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The science curriculum at the Campus School is conceptualized as a vehicle for students to assume the role of scientists as they engage in the scientific process. One of the goals of the science curriculum is to help students understand inquiry as the means of scientific investigation and problem solving. Another is to help students understand that scientific knowledge is organized around fundamental principles and concepts and that it is ever changing. The final goal is to help students understand that the work of scientists is to look critically at existing knowledge and, through collaborative inquiry, to expand and refine scientific theories and knowledge. To accomplish these goals the science curriculum is organized into strands. One strand focuses on science content. Another strand is designed to teach scientific inquiry, focusing on how scientists expand and refine their knowledge. Both strands offer opportunities to integrate other subject areas including social studies, art, and technology.

Content units are conceptually rich, age appropriate, and of high interest to children. Through these units students learn how significant scientific information is organized around important concepts. In second grade, for example, students learn about ecosystems as they study a local pond. Concepts such as interdependence, life cycles, food chains and webs, and water cycles are explored. In third grade a study of rivers focusing on the Connecticut River, extends students’ knowledge of ecosystems and adds a geological component in which students explore gravity, water flow, and the reasons a river valley changes over time. In sixth grade a study of simple machines develops the scientific concepts of work, friction and inertia, and, through a parallel study of invention, shows how scientific ideas develop over time and the impact they have on our society. Content units involve students in a rich set of activities: field work, modeling, experimenting, museum visits, and classroom visits by area scientists. Many of these units involve research projects through which students learn how to effectively use a variety of reference materials and to consolidate and extend their knowledge through presentations and written reports.

Inquiry units are designed to help students understand how scientific knowledge is developed. Through these units students learn that scientific knowledge is based on a process of asking good questions, gathering evidence, organizing and interpreting data, and drawing conclusions. In the first grade, for example, students work with a system of magnets. They learn to set up “fair tests” to gather evidence relevant to their questions or predictions about the behavior of magnets. They then examine test results and discuss the quality of their evidence before finally deciding if they can draw reasonable conclusions about the ways in which magnets behave. In each succeeding year students engage in inquiry focusing on different systems such as liquids, pendulums, ramps, propulsion, and electrical circuits. Through guided discussions students grow in their ability to formulate questions and to understand systems of variables, the concept of reliable evidence, the need for multiple trials, accurate measurement, the collection of good data, and many other features of good scientific inquiry.

 


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Open House on Saturday, October 25th, 9:30 am - 11:00 am for prospective kindergarten through second grade students and their families. For more information. - click here

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