All middle school science offerings encourage and emphasize students’ ability to think critically and solve problems creatively. Utilizing the scientific method and engineering principles, students explore the interrelationship between science disciplines, create solutions to real-world, relevant problems, and use state-of-the-art technology to assist learning. Each year, students study Physical Science, Earth and Space Science, and Life Science. As understanding progresses, there is an increased emphasis on mathematical and graphical relationships.
Middle School Students are invited to participate in WT's STEM Symposium. Recently, Aria Eppinger, Class of 2020, won the $20,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Advancement in the Broadcom MASTERS national competition for her STEM Symposium project, The Effect of Roundup on Human Gut Bacteria.
In all grade levels, hands-on activities give students chances to experiment, build, and invent allowing students to develop skills needed to learn and “do” science. The skills and content are directly aligned with the Upper School, to better influence a smooth transition from grades 8 to 9.
City as Our Campus opportunities as well as both cross-curricular and cross-divisional collaboration afford middle school students access to resources outside of the traditional science classroom.
Sixth Grade Science is a lab-based science course that explores a wide range of science topics. Through the design and engineering process, students will investigate Newton’s Laws, forces and motion, and simple machines. Chemistry topics include chemical reactions, elements, mixtures, and compounds, and atomic structure. For the life science component, the course will focus on ecosystems and evolution through the examination of pollinators in our local area as well as examination of ancient ecosystems and fossils. The rock cycle and geologic time are also covered. Acting as meteorologists, students will predict and analyze weather during an event-based science unit on severe weather. .
Seventh Grade Science builds on the skills and concepts covered in sixth grade in the three areas of science. Students will become more involved with simple machines by designing projects that involve gears and projectile motion. A cell city project will highlight life science as well as further explorations of genetics. Students will begin investigating astronomy within the solar system and design an orbital speed project. Concepts covered in seventh grade science will expand into more application with the eighth grade curriculum.
Eighth Grade Science continues to build on the skills and concepts covered in earlier years expanding on topics and continuing to build the critical skills that students will need as they move on to Upper School. In many cases this will be accomplished by projects that will focus on application of the pertinent concepts. Within the area of Physical Science, Compound machines will be explored with projects like building a Rube Goldberg Machine and Energy transfer will be explored using projects such as building a solar oven, solar panels and windmill electricity generation. Life Science concepts of the diversity of life and diseases and illnesses will be explored using City as Campus ties with local organizations as well as projects such as a Disease Research project and a Human Genome Project. Earth, Space and Environmental Science concepts of Astronomy and Oceanography will be investigated by using parallax to determine distances to nearby stars and planets and using worldwide GPS stations to track plate movements. Throughout the year, students will be given the opportunity to work in both individual and group settings in project work. Emphasis on problem solving and investigative project work prepares students for the science courses that they will encounter in Upper School.