A Moment of Science, Please

In the science department, the teaching faculty is working together to explore new ways to deepen the student experience while challenging their potential.

As part of a comprehensive educational program, middle school students are exposed to a wide range of STEM related topics and subject matter. Our science content and standards follow NGSS: Next Generation Science Standards. NGSS set the expectations for what K-12 students should know and be able to do in science. The NGSS were developed to improve science education and create a set of research-based, up-to-date K–12 science standards. They also provide flexibility to design classroom learning experiences that ignite curiosity and inspire interest in science.

What makes the HRS learning experience different and unique from other science programs is the multisensory approach.

Our science classes offer hands-on, learning experiences. Middle school students often have a lab or other applied science related activity several days per week. HRS students are exposed to the language of science, learning common scientific prefixes, root words, and the etymology of science terms. Students preview important scientific vocabulary words using the same preparation for reading activities and decoding strategies already used in reading and writing classes. Students engage with a variety of scientific media, including videos that relate to a specific topic or digital modules engaging subject areas such as atomic structure, evolution, and more.

In the middle school science scope and sequence, level 6 students learn Earth science, level 7 chemistry and physics, and level 8 life science. With the goal of creating an integrated progression of science standards at every grade level, this year, students will partner with other grade levels to practice and learn science during STEM days. One example took place in October, when students completed the STEM red cup stacking challenge.

The red cup project challenges teams to make a pyramid of cups and place a LEGO minifigure on top of the pyramid without touching the cups or the minifigure with their hands.

These integrated STEM days provide leadership opportunities for students who are particularly strong in science and allow for the development of cross grade level connections and teamwork.

In addition to an already comprehensive science program, the science team is thrilled to offer a full year of science specific field trips for middle school students. During the level 7 rocketry unit, students apply their knowledge of physics to design, engineer, and build a model rocket. At the culmination of this unit, students will launch their rockets at Sixty Acres Park in Redmond. For level 8, as part of their study of ecology and evolution, students will visit the Alki beach pier to collect different types of plankton. These samples will come back to the school lab for students to observe under a microscope and identify organisms.

With three new state-of-the-art science labs and a collaborative space in the new building, HRS middle school students will have even more opportunities to explore, learn, grow, and be inspired in STEM. HRS middle school science teachers will continue to encourage scientific thinking and curiosity while igniting the scientific potential of our students.