The Science program strives to nurture student curiosity, interest, and excitement about phenomena in the natural world. Through a hands-on inquiry process, we prepare scientifically-literate citizens who evaluate information with an analytical approach to making informed decisions as members of our local and global communities.
Our Lower School STEM science program, in collaboration with the homeroom, expands students’ sense of wonder and curiosity in the science that surrounds us. Using provocations to evoke creativity, questions, discussions, and ideas, along with open-ended explorations, students construct meaning and revise their understanding as they dig deeper into an idea and learn to collaborate with others. In cultivating an appreciation for the natural world, Lower School students study the different OES ecosystems through monthly nature walks, and by engaging in the habits of a naturalist. Other science explorations about chemical and physical properties, earth and space, weather, energy, and engineering continue to foster students’ excitement in developing scientific thinking.
The Middle School science program fosters a spirit of collaboration and positivity in communicating ideas. Sixth graders focus on fundamental skills and the role science plays in the welfare of local communities. The seventh grade explores Earth as a system and its interacting components. Eighth graders use science and engineering design processes to examine the interactions of our world with modern society. The inquiry process in sixth and seventh grades goes from teacher-driven to a more student-led experience as young people investigate topics that they select for independent research projects.
Students follow a core sequence of physics, chemistry, and biology, and several elective courses are offered covering more advanced topics. The emphasis in all courses is to teach the relevant course content and practice the skills associated with the scientific and engineering design processes, with a focus on applications to real-world investigations. We believe students’ learn science best by doing science. Students engage in scientific inquiry by developing testable questions, identifying and prioritizing relevant evidence, analyzing and interpreting data, formulating evidence-based explanations, and effectively communicating their findings using multiple modes of representation. These practices foster critical thinking, problem-solving, and scientific literacy. Finally, a critical component of the OES science program is the independent research project completed in each of the core classes.