creating collaborative lab reports; presenting their work in a variety of modes; and giving and receiving constructive feedback. During the course of eighth grade, students learn how to work as scientists via successfully conducting experiments that are not only generated by the instructor, but that are also generated by themselves. These projects require student collaboration and help students develop their organizational, research and communication skills. Throughout the year, students will continue to foster an appreciation of science and nature, as well as study their role as stewards of the environment - and beyond. Toward the end of the year, students prepare and present a science independent research project (SISP) focusing on a question of interest drawn from across their three years of Middle School science curriculum. Because they will be conducting their SISP for a second year in a row, students will have the opportunity to not only further hone their skills using the scientific method, but also the ability to build on relevant concepts acquired during the previous school year.
Full Year Courses
Three years of lab science are required for graduation including Biology, Chemistry, and a level of Physics.
The Science Department seeks to challenge and inspire students to learn by doing through experiential activities and collaboration. Our focus is on developing inquiring, open-minded learners by providing opportunities to see, opportunities to do, and opportunities to experience - all injected with a healthy dose of innovation and creativity. Students are given opportunities to engage with the scientific process through the use of real world examples in a project based format. It is recommended that any student who is considering a career in science take a course in each of the three major disciplines: biology, chemistry, and physics.
Students electing an AP science course should expect to spend a minimum of six hours each week outside of class on homework and study. An ability to work and learn independently is a valuable asset in these classes. All students are required to take the corresponding AP exam in May.
Required for grade 9. Open to new students in grades 10 and 11 who have not taken high school biology.
This full-year course in biological science covers such topics as molecular biology, genetics, physiology, evolution and the origins of life, and ecology. Students will learn how to apply the scientific method to laboratory analysis and data sets. Considerable laboratory work is required.
Open to grades 11-12 Prerequisites: B or higher in Biology and Chemistry, or A- or higher in AP Environmental Science; and the signature of the Science Department Chair.
This second year course in biology uses a college text and prepares students to take the Advanced Placement Exam in Biology. There is a strong emphasis on laboratory work, inquiry based instruction, mathematical applications and lab design.
Open to grades 10-12.
Chemistry is the study of matter and the changes it undergoes. Students will learn about the history of the atom, stoichiometry, gas laws, periodic law and trends, and chemical bonding. This course also includes current topics in chemistry and their application to our lives. Considerable laboratory work is required.
Open to grades 10-12. Prerequisites: Honors Biology grade of B+ or higher or Biology grade of A- or higher, Algebra I with a grade of A or higher, currently enrolled either Algebra II, Honors Algebra II, or any level of Precalculus, and the signature of the STEM Curriculum Coordinator.
This course is geared for students with superior achievement in math and science. It includes such topics as chemical reactions, stoichiometry, atomic theory, electron configuration, chemical bonding, and reaction equilibrium. Considerable problem-solving and laboratory work are required.
Open to grades 11-12. Prerequisites: a grade of B+ or higher in Honors Chemistry; enrollment in (or satisfactory completion of) Precalculus; A- or higher in Chemistry with additional summer work and completion of the Honors Chemistry final; and the signature of the STEM Curriculum Coordinator.
This second-year course will prepare students to take the Advanced Placement Exam in Chemistry. Material will be presented at the college level, and the Advanced Placement Curriculum for Chemistry will be followed. Emphasis is placed on problem-solving and inquiry based laboratory work and instruction.
AP ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
Open to grades 11-12. Prerequisites: successful completion of at least two years of high school laboratory science (one year of Biology, one year of Chemistry); a grade of B or higher in Algebra; and the signature of the STEM Curriculum Coordinator.
The focus of Advanced Placement Environmental Science is the real science behind environmental problems and issues. Laboratory field investigations will constitute an important portion of the course. Topics covered will include matter and energy flow, population dynamics, renewable and nonrenewable resources, environmental quality and pollution, environment and society, decision-making, and choices for the future.
