The Science program at The Day School provides students with opportunities for discovery. Through research, questioning, experimentation, and collaboration each child is able to develop greater understandings of topics and satisfy individual curiosity. The spiral curriculum provides opportunities for students to revisit topics covered in early grades for more in-depth study. All grade levels use a wide variety of classroom activities that address the learning styles of students. In addition, Judaic topics are integrated wherever possible to fulfill the school’s mission of creating a curriculum in which Jewish values are seen as an integral part of our complex world. A unit related to health matters is included at each grade level in order to fulfill our Jewish obligation to take care of our bodies since we were created in the image of God. The listings below indicate topics and activities that are covered at all grade levels, although topics may shift to other grade levels depending on the structure of the grade in any given academic year.
The PreK/K Science program utilizes holidays, seasons, and people and things that are familiar as the basis for units throughout the school year. The program involves students in many interactive activities which relate to their daily lives in their homes, their community, and the world at large. Opportunities are provided for reading, art, and mathematics integration in various areas as the year progresses.
The second grade Science curriculum continues students’ study of life on the planet, how to maintain their own health and well being, and what simple machines are and how they are used. Students learn to distinguish between living and non-living things, plants and animals, and then they classify animals. They discover the importance of insects in our world. Students name various insects and identify their body parts and how they live. Second graders develop an understanding of health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and identify ways to achieve this goal.
Science in the third grade engages students in activities that continue to explore life in various ways, as well as natural forces that affect life on earth. Students enjoy learning to use a microscope to examine living things as they have not been able to previously. They learn about animal behavior and how animals interact with one another and with their environments. Students learn about the characteristics of air and how air and weather effects life on earth. The third grade health unit continues the examination of eating well and exercising that was begun in earlier grades. In addition, students engage in discussion about the appropriate and inappropriate uses of drugs and alcohol.
Fourth grade students continue the study of life on earth that was begun in earlier grades by delving more deeply into environmental and ecological issues. They explore food chains and the differences between herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. Fourth graders learn about the different biomes of the world and the types of life forms that exist in those biomes. In addition, students learn how humans affect nature and what we can co to protect our environment. Fourth grade students also study sound and light. They enjoy researching and experimenting with sound waves and light waves. Our solar system and the objects that move in the solar system provide fascinating experiences for fourth grade students. They learn about the different objects in space and the history of space exploration. Fourth grade students continue to study topics related to health by discussing the concept of wellness and how one may strive to attain it.
Students in grade five revisit the concept of matter that they began to learn about in the early grades. They explain the different states of matter, describe its characteristics, and define its physical and chemical properties. Another major unit of study in the fifth grade relates to rocks and minerals. They delve deeply into the definitions and characteristics of each, as well as types and uses for rocks and minerals. Fifth graders also study energy, electricity and magnetism. Within this unit, they cover topics related to simple machines, energy and work, static and current electricity, magnetism, and electromagnetism. Health continues to play a role in science class, with a study of the changes that occur in adolescence, both emotionally and physically. Most of their studies involve discovery in lab situations where they work either individually or with a lab partner.