Once students reach Middle School, the hands-on learning continues with focused units in and content knowledge acquisition about biology, chemistry, engineering, geology, physics, and more.
Emphasis is placed on developing the scientific reasoning skills of observing, measuring, and identifying properties. Utilizing the brand new 2019 Smithsonian Science for the Classroom (SSftC) Science Curriculum, students are required to conduct an independent science fair project on a topic of their choosing. A comprehensive Geology unit prepares students for a one-week study trip to the Desert Southwest.
The curriculum focuses on Life Science topics which include the origins of life, evolution, characteristics and classification of organisms, ecology, behavior, immunity and disease, animal body systems, heredity and genetics, and botany. These topics are reinforced with extensive laboratory work, which is evaluated with a comprehensive practical exam at the end of the year. Methods include hands-on experiential learning employing scientific laboratory skills as well as learning from discussions and textbooks, emphasizing that science is a way of understanding the world. A major goal is preparation for high school biology courses. Classes are daily.
Physical Science serves as a serious introduction to the study of physics and chemistry. Topics covered include laws of motion, forms and uses of energy (heat, mechanical, nuclear, electrical, etc.), wave motion (sound and light), classification of matter (elements, compounds, mixtures), atomic structure and the periodic table, chemical bonding and reactions, and solutions of acids, bases, and salts. Laboratory work forms an integral part of Physical Science, as chemistry and especially physics are well suited to an inductive approach to learning. Emphasis is placed on quantitative analysis of data, especially graphing. Classes are daily.