Science Curriculum Summary
PBA’s Science program believes in creating a classroom community where students are intrinsically motivated through a curriculum that they see themselves in, while also being exposed to different cultures, perspectives and abilities through a scientific lens. After engaging in not just the science, but the social and political context of the scientific phenomena students are studying through experiences such as philosophical chairs debates where students debate current controversial topics in science, they take that knowledge and use both the engineering process and the scientific method to test questions and design solutions. Through this process, students become active participants in not just their education, but their community as a whole by communicating their research, designs or knowledge to the greater community. Examples of this include our Science and Engineering Expo, designing a pollinator garden and giving Jigsaw style presentations to peers.
Units of Study
Students in these grade levels will cover the following topics, however, if they are in a combined class, they will cover the material through a rotating, 2 year or more, curriculum.
Grades 3-5: Life Science, Earth and Space Science, Physical Science, covered at varying depths on a rotating curriculum. Some questions students investigate include what do plants and animals need to survive? What patterns can we observe by watching the sun, moon and stars? How does energy affect the physical world?
Grade 6: Earth Science (Rock Cycle, Volcanism, Mapping, Natural Disasters, Atmosphere)
Grade 7: Life Science (Cell Biology, Heredity, Evolution, Natural Selection)
Grade 8: Physical Science (Chemical Reactions, States of Matter, Newtonian Physics)
Our goal is to prepare students to be informed citizens, by developing skills necessary to be scientists. We do this by introducing students to natural phenomena, and from there, having them lead the investigation into how these phenomena occur using scientific and engineering practices. Students will gain an understanding of what content-specific knowledge is needed in order to both do and think like scientists and engineers. Students develop life-like models, engage in argument from evidence, and use skills from across subjects such as Mathematics and English to ask questions, define problems and analyze and interpret data.
All science curricula are guided by both California State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards, however the pedagogy as well as the activities/projects/assessments are designed for our unique student population and class sizes. Curriculum can shift slightly year to year given the cohort grades combination in a student centered approach. We ensure all students enter high school not just prepared for their general science courses, but ready to excel in honor, AP and IB courses.