The High School science program is centered on developing thinkers; students who can use the scientific method to question and discover explanations for the world around them. Students take a range of lab based courses such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science and Anatomy during their time at Oak Hill School. Each course uses inquiry based labs and activities to develop student leadership and critical thinking skills. The classroom, labs and field work provide diverse arenas for the students to delve into different topics and find their passion for science.
The excitement of scientific experiments is a gateway for students to develop their authentic writing and presentation skills. Each course teaches and requires the use of formal lab reports in conjunction with smaller informal lab exercises throughout the week. Students are taught how to develop, write and test their experiments to answer a scientific question. Often students use multimedia to present their ideas to the class, the appropriate use of technology to convey findings is highly encouraged. Recently students have used PowerPoint, moviemaker, songs, and animations to present the concepts of photosynthesis, mitosis, and meiosis. In the future I am planning to utilize blogging as a forum for discussions of real world topics.
Our campus allows for students to step right out of the classroom and into the field. Each course is able to take lab work a step further, collecting and observing cycles or specimens in the wild. Students thrive while collecting plankton from our pond, searching for arthropods in the forest, analyzing the abundance of monocots and dicots on campus and identifying plant an animal species on a hike. We are also able to tie the science field work we do on field trips such as the week long fall retreat to the Olympic Park Institute to our studies for the remainder of the year. Science is too important and to exciting to be contained to a desk, I want students to get involved in the learning process and make it their own.
Each student is consistently challenged to develop their own ideas from in class discussions, nightly reading and experimental data. Students develop their writing skills throughout each course as a means to convey their ideas and educate their target audience. It is my mission to prepare each student for college through a love of science, an intrinsic desire to question everything and a strong background in the experimental process.