Our Princeton Friends School science program puts a world of scientific inquiry, discovery, and delight into lessons that are relevant – and inspiring!
Science in 1st and 2nd grades is organized around selected topics in a two-year rotation. Taught by a dedicated lower school science teacher in one of our two well-appointed science labs, units are designed and adapted to be developmentally appropriate for each grade level within this mixed-age grouping, and connections are constantly drawn among these units, the year’s Central Study theme, and the ongoing mathematics program. Through units such as The World of Insects, Ants Underground, and Soil and Plant Life, students participate in hands-on activities and begin to hypothesize, observe, experiment, record data, and formulate plausible conclusions. Journal writing, dramatization, shared readings, and artistic recreations extend students’ learning. Finally, ample time is spent exploring the wooded surroundings of the school, providing students with regular opportunities to explore first-hand the natural world. A variety of materials and resources are used. Some of these include Delta Science Modules published by Delta Education, Inc., Great Explorations in Math and Science published by Lawrence Hall of Science; University of California at Berkeley, Project Clarion Science published by The College of William & Mary’s Center for Gifted Education, Science and Technology for Children published by the National Academy of Sciences & Smithsonian Institute.
In the primary grades, science instruction is also integrated into the life of the self-contained classroom. Young children spend a good deal of time observing and discussing the changes that are happening around them – in the weather, the seasons, the woods outside the window, and their own bodies. The natural curiosity of young children provides countless opportunities for discussion of science-related issues, such as the differences between water and ice, the physics of block constructions, and the life cycle of the tadpoles raised in the classroom each spring. Cooking, weighing, measuring, keeping plants – these are all activities that nurture an interest in science in young children.