A co-educational, non-sectarian, independent school serving grades PreK through 8th since 1982

Science

Science in the ACS elementary grades reflects our belief that children learn science best by doing science.

As a result, our activity-based program centers on hands-on, minds-on science investigations endorsed by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and embodied in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

The K-5 science curriculum encompasses all the science disciplines – physical, earth, space, and life sciences – including STEAM units that integrate science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, often within the same activity. Robotics units in the elementary grades are popular examples of STEAM in action, as are the projects the children design and develop in our Imaginarium, the ACS makerspace.

In the elementary grades, students learn to think like scientists and engineers by:

  • Designing and conducting investigations and solving problems in our elementary science rooms;
  • Growing, digging, exploring and discovering in our organic garden – an “outdoor classroom”;
  • Programming and deploying cutting edge EV3 Lego Robotics equipment to accomplish tasks and explore technology’s potential to help solve problems;
  • Crawling into a classroom-size Star Lab to learn about astronomy by observing and mapping the “real” night-time sky; and
  • Experiencing the design process by imagining, prototyping, testing and iterating in our Imaginarium.

By applying scientific principles and concepts starting with these hands-on, minds-on explorations, our elementary students develop a conceptual framework that makes the theory, process, and terminology of science relevant and meaningful. And best of all, they become fascinated by scientific investigations and enthusiastic to learn more about this critical subject!

Science exploration in the elementary grades provides a strong foundation for our middle school science program, where students embark on rigorous lab-based studies in our dedicated science classroom and lab.

Our focus at ACS is on the students’ journeys through science and engineering discoveries across the grade levels. We are proud that as a result of exceptional preparation in science, beginning with activity-based units in the elementary grades, many of our graduates are accepted each year into advanced high school science classes and go on to pursue science majors in college.


STEAM at ACS

  • STEAM = science, technology, engineering, art and math
  • In the K–12 context, “science” is generally taken to mean the traditional natural sciences: physics, chemistry, biology, and (more recently) earth, space, and environmental sciences …
  • We use the term “engineering” in a very broad sense to mean any engagement in a systematic practice of design to achieve solutions to particular human problems.
  • Likewise, we broadly use the term “technology” to include all types of human-made systems and processes — not in the limited sense often used in schools that equates technology with modern computational and communications devices. Technologies result when engineers apply their understanding of the natural world and of human behavior to design ways to satisfy human needs and wants.
  • Lessons are characterized as STEAM if they include at least two of the STEAM disciplines.

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