Available to: grade 9 students, required for those students

Relying on the motto of the Royal Society of London, Nulius in verba (“take no one’s word for it”), we emphasize that science is an experiential endeavor. How do we know what we know? This class lays the foundation of expectations and approach to the science learning experience that permeates all aspects of the Stevenson science curriculum. Through an integrated science curriculum, foundational topics in physics, chemistry, biology and environmental science are woven into an interdisciplinary study of core scientific concepts. We take advantage of our local marine environment, the world renowned Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary, the Monterey pine forest, and the classroom to solidify practices of scientific measurement, data organization, and analysis. Emphasis is placed on the interconnectedness of all major branches of science necessary for fully analyzing any scientific phenomena, and students develop the knowledge and skills to prepare them for upper-level courses. A significant portion of the second semester is organized around varied capstone projects, designed by students with coaching from instructors and outside experts, to hone the skills that make scientists expert critical thinkers. During this research experience, students learn to back up their scientific reasoning with carefully collected evidence. The year culminates in grade 9 Science Night in May, where students present their research to peers, teachers and parents.