Middle School science classes at Bishop Noland Episcopal Day School meet in a well-equipped laboratory/classroom. Science equipment and supplies are also available to the Lower School when needed. Students work in investigative groups of three to five. In addition to providing a strong academic background, critical thinking skills are stressed. Activities are designed to reinforce the concepts presented in basic content. Field trips are planned to supplement content and class activities.
The life science curriculum of the seventh grade begins with a brief ecology study, which brings all the biomes from the lower school together for the student. Students learn what characteristics are needed for an organism to be classified as living. Organisms are then broken down into the most basic unit of structure and function, which is the cell. Students study the cell’s processes and reproduction. Genetics offers several opportunities to study how traits are inherited from one generation to the next. In the lab, students create baby “reebops” and fictitious offspring. They also learn how to extract the DNA from a strawberry. Students also study taxonomy, which allows us to concentrate on each of the five kingdoms. We dissect a variety of organisms for comparative anatomy. At the end of the year, human systems are studied. A physician parent dissects a deer’s heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys for us and relates it to human organs. Each year students team with the fourth graders and the LSU Coastal Roots Program to plant long-life pines which students have planted and nurtured on campus.
The eighth grade students are encouraged to become more independent learners. Cooperative learning skills are enhanced through group work. The earth science curriculum features a study of mapping our Earth, Earth’s structure, geology (earthquakes and volcanoes included), weather and climate, water and other resources, and astronomy. Students learn how to test the water quality from several types of equipment/test kits. They also participate in a water quality lab in which they identify point source and non point source contamination. Some of the labs covered in the eighth grade are: survival island, mechanical and chemical weathering of rock, crystal trees, testing of ground level ozone, tracking hurricanes, locating an earthquake’s epicenter, and ornament making.
The EDS Science Fair is an annual event. Higher order thinking skills are further developed in this activity. Students develop hypotheses and design experiments that are scientifically sound. Technical writing is used in reporting research. Middle School grades participate in either the Science Fair or Social Studies Fair. EDS regularly participates in both the regional and state competitions.