Science: Nature Studies
Guiding a student to a conceptual understanding of the natural sciences is key to a well-rounded and competitive education. The student's study of nature combines age-appropriate literacy in essential scientific concepts with hands-on activities. This approach prepares the student for the demands of secondary education by anticipating the twofold classroom/laboratory methodology of high school regents and advanced science courses. Furthermore, it reflects the scientific method where theory and observation are used in tandem to arrive at solid conclusions. Learning begins with a question and the formulation of a hypothesis, then leads to experimentation, culminating in conclusions that reflect scientific theory.
From kindergarten to eighth grade, students will touch upon each of the various natural sciences multiple times. At the conclusion of the student's course of studies in eighth grade, he or she will have met the major theories forming the basis of the sciences to be covered in high school, forming a foundation for Earth Science (comprising Geology, Meteorology, Oceanography, and some Astronomy), Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Technology.
The Classical Dimension
The classically trained scholar uses the strong tools acquired in other subjects to find meaning in the sciences beyond facts, figures, and theories. As each new concept is explored in nature studies, from the infinitesimal chemical building blocks of life to the immeasurable spans of space, students are engaged by the wonder and beauty of nature. This wonder is found by our pupils in three areas that rarely meet in the contemporary education of young minds: (1) the scope of modern knowledge, (2) the legacy of antiquity inaugurated by the Greeks—a classical eye for discerning natural order, harmony, reason, and beauty, and, (3) as Charlemagne famously taught his pupils at Aachen, an awareness of the mind of God as reflected in the book that is nature.
The classical approach to scientific thinking does not treat fields of learning as isolated, unrelated, or even mutually exclusive. Beyond raw disintegrated data, the wisdom loving mind views scientific truth as holding a place in the hierarchy of all truths. Aristotle first articulated this hierarchy, medieval scholars refined and expanded upon it, and modern discovery presents the opportunity to do great things with the unprecedented means available.
Scientific ideas did not arise in isolation from history, so they are not taught in isolation from history. Modern science's sweeping array of concepts are given context and meaning through the students' deep historical studies. Students are also shown that the use of knowledge and technology, like any human situation, always presents a moral dimension. Technology amplifies our decisions be they good or bad. Scientific discovery is not an end in itself, but a means to do good, thus glorifying God.
Central to the science program, Delta Science Modules offer a combination of hands-on experiments and related activities. Making use of the modules, the following themes are covered in each grade:
Kindergarten: Dinosaurs and Fossils; Basic Animal Groups; Plants and Plant Parts; Water Cycle; Solar System (sun, moon, planets, and stars); Seasons; My Body (the senses); Simple Machines; and Magnets.
Grade 1: Animals; Plants; and the Human Body.
Grade 2: Waterways; Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils; Soil and Magnets; Water; Climate and Weather; and Astronomy.
Grade 3: Insect Life; Food Chains and Webs; and Plant and Animal Cycles.
Grade 4: Earth Movements; Water Cycle; and the Solar System.
Grade 5: Oceans; Weather; and Color and Light.
Grade 6: Simple Machines; Electromagnetism; Matter and Change.
Grade 7: You and Your Body; DNA: Genes and Proteins; and Plants in Our World.
Grade 8: Earth Processes; Earth, Moon, and Sun; and Astronomy.