Kindergarten and Grade 1 meet twice weekly for 30 minutes; half class.
Grades 2 and 3 meet twice weekly for 40 minutes; half class.
Grade 4 meets twice weekly for 45 minutes; half class.
The lower school science program is inquiry based. Through hands-on activities, in small groups of five to 10 students, children explore and investigate while collecting data and analyzing results. Open-ended assignments encourage children to take creative problem-solving risks.
Children study colors and rainbows in connection with a larger unit on light and the sense of sight. Students also explore sound and how to manipulate it. An integrated sink and float unit allows students to explore buoyancy. In connection with the homeroom backyard habitats unit, students learn about the ecological benefits of earthworms.
First graders study life cycles. They watch plants sprout from seeds, caterpillars change into butterflies, and chicks hatch from eggs. Students also learn about the parts of a flower, pollination, and the life cycle of honeybees.
In the spring, first graders collaborate with upper school chemistry students to construct a shad fish hatchery, monitor the water quality of the system, learn about the shad life cycle, care for the shad fry, and ultimately, release them into a local river.
Second graders explore interactions ranging from physical connections with circuits to environmental connections such as patterns in nature. They examine food chains and webs, particularly pertaining to birds and have the opportunity to dissect owl pellets. The bird unit includes embryology and the hatching of chicks in the class incubator.
Third graders solve problems. In small groups, they are challenged to identify an unknown substance using basic lab equipment and limited teacher guidance. Building on a study of simple machines, contraptions and transfer of energy, they collaborate to engineer a Rube Goldberg contraption.
Fourth graders investigate and seek answers. They begin the year as forensic scientists, testing evidence to solve a mystery. They also investigate nutrition and the systems of the human body. Later in the year, students design and build their own wooden cars, generate hypotheses about how the cars will perform, then conduct test-runs. This experimentation requires them to collect, analyze, and graph data, as well as draw conclusions from their results.