We hope for every graduate of Riverdale's Science Department to graduate with an appreciation of the beauty and complexity of the natural world. We also want every student to understand basic science and the scientific method well enough to be an informed follower of scientific developments and a discriminating citizen who can evaluate the validity of scientific claims. To these ends, we combine content-based instruction with extensive inquiry-based laboratory investigations and research projects that promote critical thinking and problem solving.
The Bobsled Challenge
Alan Pike, a Middle and Upper School science teacher, describes how design thinking is incorporated into 8th grade physical science.
Science 6: Earth and Environmental Science
A hands-on and technological approach to applying the scientific method and making connections between physical science concepts and the real world. Core science skills, like applying the scientific method and measurement, are integral throughout the curriculum and a focus in assignments, projects and lab activities. Students investigate Earth's structure, plate tectonics, and the role of water in shaping our planet. Students can expect homework each day that may include reading, written responses to passages, worksheets, lab reports or projects. Lab activities are a regular part of the semester and are included within each unit of study. At least one major project is assigned each semester. Quizzes and tests are given both throughout units of study and at their conclusion. Students are assessed based on quizzes and tests, projects and labs, homework, class work, their notebook/binder, and class participation.
Science 7: Life Science
A hands-on approach to life science with an emphasis on developing scientific inquiry skills by having students engage in experimental design, investigation, data analysis, and oral and written communication of scientific explanations of biological concepts. Topics include cell biology, the human body, and ecology. The integration of technology with science is emphasized, especially in projects. Assessments take the form of tests, lab write-ups, in-class written assignments, quizzes, homework assignments, class participation and one major project per quarter, such as a major lab report, project, or an oral presentation.
Science 8: Chemical and Physical Science