Dr. Martina Kroll, Head of Department
The goal of the science curriculum at Cistercian is two-fold: to provide all students with a fundamental understanding of the physical world and to train them in the use of the scientific method. The four major areas of science are investigated in the middle school and again in the upper school, through the required coursework and a variety of elective classes that are offered each year in the upper school. In all classes, inquiry activities, laboratory work, computer use and teacher presentations provide students with a variety of tools that facilitate the learning process.
Form I Earth Science introduces students to processes used in scientific study while they learn about fundamental forces that shape planet earth and the universe. In Form II, life science capitalizes on the boys' natural curiosity and provides an introduction to cells as the building blocks of living things, along with an overview of the organisms that thrive in the word around us. In Forms III and IV, basic principles of physics and chemistry are presented through investigations, experiments and various projects. Students develop concepts of things they cannot see by building and using models of the smallest particles of matter, along with computer simulations. Mathematical formulas and graphical analysis are used to demonstrate and analyze relationships between variables.
Computer Science, introduced in first and second forms, builds a foundation for the subsequent use of computers throughout the curriculum. In Form I, students learn the principles of computer programming using the Scratch project from MIT. In Form II, they apply these principles to programming using the Python language, which is a tool they can use throughout the rest of their time at Cistercian, and on into college. Computer applications are also introduced in Form I. By the time they enter Upper School, students have worked extensively with Word and Power point, and have been introduced to the use of Excel.
In the upper school, students study one year of Biology (Form V), Chemistry (Form VI), and Physics (Form VII). In Form VIII students are required to take a second, college-level course in one of these three disciplines. At each level laboratory work is combined with the teaching of scientific theory, and work on projects. The accelerated nature of the mathematics curriculum allows for a strong emphasis on the use of appropriate mathematical analysis in each course.