Science in our elementary school curriculum is driven by the 'big ideas' (concepts) and skills rather than by content (scientific facts and details). It is viewed as a way of thinking, and as a process with balance between the understanding of the big ideas and knowledge and skills. And while facts and details are important, they are not the main focus of instruction. Rather, they support and validate our students' thinking and understanding.
We learn science because it helps us to understand 'how do we know what we know?'. It helps us to understand the nature of science-- that its facts and details are temporary and change over time, that it involves critical thinking, problem solving, and has a strong element of excitement when discovering something new. Science helps us to understand the natural and man-made world around us.
Our elementary uses the Next Generation science standards of Earth and Space, Life, Physical, and Engineering and Design components. Rather than being taught as a discrete subject, science in our elementary school is integrated and embedded throughout the curriculum, predominantly in our Units of Inquiry. There, our students learn to think like a scientist by asking questions, designing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, explaining, finding, evaluating, and stating an idea or point of view from evidence. These skills are transferable and are emphasized across all disciplines.
The days of when teachers demonstrated an experiment and acted as the expert are long gone. Our students participate actively in designing hands-on experiences, explore challenging open-ended questions, find solutions and new applications, and to see that science is connected to and an important part of all learning at Canadian Academy.