The Middle School science program develops an awareness of science as a way of exploring the world, connecting seamlessly to the foundation provided in the Lower School. 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 and field investigations). Targeted units and focused studies enhance students’ consciousness of sustainability issues in local, regional and global arenas.
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 about 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. Developing practical skills in measurement is emphasized so that by the end of Middle School, each boy should be able to demonstrate competence in the use of the following instruments: compound microscope, triple-beam balance, computerized motion detector, graduated cylinder, metric rule, thermometer, and the standard metric units of measurement.
The themes of motion, flight, energy, and Central Park link the investigations in Grade Five. Through units on car aerodynamics, airplanes, seed dispersal, electricity and wind turbines, the boys study the concepts of motion, forces, machines and different forms of energy. Simple mathematical formulas are introduced in word problems. Astronomy is studied in the winter months. Students research the solar system in depth and expand their understanding of galaxies and the large-scale structure of the universe. In the spring, students study birds and migration, dissect owl pellets, visit Central Park for birding expeditions, and use ZAM’s Quest to solve environmental problems and stimulate awareness of the complexity of the interactions between humans and ecosystems.
The unifying theme in Grade Six is water. Students begin the year by studying water’s properties, the distribution of water on earth, ways to protect this valuable resource, and how organisms are adapted to this habitat. Water is then studied in the context of an introduction to principles 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’s 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 to reinforce the increasingly detailed study of biological systems. The discipline of dissection is employed to study the anatomy of a variety of organisms. Text: McGraw Hill Glencoe: “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: Prentice Hall: “Physical Science Concepts in Action”