Science and Technology
The Manville School Science program for grades K-10 reflects the current content standards of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and can be viewed at http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/scitech/1006.pdf. Throughout our Lower, Middle and Upper Schools we offer highly differentiated curricula encompassing topics that include Earth & Space Science, Engineering/Technology, Life Science and Physical Science. Our instruction can be broadly characterized by a structured multi-sensory approach. Our teaching methodology enhances student access to science in fun and meaningful ways. It incorporates a variety of pedagogical techniques and technologies that, more recently, have included the SMART Board. As we are located within the heart of the Boston’s Mission Hill, we can readily access a plethora of community resources, among which include a Simmons College Science Department partnership now in its sixth year.
In our Upper School we offer a variety of engaging lab-based Biology courses meeting student’s educational needs and interests, all of which provide strong preparation for the MCAS. From here, students can explore Environmental Science which is a culminating study of Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science, Health, and Technology/Engineering. As with our Lower & Middle schools, our instructional units are uniquely tailored to match the learning needs of students. Given this methodological approach, Manville students have consistently demonstrated strong mastery of Biology standards. For example, in 2011, 92% of Biology students attained proficiency on Biology MCAS, 90% did so in 2010, and in 2007, 95% of students passed these competency requirements for high school graduation.
An integral component of our program involves hands-on investigations focusing on science inquiry skills, such as the extraction of DNA from saliva or designing a model of a solar house. Sometimes these explorations take us out of the classroom to access our urban resources, as in the example of Biogen Idec’s Community Lab , where students explore current applications of Biotechnology in state-of-the-art facilities. This partnership, now in its 4th year, allows students to diagnose a patient with a mysterious crooked cell by performing protein electrophoresis.
Our Middle School students explore general science with topics encompassing Life Science, Earth & Space Science, Physical Science & Technology/Engineering. Our recently adopted curriculum, now in its 2nd year is characterized by highly relevant lessons that are embedded in inquiry. Designed in part by a reading specialist, the student reading levels can be well-matched to suit our learners. Complementing these topics are nonfiction independent readers and online access to “Cricket Magazine”. Also included are multimedia resources that incorporate an MP3 CD Audio student text, interactive CD-Rom Labs, and CD-Rom simulations.
Middle schoolers’ inquiry, experimentation and engineering/design outcomes are well-matched to the investigative aspects of science. While studying the transfer of energy through a food chain, students dissect owl pellet to recreate the predator’s last meal. When investigating the relationship between the Earth’s tectonic plates and rapid changes in the earth, students time-traveled to the “A Day in Pompeii” exhibit at the Museum of Science. When reading for meaning to analyzing evidence through nonfiction sources, our students viewed firsthand evidence on how the earth evolved over geologic time by visiting “Mammoths & Mastodons – Titans of the Ice Age” exhibit, also at the MOS. Lastly, our learners design skyscrapers using a process similar to those incorporated by structural engineers, which culminates in a load challenge.
Our Lower School students explore general science topics including Life Science, Earth & Space Science, Physical Science & Technology/Engineering, similar to Middle School but in a more developmentally appropriate manner. Now in its fourth year, our Houghton Mifflin Science curriculum has K-5 targeted reading levels for increased student accessibility. Complementing these topics are non-fiction independent readers and science support readers. This program is characterized by a variety of hands-on investigations and multi-media components that include MP3 CD Audio student books, interactive CD Rom Labs, CD-Rom simulations and internet resources that include “Cricket Magazine”.
Especially with our Lower School, our science learners can be found engaging in science inquiry skills across these topics. Our students took on the role of paleontologists when we recreated a velociraptor dig within our playground sandbox and they discovered cast fossils for recreating a scaled model of this extinct species. To observe the mechanism of seed dispersal in native plants, we have hiked through the Arnold Arboretum to explore the diversity across different species. When studying electricity, students have created an electromagnet using a nail, wire and battery. To complement our energy conservation study, we have even hosted a fun Magic Show with an Energy Wizard from NSTAR.