Science

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Everyone Can Be a Scientist

The excitement, enthusiasm, and curiosity for the wonders of science are in full bloom in our state-of-the-art Science Center and our rich, beautiful gardens that adorn the campus.

The science program is designed to cater to the multiple interests and aptitudes of our student population. Every learning style is nurtured as our science specialists use of visual aids, such as United Streaming Video and SMART Board integration, tactile experiences, small, cooperative, group work, individual exploration, and hands-on projects.

Technology in the Lab

With a variety of technological tools and programs available at their fingertips, like iPads, personal laptops computers, and interactive white boards, our teachers can show PowerPoint presentations, discuss ideas with real world scientist via Skype, access the limitless resources of the Internet, and pepper their inquiry-based science lessons with the latest and greatest applications.

Collaboration & Engagement

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Working collaboratively, students learn to conduct hands-on experiments, grounded in the scientific method. They formulate hypotheses, experiment, and draw conclusions, based on evidence. The fully-equipped Science Center provides opportunities for all students to engage in natural discovery. What’s more, a wide variety of animals, including reptiles, fish, amphibians, butterflies, ants, lizards, and chicks, all call the Science Center home.

Environmental Education

Environmental education is the centerpiece of our school-wide science study. This innovative, experiential program allows students to explore how they can work at home, at school, and in the community to help preserve our natural treasures. Because our campus contains a multitude of outdoor gardens, representing three distinct ecosystems: mountain, rainforest, and desert, our students learn the value of true environmental stewardship, including recycling, planting, and composting, in a hands-on fashion, as they nurture and harvest the produce grown in our own gardens.

The Edible Garden is a quaint, beautiful, and peaceful place where everyone loves to gather. Student and parent volunteers alike develop their green thumbs here and keep the area vibrant and full of seasonal produce, from squash, to cucumber, to zucchini, to watermelon. This care culminates in Planting Day, a wonderful opportunity for students to demonstrate how they give back to the earth.

Science Share

Working in small, cooperative groups, fifth grade students take on the role of scientists in researching, experimenting, analyzing data, and presenting their topic of study. These experiments and projects are showcased during the School’s inquiry-based Science Shares, where parents, friends, and other members of the school community come together to celebrate the students’ work.

Farmers' Market

Our Farmers’ Market program teaches fifth graders about sustainability and economics. Students see what it is like to be local farmers and entrepreneurs: growing and tending the produce in our Edible Garden, designing and packaging the product, determining the cost of each item, and selling the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor at our Open House/Global Faire. Laurence families also pitch in, donating fresh items from their own gardens to be sold. Finally, students man booths at the event and help with the set-up and clean-up of our Performing Arts Center (PAC), where the market is staged. 

Kindergarten

The kindergarten science program encourages children to become “young scientists,” eager to explore the world around them. Our curriculum is designed to nurture their interests through engaging and purposeful activities. Units of study include using the five senses, living things (animals and plants), weather, seasons, and oceanography. Through the school-wide theme “Earth Day, Every Day: Go Global, Go Green,” the children begin to build responsibility and awareness of ways to keep the Earth healthy. To enhance their studies, our students take a field trip to Tree People and discover many useful and wonderful things about trees and the urban forest in the Los Angeles area.

Our fully equipped indoor science lab and outdoor gardens and ecosystems provide a unique setting for hands-on experiments to foster young children’s natural curiosity, while providing opportunities for them to care for plants and animals. On-line, parents can find an interactive science curriculum, which is helpful to both teachers and students in the classroom and to families at home.
  

First Grade

The first grade science program is engaging and enriches the students’ awareness of themselves and the world in which they live. First graders discover many different animal and plant habitats. To further enhance this unit, they take a field trip to the zoo to observe and compare the different animals. They also garden and harvest in themed-planters located in the Edible Garden and learn about the importance of keeping their bodies and the environment healthy and safe. Our young scientists think and work like real scientists by exploring and experimenting in our fully-equipped lab, making observations, keeping journals, and communicating reflections.

Second Grade

The second grade science program involves the study of living things, energy, our solar system, health, and how things move. Children learn about the world around them, while studying our interactive curriculum, discussing their finding with other students, experimenting, and working on projects at school. The young scientists also explore plants, animals, dinosaurs and fossils, the earth’s natural resources and recycling, motion, force, light and sound, and the planets. Our state-of-the-art science lab and outdoor ecosystems and gardens provide wonderful places for students to engage in many hands-on learning opportunities. Science-themed field trips further enhance our children’s learning by providing them with real-life, science-centered experiences upon which to draw.

