Science

St. Mary’s has a progressive commitment to the science curriculum

Science at St. Mary’s provides students with an evidenced-based way of knowing about the world. It is a process of questioning and discovery that seeks to develop in students an understanding of themselves and the world. The curriculum provides students, on their journey through life, with a solid foundation of scientific knowledge and the ability to apply that learning in a range of situations and events.

At St. Mary’s, the science curriculum focuses on students developing an increasingly sophisticated ‘scientific literacy’. This includes a refined understanding of the nature of science and of scientific concepts and processes; the practices used to develop scientific knowledge; the contribution of science to culture and society; and the application of science in the world around us. This enables the students to develop the scientific knowledge, understandings and skills to make informed decisions about local, national and global issues.

Working collaboratively is critical to science learning at St. Mary’s. Opportunities to work with scientists and other experts on real life problems, in the local community while contributing to real scientific inquiry is central to creating authentic science experiences for all students. The learning precinct of St. Mary’s, from Jawbone Wetlands and Marine Sanctuary to the parks and the waterfront, provide learning opportunities that take the classroom beyond the limits of the school site.

Science in the junior years is focussed on nurturing students natural curiosity about the world around them and the joy of discovery in science. Students are supported to explore scientific concepts through a range of investigative tasks relevant to their everyday experience. They have time to investigate and test ideas, ask questions and explain their observations. Explicit teaching is used to introduce students to new ideas, redirect understanding and clarify existing misconceptions. There is a strong focus on developing the skills to observe, describe and communicate their developing understandings.

In the junior years, students engage with scientific texts and concepts in developmentally appropriate ways. The transition from informal to formal scientific language and representation of scientific concepts takes place as the students demonstrate their increasing understanding of what they are learning. Foremost, science at St. Mary’s is about developing a scientific literacy that encompasses content knowledge and the application of scientific inquiry skills.

Science in the senior years continues to build on the foundation learning of the junior years. There is  increasing complexity in the development and completion of scientific investigations, an increasing awareness of the complexity of scientific understanding and a critical exploration of the impact of scientific knowledge and understanding of the world. The students are challenged to understand that scientific knowledge changes and grows over time, that science is much greater than experiments and that they can contribute to and understand the world from a range of perspectives, including the scientific one.

The science program in the senior years is increasingly connected to citizen science opportunities in the learning precinct through longitudinal projects in the local landscape. Students are provided with opportunities and experiences to contribute to scientific research more broadly. They are also challenged to share their science learning with a range of audiences. They learn to manage their own learning and become confident, caring and informed citizens ready to take on new challenges.

The skills developed in science are interconnected to the the development of literacy and numeracy skills. Science provides real world contexts for the application of the learning that takes place in literacy and numeracy. The development of student ability in science is critically dependent upon learning that takes place in literacy and numeracy.

 

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