Science is best learned by doing science. At Gardner this is done by having students do labs in which they follow either the scientific method or the engineering design process. In the younger grades, students are expected to notice the world around them and ask questions. We build on the questions they ask and as they get older we start to answer them – with the expectation that by the end of grade 8 they will be able to create their own experiments to answer the questions they ask.
For Klickitat and Tahoma a typical week starts with learning the concepts and vocabulary that we will use in our lab that week. This usually takes one day and we look at examples and discuss what we notice and see as we create definitions as a class for our vocabulary. We spend another day designing the lab that we will be doing. Many times the students will be working in small groups with specific parameters to solve either an engineering problem or answer a scientific question. We then spend a day collecting our data or testing our prototypes and end the week writing up our results.
For Kalahma, Loowit, and Wy’East science looks slightly different. Our time is exclusively spent designing labs and then testing them. We spend the first day of the week working as a whole class to design our experiments and then the other day of the week is spent collecting data to answer our questions. To supplement the science the students get in school, a science club is offered once a week after school. In the fall, the focus is on preparing and competing in the Elementary Science Olympiad. In the winter and spring we meet to explore science with hands on activities.
Check out the community web site to see what students are doing in science each week.