Westland’s science program is linked to the school’s broader emphasis on social studies; it’s designed to complement the curriculum in each class. This correlation between science and the rest of their studies helps students connect to science in a tangible, meaningful way, and not as an isolated subject. Science classes are driven by scientific philosophy, methodology, and a sense of discovery. The goal is to build confident young scientists who aren’t afraid to get active and take risks, and who understand the importance of collaboration in experimentation, take a creative approach to problem solving, and naturally test, question, and retest possible solutions.
Given the respect Westland has for each child’s unique perspective and learning style, hands-on experimentation is the cornerstone of the program. All investigations and experiments are designed to guide students through explorations, allowing for expansion and/or redirection at any given time to better complement a child’s or group’s interests and inquiries.
Collaboration is key. Younger students focus on projects requiring them to work closely with one another, creating an environment that encourages patience, verbal observations, and incorporating ideas inspired by the trial and error of others. As students progress, individual projects transition into more complex and lengthy investigations, requiring ever more creative and cooperative approaches.
The philosophy and structure of the scientific method is emphasized throughout. Observation, hypothesis development, the act of setting up an experiment, the experiment process itself, testing/re-testing, plotting results, and evaluation/analysis are fully integrated into the investigations created for each group. Science vocabulary related to the scientific method is regularly used and reinforced.
Ultimately, Westland’s science program encourages children to experience a diverse subject with each of their senses. Fundamentals, critical thinking, and problem solving are intricately embedded in every scientific investigation. Our children graduate from Westland with a rich set of skills and knowledge, enabling them to immediately and successfully enter the complex and demanding scientific world waiting for them in middle school and beyond.