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

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

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

Science 8: Chemical and Physical Science

A hands-on approach to chemistry and physical science with an emphasis on applications to environmental science, atmospheric science and earth science. Areas of investigation include properties of matter, states of matter, atomic structure, the periodic table, chemical bonds, acids and bases, and nuclear chemistry. Each topic in this course will be introduced with a case study that will be followed by an in-depth look at the science behind the case study. Labs and activities will reinforce the concepts, along with discussion of the topic in science and history and current news articles. Group projects and presentations complement the lab and lecture experiences. Grades in this course are based on quizzes, unit tests and comprehensive quarter tests, lab work, lab reports and projects, homework, class participation, and perseverance.  


Riverdale Country School

Mind • Character • Community



Lower School
1 Spaulding Lane
Bronx, NY 10471
LS: (718) 549-7780

Middle/Upper School
5250 Fieldston Road
Bronx, NY 10471
MS/US: (718) 549-8810

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Riverdale teaches students to become lifelong learners by fostering "growth" mindsets. Go There ><

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The River Campus offers a spacious, natural setting for our youngest students, inspiring learning and play. Go There >

Riverdale offers "STEAM" (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) teaching to Lower School students. Go There >

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Middle School students explore hands-on learning through the Riverdale Maker program. Go There >

Project Knowmad allows Middle Schoolers to learn in a different way, using NYC as their classroom. Go There >

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Riverdale teaches students to make connections through our interdisciplinary programs. Go There >

The club and activity program encourages students to explore their passions and try new things. Go There >

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About 80 percent of Upper School students participate in athletics. Go There >

Riverdale's Hill Campus has an indoor pool, football stadium, weight room, and 3 playing fields. Go There >

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Riverdale has entry points in Pre-K, Kindergarten, 6th, and 9th Grades. Visit our campus today. Go There >

Approximately 20 percent of Riverdale students receive some level of financial aid. Go There >

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Last year's Annual Fund totaled nearly $5 million in gifts from alumni, parents, and friends of the school. Go There >

Have you included Riverdale in your estate plans? Please let us know and join our expanding group of Hackett Planned Giving Society members today. Go There >

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