Princeton Charter School adopts a “minds-on, hands-on" approach to science education. We build on a base of regular science instruction in grades K through two and daily science instruction from grade three on. Students learn through a variety of instructional methods. These include formal and informal labs, lab simulation software, both inquiry and direct instruction, and a strong emphasis on quantitative methods. Instruction is supplemented with projects, contests, and kinesthetic activities. Curiosity and appreciation for the natural world, powerful reasoning skills, and an informed skepticism toward questionable claims are among the desired outcomes. The PCS science curriculum is a superset of the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Science.
In grades 5-8 the approach becomes more rigorous and quantitative, as directed by the Charter. Students learn to ask quantitative questions and determine the information needed to answer them. As students improve their mathematical skills, they learn to apply them more extensively in the science program. Three major content areas are covered in middle school: physical science, life science, and earth science.
Some topics from each area are included each year. Emphasis is placed on understanding how facts are interrelated through natural laws and mathematical relationships. Some subtopics pervade multiple larger content areas, such as energy conservation, probability, and the effect of different scales on function and structure. Acquired process skills include: observing, measuring, classifying, recording, predicting, hypothesizing, inferring, experimenting, and conducting research. Of course, the political and social implications of scientific progress, both historically and currently, are discussed.
For a full description of the science program, click here.