The St. Michael’s science curriculum provides a dynamic combination of academic study and hands-on experimentation. Our teachers employ a variety of instructional strategies, including the inquiry method, which encourages students to form and then answer their own questions about the world around them. This process stimulates curiosity, problem solving, and independent thinking which leads students to approach problems creatively and critically and requires them to express themselves in written and verbal analysis. Students acquire strong foundations and are well prepared in physical, life, and earth sciences. Through collaborative lab work, students develop the ability to cooperate and communicate with confidence in group work.
Students in sixth and eighth grades also create their own innovative research studies for the Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair (SARSEF). Numerous St. Michael’s students each year receive top awards in the SARSEF competition
Sixth Grade Science
In sixth grade, students investigate earth science, focusing on four main topics over the course of the school year: geology, astronomy, meteorology, and oceanography. Labs and research projects allow students to explore concepts and develop deep understandings and answers to their own questions about the earth and sky. In addition, sixth grade students spend a significant amount of time from September through January, immersed in learning through inquiry as they conduct their own science fair project in preparation for the St. Michael’s School Science Fair.
Seventh Grade Science
In seventh grade, students explore life itself. Units cover the study of cells and life processes; the classification and organization of living things; the interactions of living organisms with their environment; and human body systems. Frequent lab activities illustrate and enrich these studies, including the comprehensive observation of living and preserved specimens. Students also are able to take advantage of an outdoor wetlands and garden area adjacent to the main classrooms.
Eighth Grade Science
Eighth graders tackle physical science. Students examine the mysteries of forces, properties of matter, the interaction of matter and energy, chemical interactions, electricity, magnetism, and wave theory. Frequent lab experimentation connects abstract formulae with tangible evidence of physics in action. Students are often observed heading outdoors, meter sticks in hand, to put Isaac Newton’s theories to the test.