Third Grade

Third grade science is enhanced by an interactive, online curriculum, “A Child’s Place in the Environment,” which strengthens students’ knowledge of the interdependence of living things. Other themes explored include preserving and restoring the earth’s precious resources, energy, matter, geology, and good nutrition. Further enriching our program are our school’s diverse gardens and ecosystems and a fully-equipped Science Center. Hands-on experiences include: weekly lab work, monthly gardening, a school-wide Planting Day, enrichment assemblies, and service learning that promotes environmental stewardship. The third graders are also given the opportunity to prove their understanding of the scientific method by designing their own experiments and sharing them with their class.

Fourth Grade

The fourth grade science curriculum features an in-depth study of water, its properties, and its impact  on California's growth, development, and agriculture. A highlight of the unit includes a trip to the Sepulveda Basin. During a unit on biomes, the students take virtual field trips using CalAlive, a computer-based program, which allows them to make observations and conduct experiments on all of California’s biomes. Students also study the food chain, health and nutrition, and energy, with a focus on electricity and magnetism.

“A Child’s Place in the Environment,” an interactive curriculum, connects the fourth grade children’s science studies with literature and art. Hands-on experiences include: weekly lab work, monthly gardening, a school-wide Planting Day, enrichment assemblies, and service learning that promotes environmental stewardship. Importantly, the fourth graders spearhead our school’s recycling program, donating the year’s proceeds back to the School to keep the program running and to an environmental cause of their choosing. 

Caring for the science lab animals is the highly-envied last piece of the fourth grade curriculum. Each day at recess or lunch, the children are responsible for coming to the Science Center to feed their furry friends. They then train the incoming fourth graders on the feeding procedures at the year’s end.

Fifth Grade

In fifth grade science, the children benefit from applying the scientific method to their studies in our fully equipped science lab, beautiful outdoor gardens, and surrounding ecosystems. The fifth grade curriculum includes units on life, earth, and physical science. As such, students study the ocean, including its flora and fauna and many different habitats. Working in small, cooperative groups and independently, they also explore units on the body (human development/puberty), the solar system and astronomy, and even robotics.

Using Lego NXT robotics kits, students work in groups to solve challenges such as programming a robot to follow a line through an obstacle course or to dance to music. Furthermore, they collaborate on projects with children in other independent schools, communicating with these partner classes via blogging, Skype conferencing, and even a combined field trip, where they demonstrate a joint robotics showcase. What’s more, through the use of an interactive online curriculum, students and their families can conveniently access the science program from home

A true high point of the fifth grade is a three day, two night excursion to Astrocamp, where students participate in science enrichment programming, as well as in outdoor educational experiences. Another standout aspect of the fifth grade program is the spring Inquiry-based Science Share, where students, working in small, cooperative groups, take on the role of scientists in formulating questions and testing hypotheses on any given topic, applicable to the curriculum. They plan and conduct investigations, emphasizing skills such as predicting, drawing inferences, measuring, identifying cause and effect relationships, and supporting conclusions with evidence. Finally, they showcase their work before parents, friends, and other members of the School community.

The children also have many opportunities to be leaders through science. On Planting Day, a wonderful opportunity for students to demonstrate environmental stewardship by nurturing our own Laurence Edible Garden, fifth graders spearhead the composting program by presenting skits about its benefits to their younger peers. Through our Farmers’ Market program, they learn about sustainability and economics and see what it is like to be local farmers and entrepreneurs: growing and tending the produce in our Edible Garden, designing and packaging the product, determining the cost of each item, and selling the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor at our Open House/Global Faire. Laurence families also pitch in, donating fresh items from their own gardens to be sold. Finally, students man booths at the event and help with the set-up and clean-up of our Performing Arts Center (PAC), where the market is staged. 

Sixth Grade

The sixth grade science program provides many hands-on opportunities for students to continue to explore the changing world around them. It begins with a wonderful three-day, two-night outdoor educational experience to Pali Camp. There, students participate in team-building activities as well as in science enrichment programs. During the school year, students study units on ecology, genetics, archaeology, energy, and plate tectonics. An online curriculum, as well as a class website, helps to bridge work from school to home.

As leaders of a school-wide Planting Day, a wonderful opportunity for demonstrating environmental stewardship, the sixth grade children nurture Laurence’s Edible Garden and prepare the garden beds; they plan which vegetables to grow, decide which science activities to demonstrate, and run five interactive stations, visited by their younger peers. Previous experiments have included testing vegetables for sugar and starch content and matching seeds to their grown vegetable counterparts, and previous stations have included: an eating station, where hungry children consume vegetable-based soups and hearty breads, a planting station, where sixth graders supervise the younger students as they bury various winter vegetables into our edible garden soil, a savory station, where children smell, touch, and taste freshly-grown herbs, and an experiment station, where Laurence seniors lead their underclassmen in an experiment of their choosing. 
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