Lower School - Science

Our science curriculum engages students with a hands-on, minds-on program.

Throughout their elementary science years, our students learn science as they explore and apply cross-cutting science concepts: patterns, cause and effect, scale, proportion and quantity, systems and system models, energy and matter, structure and function, and stability and change.

Students observe, question, classify, measure, predict, record, and analyze data to better understand the world around them.

Students attending our private elementary school in Pittsburgh apply their scientific conceptual understanding to meet a variety of challenges. In their studies, students develop important interpersonal skills including listening, discussing, following directions, collaborating, and cooperating.

Utilizing the city’s resources and our outdoor classrooms, students learn about the fragility of our environment and the need for responsible decision-making, while developing their curiosity and enthusiasm for science. Each grade level studies topics in earth science, life science, and physical science.

Pre-Kindergarten science studies are integrated into their daily lessons.

Kindergarten meets two times in a six-day rotation to study units including:

  • Being a Scientist and Using Your Senses
  • Seasonal Nature Activities
  • Forces and Changes in Motion (gravity, magnetism, static electricity, pushes and pulls, motion of air)
  • Weather: Wind, Warmth in Sunlight and Shade, forecasting, and weather patterns
  • Plant and Animal needs and habitats

First, second, and third grades meet three times in a six-day rotation and uses the scaffolding of content below.

First Grade

    • Air and Weather: seasonal weather, water cycle, temperature
    • Plants and Animals with focus on Birds (structure and function, offspring and survival)
    • Forces and Balance (in support of Architecture unit)
    • Sound
    • Light
    • Observations of the Moon (patterns)
    • Comparisons of life cycles and behavior of Earthworms and Mealworms

Second Grade

    • Tree Seasonal Cycle
    • Properties of Matter and Changes in Matter
    • Earth’s Surface, Fast and Slow changes to the surface
    • The Solar System
    • Habitats: Living Things and how they meet their needs

Third Grade

    • Weather and Climate
    • Sun’s pattern in the sky
    • Rocks, Minerals and Fossils
    • Forces and Changes in Motion, and Simple Machine Projects using 3D printing
    • Animal Traits and Survival

Fourth grade meets four times in a six-day rotation to study units including:

    • Environments: isopods, brine shrimp, ecosystem studies
    • Structures and Functions of Plants and Animals: Adaptation Projects using 3D printer
    • Energy: gravitational, electrical, mechanical, electromagnetic (light) waves
    • Human Body Systems

Fifth grade meets every other day for a 90 minute block to study units including:

Major Units covered each trimester:

  • Watersheds
  • Microscopic LIfe
  • Human Growth and Development
Mini Units:

  • Mystery Powders (Chemistry)
  • Engineering Challenge
  • Mountain Ecology