The Science Program at OES nurtures student curiosity, interest, and excitement about phenomena in the natural world through a multifaceted, inquiry process. They learn to think as scientists and engineers do, asking questions, making hypotheses, and doing hands on investigations with scientific equipment, materials and techniques for designing, measuring, experimenting, and building. In the process, students consider what it means to be scientifically literate citizens who practice informed skepticism and evaluate data responsibly in order to make ethical decisions as members of the local and global community. The Science Department recognizes the need for a basic but thorough science education for students in our increasingly technological world, specifically around five core cross-cutting strands.
- Scientific Process and Engineering Design as Inquiry Models
- Systems of Interconnectedness
- Energy & Matter
- Lab Skills & Safety
- Scientific Ethics and Science in Context
Students in the lower school explore science both as a way of learning, following their own questions and inquiries, and as a way of engaging the natural world that they experience. They encounter science in special modules outside of the self-contained classroom as well as in integrated classroom projects.
As they get older they begin to apply the skills, knowledge, and techniques to more individualized and collaborative projects.
Students in the Middle School take integrated science courses that help students connect their growing understandings to larger themes and practical applications. In each of the 6th through 8th grade classrooms students are exposed to a balance of life and physical science concepts with an emphasis on Earth Systems in the 7th grade. In 8th grade, students put their collaboration and lab skills to use with hands-on investigations and engineering challenges.
The Science Program at OES strives to nurture student curiosity, interest, and excitement about phenomena in the natural world. Through a multi-faceted inquiry process, we prepare scientifically literate citizens who evaluate information with an analytical approach to make informed decisions as members of the local and global community. Each course of the required three-year program (physics, chemistry, and biology), in which each course builds on the concepts of the previous in the sequence, is anchored in inquiry-based approaches that ask students to learn science by doing science. Independent research, group process, critical thinking, structured problem solving, and clear communication are honed in all science course offerings.
Each year, a significant portion of the grade 9–11 curriculum is rooted in the Science Research Project (SRP), which allows students to truly investigate a research question or engineering design project of their choosing while being supported and mentored by a science faculty member with expertise in relevant areas of research. Our programs’ dedication to inquiry and research is also evident in the labs and equipment students have access to on campus. Students share their work each year at the Aardvark Science Expo.
Seniors can choose from a diverse offering of semester-long electives to expand knowledge and skills that prepare students for the academic exploration they will experience in their college studies.