Science for children, like mathematics, is an active process of inquiry. Meaningful science learning in the early childhood years happens when teachers plan activities around “big ideas” or concepts that children are developmentally primed to acquire.
Our teachers plan specific activities and create physical environments that support children's inquiries and investigations. In order for children to develop a true understanding of concepts, we provide them with ample time to explore materials, make predictions and create and revise theories. Our teachers help children consolidate and deepen their learning by encouraging them to reflect on, document and share their experiences.
Science at Lesley Ellis is a two-year “looping curriculum,” including topics such as human bodyworks and robotics. Like much of our curriculum, our science program focuses on experiential learning and often involves children working in small groups.
Teachers prepare focused, guided investigations as well as provide time for open-ended exploration. Students are regularly engaged in activities that require them to work collaboratively, think independently, experiment and problem-solve. For example, a class might be tasked with collaboratively identifying a “mystery substance” based on observation, measurement and research. At another time of year, they might be putting the finishing touches on a blueprint for launching a tennis ball from one side of the classroom to the other while avoiding obstacles. And later on, they might be wiring a model house or constructing their own flashlight.
The middle school science curriculum is designed with students’ development as critical thinkers and problem solvers in mind. The emphasis is inquiry-based, giving students the opportunity to apply scientific concepts in relevant, real-world contexts. Middle school students’ scientific study continues lab activities begun in earlier grades, although with more responsibility for the design and implementation of experiments, collecting and analyzing data, forming and testing conclusions, and writing and refining lab reports. As students progress through the middle school, this lab work is increasingly balanced with study of science theory and skills development, helping to put into context and to systematize their laboratory experiences. Students participate in discussions and demonstrations to show depth of understanding and reflection, all with the goal of developing fluency in the science subjects studied and in the scientific method of inquiry. Areas of study each year balance the physical, life and earth sciences.