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Science Department

Course Description:

The Urbana Middle School Science program is designed to actively involve students in “doing science”. The department has a hands on, activity-oriented curriculum in which observation and experimentation are stressed. This method promotes a basic knowledge of science, the development of science process skills, and the application of problem-solving skills to everyday life. Students tend to be comfortable solving problems with a set formula or simple recall of facts and vocabulary. Yet the real world of today demands that students work with complex problems — often with no single “right” answer. The goal is to produce independent learners who can identify and analyze problems using the scientific process and evaluate multiple solutions to problems in terms of costs and benefits. Project 2061 and other science educational reforms have stressed the importance of “less is more.” As a result, the curriculum actually has far fewer isolated facts and topics and far more depth and real life applications. The curriculum is a continuing spiral with some topics repeated at certain grade levels, but studied in greater depth as the student’s progress from kindergarten through eighth grade. Assessment is often the lab report or performance testing. Many teacher-generated and supplemental materials such as Science World, Science Explorer, Lucas Learning software, AIMS, and TOPS enrich the basic text.