The Campus School of Carlow University Science Curriculum
Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4 Science Overview
Young children are naturally curious about the world around them and learn best when they are given opportunities to explore their environment. The pre-kindergarten curriculum is based on the PA Learning Standards for Early Childhood. The experiences lay the foundation for abstract and scientific thought.
Students are given the opportunity to:
- Recognize the difference between living and non-living things
- Identify physical characteristics of their families
- Discuss if an animal is a vertebrate or invertebrate
- Discuss the life cycle of animals
- Explore plant life
- Name the four seasons; the climate (weather) associated with that season
- Recognize difference types of matter (water, snow and ice)
- Explore magnetic and non-magnetic objects
- Use simple tools and equipment for investigation
- Make comparison among objects found in nature
- Explore the five senses
- Engage in experiments where children can gather data and make conclusions
- Identify parts of the body/the job of each body part
- Engage in cooking activities
The preschool science curriculum incorporates CIP – Children’s Invocation Project.
CIP in the preschool classroom consist of introducing the language and concepts of innovators, such as: persistence, questioning, noticing and inquiring.
The children are given time to be good innovators by: playing and exploring, collaborating with peers, speaking precisely and using their imaginations.
The children explore what makes something work? (Do – Happen) and begin to make scientific drawings.
Science is an integral element of the Montessori curriculum. Among other things, it represents a way of life; a clear thinking approach to gathering information and problem solving. The scope of the Montessori Science curriculum includes a sound introduction to botany, zoology, chemistry, physics, geology, and astronomy. Montessori does not separate science from the big picture formation of our world. Students consider the formation of the universe, development of the planet Earth, the delicate relations between living things and their physical environment and the balance within the web of life. These great lessons integrate astronomy, the earth sciences, and biology with history and geography. The Montessori approach to Science cultivates children’s fascination with the universe and helps them develop a lifelong interest in observing nature and discovering more about the world in which they live. Children are encouraged to observe, analyze, measure, classify, experiment and predict and to do so with a sense of eager curiosity and wonder. In Montessori, Science lessons incorporate a balanced, hands-on approach. With encouragement and a solid foundation, even very young children are ready and anxious to investigate their world, to wonder at the interdependence of living things, and explore the ways the physical universe works, and project how it all may have come to be.
Science in kindergarten focuses upon exploration and discovery. Children are encouraged to make observations and predictions, test their ideas, measure, make comparisons, and report and record results. They enjoy writing about their discoveries in science journals. Some of the topics we explore include: plants, animals, seasons, weather, motion, engineering, chemistry, states of matter, the organs of the human body, and outer space.
Science in first grade is full of exploration utilizing a hands-on approach. Students begin to observe experiment, investigate, predict and communicate their findings. Teaching these skills enhances and encourages the students’ natural sense of wonder about the world. Both fiction and nonfiction picture books are used for content and reinforcement of concepts taught. The students are encouraged to think like scientists and learn to value and respect the world around them.
Second graders become scientists by planning, predicting, observing, and analyzing. They continue to practice these skills while making play dough, building electrical circuits, and exploring animals. Each second grade student completes three research projects a year on spiders, penguins, and insects. Our other topics of study include the human body, electricity, chemical reactions, matter/atoms, and energy.
"Children are born investigators, studying, thinking, and building internal models of the world around them. Science is an extension of this natural curiosity to systematic investigation of the material world and the development of a body of knowledge and practices. Science is more than just a body of knowledge — it's a method of acquiring scientific concepts and principles. It also includes developing the ability to use tools, ranging from microscopes and rulers to computers and test tubes, and the ability to build and explain models, make predictions, and conduct scientific inquiry. Just as reading, writing, and mathematics involve the performance of complex practices, so does science."
In Third Grade, Science emphasis is placed on the inquiry process, developing investigative skills and understanding the nature of science.
