Science

Often a group of Brookwood science students can be found venturing beyond their classroom walls to explore our campus and the surrounding areas. They study specimens from and make maps of the Cutler Pond, collect water and soil samples from the Brookwood stream, compare and contrast the school’s wetlands areas with the surrounding woods, create a vernal pond field guide, investigate why salt marshes are among the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world, and examine the critical link between the salt marsh and the ocean.

At each grade level, field studies such as these complement the investigations that are taking place in dedicated laboratory spaces. Inside, students can be found constructing clay and paper reptiles and amphibians for the Herp Museum, practicing presentations for our upcoming Sustainability Fair, using Newton’s Laws of Motion to construct and test water bottle rockets, learning African American and Iroquois cultures through the study of constellations, or using student-constructed models to discover how the systems in the human body work and how to maintain a healthy body.

At Brookwood, our students engage in the type of study that both promotes scientific understanding and also develops the scientific habits of mind that can help them make sense of the natural and designed worlds. The work that students do at each grade level is hands-on and often collaborative; it is also skill-based and built upon observation and problem solving.

Outstanding technology, state-of-the-art facilities, a campus that lends itself to scientific inquiry, and a dedicated faculty support the Brookwood science program. We boast a 1,000 square-foot Science Gym, a kind of gym of the mind dedicated to all aspects of the science experience; four science classrooms, each with outdoor access and complementary lab space; our own set of wireless laptop computers; Smartboard technology in each classroom; at least six different aquatic habitats, as well as a 55-foot long, original, interactive wildlife mural that depicts each of those habitats from a uniquely Brookwood perspective.

Science Curricular Goals
Generally, the Science Department seeks to have Brookwood students:

  • Use the scientific method to design and/or carry out controlled experiments in order to answer questions in all disciplines of sciences
  • Develop the familiarity and ability to use basic lab equipment safely
  • Make careful quantitative and qualitative observations
  • Analyze, interpret, report and draw logical conclusions from the results of an experiment
  • Appreciate the myriad of ways, in addition to the scientific method, in which scientific investigation can occur
  • Understand the scientific concepts behind observed daily phenomena within the context of life, earth, and physical science
  • Feel responsible for the natural environment and know how human activity can affect it
  • See scientific inquiry as a dynamic, enjoyable and exciting endeavor
  • Appreciate the importance of being curious in scientific inquiry and everyday life


Grade Level Curricular Goals and Focal Points
At each respective grade level, our goal is to have Brookwood students:

Pre-K/Kindergarten:

  • Explore concepts and content related to solar system, gravity, space travel
  • Explore and draw conclusions from the Arctic food chains

Grade One:

  • Gain familiarity with cycles of life and death in nature
  • Understand the basic structures of our solar system
  • Become familiar with basic weather phenomenon

Grade Two:

  • Understand how scientists group plants and animals
  • Understand the ecological role of insects
  • Understand the ecological role of reptiles and amphibians
  • Understand the ecological role of mammals
  • Understand the properties of magnets

Grade Three:

  • Understand basics of pond ecosystems
  • Understand the basic physical properties of water
  • Understand the forces that shape the ever-changing surface of our planet (tectonics, etc)
  • Explore the nature of friends and family groupings

Grade Four:

  • Appreciate the importance and function of wetlands and specifically vernal pools
  • Experience problem solving in the areas of engineering and robotics
  • Gain familiarity with the biodiversity of life on Earth and why it is threatened
  • Gain familiarity with the major systems of the human body
  • Understand the relationship between the human reproductive system and reproduction, itself

Grade Five:

  • Understand how biotic and abiotic factors interact in habitats and ecosystems
  • Appreciate the complexity of salt water marsh ecology
  • Understand that materials are composed of and have properties determined by extremely small particles
  • Understand what electricity is and how it can be used
  • Identify different energy resources and evaluate the relative pros and cons of each
  • Explore how human ingenuity and resources intersect in the fields of engineering and technology
  • Use the metric system to estimate, measure and make calculations
  • Understand the components of and processes involved in the rock cycle
  • Understand changes that occur during spring in bird migration, plant growth and insects
  • Categorize the changes of puberty and both identify and recognize the functions of the parts of the human reproductive systems

Grade Six:

  • Use the metric system to estimate, measure and make calculations
  • Use the steps of the scientific method to design, carry out, and report the findings of a scientific investigation
  • Explain the relationships between the temperature, volume, and density of liquids and gases
  • Understand the motions of the earth
  • Explain the relationships between the earth, moon and sun
  • Understand the interdependent nature of a complex ecosystem such as an estuary and a stream
  • Understand the development of and changes associated with puberty and adolescence

Grade Seven:

  • Compare, contrast, and classify living and non-living things
  • Use a microscope in order to understand the nature of cells and how they work together to form tissues, organs, systems and organisms
  • Understand the role of DNA and genetics in the passing of traits to successive generations
  • Understand the roles of genetic diversity and natural selection in the evolution of organisms and explain the evidence of evolution
  • Understand the anatomy and physiology of the human digestive, muscular, endocrine, skeletal, nervous, excretory, circulatory, respiratory and reproductive systems
  • Be able to identify disorders of these body systems and ways to keep them healthy
  • Understand conception, pregnancy, birth, and birth control

Grade Eight:

  • Use the metric system to estimate, measure and make calculations
  • Understand the roles of independent, dependent, and potentially confounding variables in a controlled experiment
  • Use the steps of the scientific method to design, carry out, and report the findings of a chemistry investigation
  • Identify, compare and contrast chemical and physical changes; understand the role of atoms, molecules and energy in each
  • Distinguish between elements, compounds and mixtures
  • Understand chemical reactions and the factors that can affect their rates
  • Compare the subatomic particles of an atom and explain their role in the ordering of the periodic table, as well as ionic and covalent bonding
  • Distinguish between different forms of energy
  • Identify the parts of the electromagnetic spectrum and the relationship between wavelength and frequency of mechanical and electromagnetic waves
  • Explain the relationship between forces, motion, velocity and acceleration
  • Understand Newton’s three Laws of Motion and identify common examples that illustrate each
  • Apply an understanding of engineering principles and Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion in the construction and testing of a water bottle rocket
  • Understand conception, pregnancy, birth, birth control and ways to keep the human reproductive systems healthy
  • Identify the arguments behind various bioethical issues having to do with human reproduction and sexuality