The science program shares a vision with the principles for learning science developed by the National Research Council in cooperation with the National Academy of Sciences. The program is inquiry based, with content and curricula adapted and designed to meet individual student needs, abilities, and interests. We strive to work with colleagues within the department and across the curriculum to develop activities that integrate science with math, art, writing and social sciences.
Students are encouraged to think critically in order to discuss scientific ideas, conduct scientific experiments and analyze data. Because of our small class size, opportunities abound to assess each student’s understanding and ability and to provide guidance in the self-assessment of learning. Aesthetically pleasing and well-equipped facilities provide students with a stimulating learning environment that provides space and materials to encourage active and extended scientific inquiry.
Our science program takes great advantage of the school’s rural campus setting. Access to a variety of outdoor environments, including a small stream, woods and fields, allows for observation of wildlife, collection of data, performance of experiments, and the recording of information over a period of time. The school also benefits from our proximity to the Charlottesville and Albemarle County scientific community, including the University of Virginia and Piedmont Virginia Community College. We have traditionally enjoyed welcoming a variety of guests and mentors who share their expertise in science-related topics.
We currently require three years of science in the Upper School program for graduation. Most students meet this requirement by taking Biology in 9th grade; Physics, Chemistry or Accelerated Chemistry in 10th grade, and one or more upper level science courses. Offerings may include Physics, Accelerated Chemistry, AP Biology, Environmental Studies, and electives Forensics/Bioethics or Anatomy/Marine Biology. Other science elective courses may be added as needs and interests arise.
The science program promotes curiosity and creativity in a setting of enthusiasm and support. Recognizing the need to encourage the development of scientific literacy in a world that will present our students with many science-related choices in the future, the science department strives to share the excitement and wonder of understanding and investigating our natural world.