By Colette de Beus and Hailey Waller
The new science program at Chadwick started two years ago in the 2008-2009 school year. It is an integrated science program with the goal of incorporating more than one discipline of science into one class. In this sense, students will have the ability to explore how the different approaches relate to each other.
“There is a lot of forward thinking going on to make our science program even better than it already is,” said Science Department Head Tyson Sacco.
“It is a good program, and I am very excited to teach Chadwick kids how all disciplines fit together,” said science teacher Maya Rao.
This program is also more beneficial than the old program in other ways.
In previous years, in order to get into an honors or Advanced Placement class, students had to accell at the subject taught the year prior. Students had to get their teacher’s recommendation and at least an A- 4 in order to to move up to the honors or AP level.
However, with the new program, if a student is not as good in a certain discipline, this shortcoming only counts for one trimester of their grade.
The program starts in middle school and is progressing with the class of 2013. In seventh grade, students will take an integrated life science course. In the eighth grade, students study the earth physically, biologically, and chemically. Freshman year, students study biology, physics and chemistry throughout the year.
This year is the first academic cycle where physics, biology and chemistry have been combined into one class in the tenth grade curriculum.
Each year, new topics are learned, but key concepts are always re-taught.
Sophomore Evan Hamilton said, “I like the concept, but I don’t know how it will be implemented. I especially don’t feel like I retained very much information from the eighth grade program.”
The program is designed this way so that by junior and senior year, students can have the option of advanced classes.
Juniorswill have the option of taking Biology or AP Biology, and seniors will have the option of taking Marine Biology, Advanced Environmental Science, Physics or AP Physics.
“The integrated system makes sense in concept, but I prefer my old school’s way because it allowed me to focus on just one thing at a time,” said sophomore George Cullen.
There are still many changes to come in the science department. Chadwick has a highly educated science faculty (most science teachers have Ph.D.s), and this new program allows the curriculum to take advantage of their specialities. It allows teacher to teach subjects that they are knowledgeable in.
For example, in the future, students may have the option of taking astronomy, engineering, robotics, organic chemistry, or applied chemistry, where students can apply what they have learned in past years.
Sophomore Melissa Shadden said, “I feel that the new science program really enables students to choose classes according to their personal preferences.”
In past two years, there has been a lot of controversy over this program.
Some people like the new program. Freshman Juri Watanabe praised the concept of academic repetition. “Integrated science is good because you repeat the same concepts over and over every year,” said Watanabe, “but I think it would be better if we could have a different teacher for each trimester because sometimes the teacher doesn’t know about all of the subjects.”’
Others, like sophomore Samantha Brooks, are not as enthusiastic and do not like it. “At first, I thought integrated science was a great idea because by junior and senior year we would have the option to go forward with the classes that we are most interested in,” she said. “However, trying to cram multiple subjects into one course is harder than it might sound.”