At WPS, the study of science is a balanced learning experience in which the interests and abilities of every student are supported and developed. Along with an understanding of scientific concepts and processes, we also emphasize opportunities for creativity and the development of individual interests. Whether through structured inquiry in the classroom or extra-curricular clubs and competitions, our students have many avenues for individual expression and collaboration with peers. As a future IB school, we support the scientific pursuits of students through the Personal Project, the Group 4 Project, and the Extended Essay. Such activities fit within the larger IB science curriculum model in which the scientific method is a way of thinking, science is a way of knowing, and the student as a scientist is developing as an international citizen. Whether this citizen becomes a researcher, engineer, or layperson, our aim is that he/she will be a scientifically and technologically literate member of society who forms opinions supported by evidence and reason, and who takes action ethically and responsibly.
Grade 6 Science students will receive an introduction to chemistry, biology, and physics. The course culminates in an application earth science. Students learn about the scientific method to test a hypothesis. In the study of chemistry, they learn about the Bohr model of the atom, ionic and covalent bonding, and write balanced chemical equations. They perform various experiments to determine whether there is a physical or chemical change. Students are introduced to the pH scale and make an indicator to see if common liquids like orange juice and detergent are acids, bases, or neutral. In their study of biology, students observe plant and animal cells to see their similarities and differences and learn how to categorize organisms. Students will explore waves, sound, and color. In an introduction to planet earth, students will study its place in the solar system, geological processes, and natural resources.
For all units, the students write lab reports to analyze their findings. They write essays, complete homework assignments, and take quizzes and tests to focus their learning on the above key content areas. Finally, participation in group discussions and group work, and effort in all areas, are assessed.
Grade 7 Science students will continue their studies of biology and chemistry with applications to life sciences. Acids and bases will be approached from a chemical perspective. Ecosystems and biomes will be studied from an experimental and experiential point of view. For all units, students will be assessed summatively through unit tests, as well as experimental written lab reports and projects.
Grade 8 Physical Science students build on previous years’ work in biology, chemistry, and physics to engage in original experimental design through controlled investigations in the study of the scientific method The Law of Conservation of Matter is “discovered” as students change matter with energy and determine if mass is created, lost, or neither. Students then examine forms of energy and explore the relationship between potential and kinetic energy. They learn about Isaac Newton’s first and second laws of motion as well as work, power, and simple and compound machines. In their unit on chemistry, students are able to use Bohr models to draw compounds, both ionically and covalently, and balance equations with polyatomic ions. For all units, students write lab reports to analyze their findings. They write essays, take quizzes and tests, and complete homework assignments to focus their learning on the above key content areas.
Grade 9 Biology This course provides an introduction to the unity and diversity of life from the molecular to the community level from an evolutionary perspective. It focuses on the interrelationship between the structure and function of living things, along with exploring the effects of human interaction with the natural environment. Frequent laboratory experiences will augment knowledge gained through class study. This course provides students with an exceptional basic background for further study in biology or other sciences.