Students will observe the weather, the behavior of plants, insects, birds and other living creatures. Throughout these observations, students will learn and use the basic vocabulary of science, make general conclusions and propose viable causes for the behaviors observed. They will model their observations and conclusions on those of the great observers of nature read and discussed in class.
Grade 8 –Natural Science II
Students will explore the more remote subjects first of the development of earth’s land and water systems, then of the interior workings of rocks, minerals, plants and animals. In this second stage of discovery, students proceed from general observations of behaviors in nature to more specific observations of the insides of things by means of dissection, microscopic observation, measurement, and simple experimentation. In addition to reading and discussing works of the great paleontologists, geologists, oceanographers, botanists, entomologists, and zoologists, students will refine their powers of observation, and develop some of the habits and skills proper to modern experimentation.
Grade 9 – Astronomy/Physical Science
Beginning with the simplest observations of the heavens, students will learn to locate and identify the planets, major stars and constellations, and trace the motion of the sun and the moon across the sky. Proceeding historically through the systems developed by astronomers from Ptolemy to Kepler in order to explain the motion of the heavenly bodies, the causes of solar and lunar events, their respective effects on the earth (change of seasons, tides, and eclipses), the observed changes in the night sky throughout the seasons, and the relationships of size and distance between the heavenly bodies, students will relive the experience of millennia of wonderings at the stars and attempts to derive the Universal Laws which govern their motion. Proceeding from this study, the laws that govern the motion of bodies on the earth, (physical science,) will be derived from experiments with falling bodies, simple machines, levers and pulleys, inclined planes, pendula, and colliding objects. The two studies converge in the final discussion of Newton’s three Laws of Motion and the Law of Universal Gravitation.
Grade 9 – Biology
In this, the first year of the Modern Sciences, students will use the skills learned in the Natural Science courses to first classify all living things, then to identify the behaviors, cycles, and systems proper to each category of classification, and, finally, to delve into the very remote regions of cellular structure, metabolism, and replication. In their study of living things, students will perform macro and microscopic observations, dissections, individual experiments and projects.
Grade 10 – General Science of Nature
Students will consider the very nature of “science” and will distinguish the very principles of all natural things which are grasped without microscope or telescope. They will come to a basic understanding of the principles of mobile being and a consideration of the soul, the principle of life for all living things. The course seeks to enlarge students view of “scientific inquiry” beyond the material and efficient causes and to include the formal and final causes. Students will also consider the nature of instinct through the reading Henri Fabre’s Insect World. The course will culminate in a consideration of the factors which must be present to have knowing human life on planet earth.
Grade 11 – Chemistry
The study of the properties, behaviors, and interactions of the simplest building blocks of nature begins with the study of the seminal texts in the Development of Atomic Theory from Democritus to Orbital Theory, and includes the replication of the fundamental experiments of Lavoisier, Dalton, and Avogadro. Students will also learn the development, structure, order, and interior logic of The Periodic Table of Elements, the development of Kinetic Theory and its application to the three phases of matter, the properties of each phase, the development of and evidence for the current Theory of Combustion, the properties, definitions and interactions of Acids and Bases and the fundamentals of Organic Chemistry, all by means of replicating the great experiments, by calculation, and by reading and discussing the works of the major contributors to each theory.
Grade 12 – Physics
Revisiting some of the concepts learned in the Astronomy and Physical Science course, students will join the greatest physicists in the awesome quest to craft the simplest, most elegant theories of matter, energy, gravity, electricity, magnetism, wave motion, quantum behavior, color, and light. Students can expect to read and discuss the works of Huygens, Newton, Farraday, Bohr, Heisenberg, Maxwell, Planck, Einstein, Dirac and DeBroglie, conduct experiments concerning force, work, motion, electricity, fluid motion, sound and light, and perform a good bit of mathematical calculation for each concept, (excepting quantum mechanics and relativity, of course, which will be presented strictly in the seminar readings.)