Open to grades 10-12. Prerequisite: Biology
The Integrated Science course will invite students to explore concepts in earth, forensic, and the life sciences through an inquiry-based instruction model. This hands-on course will allow students to see science through the application of science to law enforcement and investigation. Topics to be discussed will include the chemical and physical analysis of evidence, DNA and fingerprint analysis, and the use of deductive reasoning and logic. In addition, this course is designed to provide students with the theoretical and philosophical understanding of the investigatory process. The history of crime and criminals will also be a major topic of discussion.
Open to grades 11-12. Prerequisite: Chemistry with a grade of C+ or higher, Algebra II with a grade of C+ or higher, and the signature of the STEM Curriculum Coordinator.
Students investigate explanations about the physical world around them as they study the interactions between matter and energy. The course includes topics such as motion, forces, energy, light, sound, and electricity. Students learn physics actively through projects, labs, and real-world challenges as they collect, analyze, and interpret data. Students have opportunities to develop their scientific literacy and apply their new physics knowledge across disciplines. The course is geared to be conceptual, with an emphasis on laboratory exploration and less emphasis on mathematical applications.
Students should have a comfortable working knowledge of algebra.
Open to grades 11 and 12. Prerequisites: A- or higher in Chemistry OR B+ or higher in Honors Chemistry and B+ higher in Honors Algebra II -OR- A- or higher in Algebra II -OR- B or higher in Precalculus, and the signature of the STEM Curriculum Coordinator.
In this class, students investigate explanations about the physical world around them as they study the interactions between matter and energy. The course includes topics such as motion, forces, energy, light, sound, and electricity. Students learn physics actively through projects, labs, and real-world challenges as they collect, analyze, and interpret data. Students have opportunities to develop their scientific literacy and apply their new physics knowledge across disciplines. The course contains considerable analysis and mathematical problem solving with an emphasis on laboratory exploration.
AP PHYSICS 1
Open to grades 11-12. Prerequisites: B + in Honors Physics OR A- in Physics, OR concurrently enrolled in Honors Precalculus or any calculus course; and the signature of the Science Department Chair.
Open to grades 11-12. Prerequisites: B+ in Honors Physics OR A- in Physics, OR concurrently enrolled in Honors Precalculus or any calculus course; and the signature of the STEM Curriculum Coordinator.
In AP Physics I, students will uncover physical principles through active investigation of concepts and real world challenges. During the course, students will use their observation and analysis skills to learn about topics such as optics, waves, and electricity. The AP physics course contains considerable analysis and mathematical problem solving. It is recommended for students with high ability in math and science. There is a strong emphasis on laboratory work, inquiry-based instruction, and lab design
Open to grades 10 – 12. Prerequisite: Biology, Concurrently enrolled in Chemistry
The Biomedical Technologies elective course allows students to dive into the principles of engineering and technology through the context of biological systems and the human body. In this course, students will explore the requirements and qualifications of medical devices, operate state-of-the-art biotechnology tools and equipment, and develop 3D models using CAD. Students will further understand the economical and ethical implications of biotechnology as it relates to today’s world. Students will gain a better understanding of how modern biotechnology research affects their everyday lives today and how it will influence their future.
ENGINEERING AND DESIGN PRINCIPLES
Open to grades 10-12. Prerequisite: Biology, Concurrently enrolled in Chemistry
The engineering design and fabrication elective allows students to understand and apply the engineering design process through a series of hands-on demonstrations and activities. Throughout the trimester, the students will work in teams to think and design like engineers. Students will learn fundamental engineering principles and apply them through interactive design, simulation, and assembly. Students will design a part using CAD Software, fabricate it in the makerspace, and test its properties in the real world.
Open to grades 9-12. No prerequisites. Robotics will fulfill one required science credit and is offered first trimester only. In the second and third trimesters, it will be a required club.
Become a member of SPARKS 4936 Team. This course is completely student-centered and project-based as students learn the basic engineering principles needed to compete as a FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team. The course will consist of hands-on learning in the main areas of robotics not limited to: the engineering design process, power tools and safety, mechanical system, computer aided drawing, electronics, programming and system integration. Students will focus on teamwork, project management, and problem solving to create a working robot for the challenge. In addition, students learn marketing and business management, as they become full participants in FIRST Robotics.
Students will be required to participate in aspects of the competitions and work sessions/team meetings after school and weekends when designated by the team.
Upper School Chair