The purpose of teaching science at the Lower School is to instill in students an appreciation for the process and content of science. Students study science using a hands-on, inquiry-based approach. This approach allows students to develop and use process skills in order to gain a scientific body of knowledge. Such skills include observing, comparing, classifying, measuring, predicting, inferring, communicating, formulating hypotheses, designing investigations, collecting and interpreting data, and recognizing variables.
In Beginners, science is taught by the classroom teachers and is integrated into social studies, language arts, math, and art activities.
In Kindergarten through Grade 4, students meet with science specialists in small groups and balanced attention is given to following the main branches of science: life science, earth science, chemistry, and physics. Sample topics from these grades include acids and bases, insects, magnets, geology, electricity, bones, and growing seeds.
In Grades 5 and 6, science classes include lectures, discussions, hands-on activities, and labs. In Grade 5, the units of study are forest ecology, oceanology, and astronomy. As part of the oceanology unit, the students visit Project Oceanology in Groton, Conn., for two days and survey the Long Island Sound on shore and aboard their research vessel, the EnviroLab II. In Grade 6, the science program includes an introduction to cells and a survey of elementary human anatomy and physiology. This curriculum provides students with a comprehensive overview of the human respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and reproductive systems and addresses health issues affecting these body systems.