Joan O'Keeffe, Ed.D., Director of K-12 Science & Technology Education
CURRICULUM OVERVIEW: SCIENCE PROGRAM
The Harrison Central School District's K-12 Science Department is focused on creating a rigorous and differentiated learning environment for all students that encourages them to explore science as risk-takers and active, independent learners leading to the development of passionate life-long science learners. Inquiry is a through line in all of our science learning.
Students explore and experience science in the classroom through:
- A cooperative, safe and hands-on approach which simulates the work of real scientists
- Research and the reading and analysis of non-fiction text
- Writing for the purpose of persuasion and explanation through research papers and laboratory reports
- Problem-based learning
- Higher order thinking such as inquiry, analysis and application
- A technology-rich program
- The application of mathematics
- Ethical analysis of past and present-day scientific work
- Consideration of the impact humans have on the environment
- Opportunities for community outreach
Our program supports the New York State Math, Science and Technology Standards (MST), The Common Core Reading and Writing Standards (CCRWS) and the IB Middle Years and Diploma Programme Curriculum. Science standards are specifically assessed using the 4th and 8th grade science assessments, Regents' assessments, and IB DP assessments in grades 11 and 12.
ELEMENTARY K-5: SCIENCE PROGRAM
The K-5 Science Program uses an inquiry-based approach that allows our young students to wonder about the world around them using their senses and natural curiosity.
- Grade K: Weather and Climate; Forces; and Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: Plants and Animals and Ecosystems (New NYSSLS: New York State Science Learning Standards)
- Grade 1: Space Systems; Waves: Sound and Light; Structure, Function and Information Processing (New NYSSLS: New York State Science Learning Standards)
- Grade 2: Structure & Properties of Matter; Earth's Systems: Processes that Shape the Earth; Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems (New NYSSLS: New York State Science Learning Standards)
- Grade 3: Forces & Interactions; Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems; Weather & Climate; Inheritance & Variation of Traits (New NYSSLS: New York State Science Learning Standards)
- Grade 4: Magnetism and Electricity, Measurement, Plants, Rocks and Minerals, and Astronomy
- Grade 5: The Microscopic World, The Scientific Method, and Classification
At the end of grade 4, students are assessed on the Elementary (K-4) New York State Science Core Curriculum through the Grade 4 Elementary-Level Science Test which contains both written and performance-based tasks.
MIDDLE SCHOOL 6-8: SCIENCE PROGRAM
The Harrison Central School District 6-8 Science Program provides students with a comprehensive study of the life and physical sciences. Students begin to study for deeper understanding of concepts and hone their skills in the laboratory in an effort to spark a love for science and to prepare them for the more rigorous high school science program.
- Grade 6: Introduction to Physical Science: Introduction to Matter; Physical and Chemical Properties; Chemical Reactions; Introduction to Energy; Waves; Electromagnetic Energy; Forces (New NYSSLS: New York State Science Learning Standards)
- Grade 7: Living & Non-Living; Classification; Microscopes; Cells; Biochemistry; Cellular Respiration; Photosynthesis; The Human Body; Genetics; Biotechnology; Evolution; Ecology (New NYSSLS: New York State Science Learning Standards)
- Grade 8: Interactions between Matter & Energy; Dynamic Earth & Natural Disasters; Weathering & Erosion; Rocks & Minerals; Weather & Climate & Natural Disasters; The Universe; Earth, Moon & Sun Systems; Human Impact (New NYSSLS: New York State Science Learning Standards)
At the end of grade 8, students are assessed on the Intermediate (5-8) New York State Science Core Curriculum through the Grade 8 Intermediate-Level Science Test which contains both written and performance-based tasks.
HIGH SCHOOL 9-12: SCIENCE PROGRAM
The Harrison Central School District 9-12 Science Program provides students with a variety of science course offerings in the areas of biology, chemistry, earth science and physics. Students are both challenged and intrigued through an in-depth study of these subjects helping to prepare them for their entry into the adult world and/or future studies in the science field.
- Grade 9: Biology
- Grade 10: Earth Science and Foundations in College Chemistry
- Grade 11: Chemistry, Earth Science, IB Biology HL Year 1, IB Biology SL, IB Physics SL and HL Year 1,
- Grade 12: IB Biology SL, IB Biology HL Year 2, IB Physics SL and HL Year 2, IB Physics SL Year 1, Astronomy, Meteorology, Anatomy & Physiology and Forensics
- Grade 10, 11 and 12: Harrison Science Research
The following curricula are assessed through Regents' assessments:
- Living Environment (Biology), Earth Science and Chemistry.
IB Physics and IB Biology are assessed through International Baccalaureate exams.
Important Note: The K-12 Science Department has begun the process of updating our program to reflect the new New York State Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS), which were developed from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).