We view a science curriculum as more than imparting facts; we believe children should be involved in an active process of discovery whenever possible. A variety of experiments and experiences lead children to a greater comprehension of scientific concepts as well as process. Our thematic studies frequently encompass science topics. For example, during a Marine Biology Study, students receive lessons about taxonomy, tidal zones, environmental issues, etc.
In addition to science lessons and activities involving the whole class, students frequently research topics both independently and in collaboration with other students. Each year students present a “Science Expo” related to a thematic study of physics, earth science, etc. Students read and take notes about their various science topics and teach the class via oral presentations, visual displays, demonstrations, and hands on lessons. Teaming with one another to plan how to convey key concepts underscores the importance of solid comprehension of their science topics.
Parent volunteers with science expertise frequently provide lessons to Heritage students that can include microscope usage, plant studies, ecology, biology, etc. For example, a parent who is also a biology professor brought science labs to Heritage when we studied the senses; a dietitian gave a presentation about nutrition, complete with a variety of activities and food tasting opportunities; a dermatologist dad taught students about the skin, sun protection, etc; a cardiovascular surgeon let students have (gloved) hands on experience handling pigs’ hearts; a massage therapist parent taught about muscles, posture, and stress management; a water quality specialist took students to measure oxygen levels in local streams. Parents serve as marvelous resources as well as inspiring role models whose love of science led them to their career paths.
Our location within the new sustainable development at Fairview inspires investigations into issues that impact our community’s ecology, such as wetlands preservation. Wetlands border our school property, and ample fields, trees, and plants provide abundant opportunities for nature study. A walk down the road might bring us a close encounter with a preying mantis, a glimpse of the deer that still inhabit these fields, or a view of the red tailed hawks overhead. What better way to connect children to science than to explore our own “backyard?”
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