While scientific topics are naturally integrated into the other content areas as teachers seek out cross-curricular learning opportunities and follow students’ innate curiosities, Science is upheld and offered as a specialist class at Gig Harbor Academy for early childhood through elementary students. Taking full advantage of our expansive outdoor campus, it is not uncommon to spot Science class on the wetlands trail, in the school gardens, or within the archaeological dig site – when they are not examining hornet nests under a microscope, designing a model of an eye, or building steady hand games with electrical circuits in the classroom, that is!
The primary goal of Science instruction at GHA is to develop students’ understanding of scientific inquiry, helping them to visualize and embrace science as a process of asking questions about phenomena, conducting investigations to answer those questions, and building explanations based on evidence. Our young scientists are empowered to uncover new understandings through active and collaborative learning rather than a teacher simply espousing scientific principles. In addition to inspiring a love of science and anchoring understandings to prepare them for middle school, this class deliberately fosters life lessons. Students are encouraged to try their best and to not fear failure. If something does not work as expected, students are guided through reflection on the process and reworking their solutions. Critical thinking, innovativeness, and a collaborative spirit are among the traits GHA graduates take into their future academic pursuits as a result of Science.