meaningful, open-ended, inquiry-based problem solving
The science curriculum offers students in every grade challenging and exciting learning experiences that help them develop the skills of scientific inquiry and an understanding of the laws, systems, and structures that define our natural world. Classes provide students with opportunities to use the most up-to-date equipment and technologies as they ask questions, design experiments, explore, collaborate, and become efficient and effective problem solvers. Our interdisciplinary curriculum integrates engineering principles in meaningful and relevant ways and asks students to quantify their work using appropriate mathematical and statistical tools and to use the arts and new media to model their work or creatively and richly display what they have synthesized.
Many of the course materials and activities are designed and/or assembled by the SCH Science Department to enhance and supplement available materials. Teachers are guided by the Next Generation Science Standards, PA Science Standards, the National Science Teachers’ Association, and local curricular materials. In addition, all divisions make extensive use of the surrounding Wissahickon ecosystem, as well as the school’s “green structures,” as part of our dynamic, real-world-based curriculum.
Students in Middle School for Boys continue to refine and strengthen basic science practices—skills used by real scientists and engineers. Our project-based approach to learning challenges students to design their own investigations by forming hypotheses, investigating in the lab or field, quantifying and analyzing data, and drawing conclusions. These projects involve them in meaningful, open-ended, inquiry-based problem solving from designing and constructing solar-powered cars, to engineering earthquake-resistant towers. In 7th and 8th grades, students have an opportunity to gain greater exposure for their research projects by entering outside competitions such as the Christopher Columbus Awards and the Junior Solar Sprint at the Franklin Institute. Through these experiences they strengthen their scientific skills and begin to think of themselves as scientists and engineers.