Science

The science program stresses a hands-on approach aimed at developing curiosity, an understanding of the world around and within us, laboratory skills, along with keen powers of observation and analysis. Class and lab work involve hypothesizing, experiment design, measurement, data collection and interpretation, and formulation of conclusions.

Grade 5 - Introduction to Science

FEEL → Forensics, Engineering, Environmental/Life Science What happened here? How did this happen? 5th graders will take on the role of a CSI as they use keen powers of observation and analyze the evidence to figure out “Who did it?” in the first term of this course. Topics will include fingerprinting, document/handwriting analysis, and DNA analysis. In the second term, students will be introduced to our Collaborative Design Lab and investigate some of the ways that they can affect change in the world through the engineering and design process. This portion of the course emphasizes the skills of iteration, creative problem-solving, collaboration, and empathy. In the final term, students will make Ponkapoag Pond their classroom as they complete a full survey of the area and evaluate the conditions of this wetland and its surrounding area. Overall, students will be challenged to think critically about the impact we have on the world around us and develop an appreciation for the complexity and importance of maintaining our environment.

Grade 6 - Marine Science

The 6th grade course serves as an introduction to science with a focus on marine ecosystems. The course begins with a discussion of basic ecology and how present day Earth came to be. The students will then apply this information to general topics in oceanography before diving into three distinct units on sea turtles, coral reef systems, and whales. Students will be challenged to think critically about how Earth’s systems are interrelated and will develop an understanding and appreciation for the complexity and importance of the ocean. Scientific skills such as observing, inferring, and hypothesizing will be emphasized to give students a strong scientific foundation in preparation for future scientific studies.

Grade 7 - Developing Scientific Skills

The purpose of the 7th grade course is to help students understand how scientists work. Through guided inquiries on a variety of topics, students will develop laboratory, communication, and critical-thinking skills in a hands-on laboratory setting. This course begins with the scientific method, the metric system, and measurements. Students will apply these skills throughout the year as they confront topics in physics, climate science, and weather. The course also includes an introduction to robotics during which students find their own solutions to a variety of programming challenges. The overall general focus of this course is on improving observational skills in order to help inform the experimental design process. Students will work collaboratively to apply their skills to many different investigations and find ways to communicate their results to others. The course aims to generate excitement, develop skills, and encourage a student's natural sense of curiosity while building a foundation for future science courses.

Grade 8 - Health & Human Physiology

Students explore human anatomy and physiology from a systems perspective covering the structure, function, and diseases of various body systems. Emphasis is placed on how to maintain health and how to cope with the changes the body goes through during adolescence. The functionality of many of the body systems is exhibited through a variety of laboratory sessions and student investigations. Computer skills are enhanced and integrated throughout the coursework in a variety of different projects. The students will have an introduction to the systems of the human body, with the expectations of mastering basic information of each system. While students will need to memorize a significant amount of material, the course's focus is more on learning and improving independent science skills. At the conclusion of the year, all students should have a better understanding of how their body works, what they can do to keep it healthy, and what the consequences are for making unhealthy decisions.

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