The Middle School science program develops an awareness of science as a way of exploring the world, connecting seamlessly to the Lower School philosophy. Students expand their abilities to manipulate the tools of science. Reading and report writing skills receive emphasis while the major focus remains firmly on direct experience (laboratory investigations). Targeted units and general discussions enhance students’ consciousness of sustainability issues in local, regional, and global senses.
The annual Middle School Math-Science Night, held in February, is an integral part of the curriculum in each grade and form. Every student designs and executes an interdisciplinary experiment over a period of six weeks. At each step of the process, the boys discuss their progress with their science and math teachers. When the project is complete, boys submit a paper, construct a display, and present their investigations to parents, teachers, and other students on Math-Science Night.
Finally, by the end of Middle School, each boy should be able to identify and demonstrate competence in the use of the following: compound microscope, triple-beam balance, computerized motion detector, graduated cylinder, metric rule, thermometer, and the standard metric units of measurement.
The theme of flight links the investigations in Grade Five. Through units on airplanes and wind turbines, students study the concepts of motion, forces, work, machines, and different forms of energy. Simple mathematical formulas are introduced in word problems. Astronomy is studied in the winter trimester. Students research the solar system in depth and expand their understanding of galaxies and large scale structure of the universe. In the spring, students study birds and mammals, dissecting owl pellets, visiting Central Park, and using ZAM’s Quest environmental problem to solve scenarios and stimulate awareness of the complexity of the interactions between humans and ecosystems. Texts: Prentice Hall, Science Explorer texts: Motion, Forces, and Energy and Astronomy.
The unifying theme in Grade Six is water. Students begin the year by studying water’s properties, the distribution of water on earth, and ways to protect this valuable resource. Water is then studied in the context of chemistry. Finally, through ZAM’s Quest, the boys study a hypothetical environmental problem in the New York Harbor. This allows the boys to study tidal marsh ecosystems and work out reasonable solutions to remedy the situation. Texts: Prentice Hall (Science Explorer series)—Earth's Waters, Chemical Building Blocks, and Chemical Interactions.
This course is an introduction to the life sciences. It covers the basis for the study of life: heredity and change; evolution; and identification and classification of simple organisms, plants, animals, and the human body. Laboratory work is used as a learning tool. Text: Globe-Fearon: Concepts and Challenges in Life Science.
This course develops the formal aspects of physics and chemistry within a broader context of environmental topics. The language, methods, and concepts of physical science are refined with attention paid to the relationship between mathematics and science in experiment and theory. A consciousness of environmental sustainability is woven into the discussion regularly. Text: Globe-Fearon, Concepts and Challenges in Physical Science.