Scientific Investigation - Students will learn the process of scientific investigation. Lessons will focus on the use of instruments to collect and analyze data, as well as comparing and contrasting observations, and using reference materials to obtain information. Effects on the Shape of the Earth - Students learn about processes that shape the earth. Lessons include factors of surface change, origins of small rocks, importance of the earth’s water, and recycling. Astronomy - Students will be taught astronomy through interactive lessons that cover the universe, galaxies, planetary motion, gravity, space rocks, and space exploration. Energy, Force & Motion - Students learn about energy, force, and motion. Lessons will focus on forms of energy, sources of heat, natural resources, renewable/nonrenewable resources, simple machines, and the idea that force causes change. Ecology - Students will gain a basic understanding of ecology through lessons that cover habitats, nature, the food chain, ecosystems, environmental threats, and extinction. Life / Environment Interact - Students learn about living organisms and how they interact with their environment through lessons that cover the link between animals and plants, how plants/animals react to the changing environment, vertebrates, invertebrates, and classification.
The Science curriculum provides the students opportunities for hands on exploration and activities to enable students to gain a well rounded knowledge of the science content. Students learn by doing. The hands on experiments and explorations will help to develop a deeper understanding of the science topics through such activities as observing, recording, predicting, and drawing conclusions.
Fourth grade science focuses on the world of living things, plants and their parts, animals as living things, electricity and magnetism, properties of matter and water and weather. This is also the year where students really focus on the scientific method and participate in the intermediate science fair! They will be mentored by the seventh and eighth graders throughout this process. This science curriculum allows students to explore and conduct many of their own experiments. Some of the hands on activities that they will be doing will be building circuits, creating electromagnets, performing various tests on the water from their homes, creating static electricity using the Van De Graf generator and conducting various tests to predict weather.
Fifth grade science focuses on exploration and research. The students will learn about the various structures of plants and animals, how living things interact, the skeletal and muscular systems, earth and its resources and motion and light energy. They will also be participating in the intermediate science fair with mentoring from the upper school students. The students will be working with Newton’s Laws of Motion and they will be designing and constructing their own rollercoasters after the unit ends!
UPPER SCHOOL SCIENCE
Although the curricular focus varies among the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes, a common thread is woven throughout. Primary emphasis is on discovery through problem solving using the scientific method. All investigations in the upper school follow the same process of: identifying the problem, researching, forming a hypothesis, developing and testing a procedure, collecting and analyzing data, and reporting the results. There are also many cross-curricular opportunities involving library research, English, and math. This method is also used to prepare for the annual Campus School Science Fair, and for other external competitions such as the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science and the Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair.
Sixth grade science is an earth science course which focuses on the Earth, its resources, its place in the solar system, and the phenomena which makes the Earth a living planet. We pay particular attention to minerals, rocks, the rock cycle, tectonic plates, earthquakes, volcanoes, and energy resources. Many hands-on activities are included, such as: growing minerals, baking ‘rock’ cookies, building volcanoes and sharing with the lower grades, and creating and using solar hot dog cookers.
Seventh grade science is a life science program that develops student understanding of life, its processes, and its relationship to the natural world. Although primary emphasis is on life science, the program seeks to integrate ideas and processes from other sciences and disciplines. The topics include: cells, cellular processes, genetics, evolution, bacteria, viruses, and the human body. Many hands-on activities follow the lessons such as: building cells, observing the osmosis and diffusion of materials into and out of an egg, extracting and building DNA models, modeling genetics, demonstrating mitosis and meiosis, building human skeletons, reconstructing an owl pellet, and frog dissection.
An introduction to physical science is the emphasis in 8th grade. The focus is on properties and changes in matter as well as motions, forces, and the transfer of energy. Chemistry topics include: atoms, elements, physical and chemical changes, atomic models, chemical bonding, solutions and mixtures, acids and bases, and organic/carbon chemistry. Physics topics include: speed, motion, velocity, acceleration, momentum, transfer of energy, and pressure. Students also become proficient in the use of scientific tools and materials including computer probeware. Some of the hands-on labs include: white powder mystery lab, conservation of matter, percentage composition of a penny, acid/base determination, solubility of materials, Rube Goldberg contraptions (conservation of energy), and Pasta Car Race Car construction. Enrichment is provided to develop process skills and critical thinking skills while investigating using the scientific method.