Science

Queens Paideia’s science curriculum covers the subject matter of the life sciences, the physical sciences, and earth/space science, along with practical applications of this knowledge in engineering and human affairs, throughout history. A distinct aspect of QPS’s curriculum is focus on the methods of science as the primary means to find things out, put questions to nature, and make sense of the answers received. Students apply critical thinking and analysis to approach scientific questions and create strategies for answering them. They learn these skills through discussion, independent research, hands-on experiments, and demonstrations, and they practice them in projects they originate on topics that interest them.

science

Stage 1. Foundational Concepts (approx. ages 5-7)

Students are introduced to concepts in life science, physical science, and earth/space science. At this early stage, topics are treated in a big-picture way to be elaborated in subsequent stages. Students learn to recognize patterns across various scientific concepts and obtain initial practice in classifying and organizing information—important building blocks for future learning in science and many other areas.

Life sciences: animals and plants; basic human body parts and their functions.
Physical sciences: basic forces; states of energy (sound, heat, light); types of materials.
Earth/space sciences: seasons and weather; water cycle; solar system and time measurement via rotations and orbits of planets and moons; pollution and recycling.

In this stage students perform simple lab experiments and observe demonstrations to provide context for the concepts they are learning in individual and group sessions. They also conduct their own experiments, form hypotheses, and analyze and compare actual with predicted results.

Stage 2. Working with Scientific Concepts (approx. ages 7-9)

Students in Stage 2 revisit topics from Stage 1 in greater depth and detail, and increase their conceptual understanding of topics in life science, physical science, and earth/space science. They engage in independent research by writing short reports on topics of interest to them, and carry out related projects. Students are introduced to the scientific method and the use of standard lab materials and tools, like rulers, scales, and microscopes, to measure and record data. They write their first lab reports, and discuss in group sessions the impacts of science and technology on society.

Life sciences: ecosystems and biodiversity; plant and animal adaptations for survival; life cycles.
Physical sciences: states of matter; atoms and molecules; simple collisions; magnetism; electricity.
Earth/space sciences: basic geology and landform development; extreme weather patterns (hurricanes, tornados, floods); volcanic activity and plate tectonics; causes/effects of erosion.

Stage 3. Delving into the Scientific Method (approx. ages 9-12)

Students build on the basic conceptual knowledge they acquire, and use more mathematics in their research and analysis. They are exposed to simple chemistry and physics and continue to write research papers with increased use of multiple sources and scientific principles and facts to support their arguments. Lab reports are more detailed and include data recorded in tables or charts, which are then used to create graphs; students interpret the data in relation to the validity of hypotheses. They discuss ways to improve experiments and demonstrations, as well as possible sources of error.

In this stage students also review previous topics, and again go into greater depth and detail within them.

Life sciences: structures and organs of plants and animals; human anatomy; predator/prey relationships; taxonomy; food webs/chains in various ecosystems.
Physical sciences: wave properties of sound, light and the electromagnetic spectrum; conservation of matter; molecules; chemical vs. physical changes; gravity.
Earth/space sciences: weathering/erosion, human impact on the environment; water cycle; planetary motion.

Stage 4. Research, Experiments, and Applications (approx. ages 11-14)

In this stage students do independent research, perform experiments, and make ever-increasing use of mathematics. They write multiple in-depth essays on topics that interest them, and work with the Learning Manager to find appropriate resources. Both individually and in groups, students design their own experiments, including multi-variable experiments, to test theses that they develop. And they learn to connect their knowledge to real-world scenarios and to explain how science and technology impact the world.

Life sciences: cell structures and functions, photosynthesis, human body organs and tissues, basic genetics and reproduction, population growth in ecosystems, evolution and natural selection, and further detail of relationships between organisms.
Physical sciences: simple molecule modeling, classification of physical or chemical reactions, basic thermodynamics, simple mathematics of Newton's laws of motion, simple mathematics of energy conservation and conversion, electrical and magnetic fields, optics, and wave motion.
Earth/space sciences: lunar phases, geologic history of the earth, rock formations and types, carbon cycle, water cycle, air pressure systems, effects of global warming on climate, and the impact of human population on global resources.

Stage 5. Further Inquiry and Applications (approx. ages 13-18)

Queens Paideia’s secondary science program teaches students how to approach a problem from a scientific perspective and find appropriate solutions using the scientific method. The four major areas of study are earth and space science, biology, chemistry, and physics. The focus is always on conceptual understanding and application of knowledge, rather than rote memorization of facts, so that students may become practiced critical thinkers. As in earlier stages, they research topics, formulate hypotheses, design and carry out experiments, analyze data, draw conclusions, and write papers in which they describe their results.


Earth and Space Science

In geology, geography, and examinations of climate cycles, students use research and modeling to increase their understanding of how the earth was formed, how land masses have changed over time, and how humans impact the natural environment. They also look at planets, stars, moons, asteroids and research their formation and movements.


Units

Origin of the universe
Big bang theory
The formation of star and planets
Kepler’s laws of planetary motion
Geologic eras
Rock classification and the fossil record
Plate Tectonics
Erosion and Landscape Formation
Water Cycle
Currents and Ocean Tides
Global Climate Modeling
Natural Resources
Human Impact on Environment
Climate Change and Effects


Biology

All the major topics of life science are covered, including human body systems and processes, cellular structures, evolution, and ecosystems. Students research the life systems of plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria and how they interact. They perform experiments and conduct research on how organisms develop, how they interact with one another, and the effects they have on the environment.

Units
The scientific method
Cellular structure, function, and reproduction
Archaea, bacteria, and viruses
Eukaryotes and prokaryotes
Fungi and spore plants
Plant morphology, functions
Photosynthesis
Fish, mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles
Adaptations
Predator–prey relationships
Population growth and decay
Ecosystem dynamics
Human impact on ecosystems
Human body systems
Nutrition
Diseases
Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco
Genetics and DNA
Darwin and the Theory of Evolution
Natural selection
The Fossil record
Early human evolution


Chemistry

Students conduct experiments relating to molecular properties and analyze how elements interact with each other to form chemical compounds. They discover the various properties of matter, how it can change, and the impact these changes have in shaping our lives and our world.

A primary focus is on laboratory experiments and demonstrations that give students the opportunity to test theories and reinforce concepts encountered through discussion and independent study. There is great emphasis on using mathematics to describe molecular bonding, chemical reactions, and radioactive decay.

Units
Chemical symbols, formulas, equations
Atomic theory and structure
Chemical reactions
Solutions and mixtures
The periodic table
The electromagnetic spectrum
Acid-base reactions
Covalent vs. ionic bonds
Pressure and volume
States of matter
Laws of thermodynamics
Entropy
Nuclear chemistry


Physics

Students learn how to calculate forces and how forces interact in a Newtonian system. They explore forms of energy (chemical, kinetic, potential, electro-magnetic, and acoustic) and how and why energy changes forms. Chemistry concepts—e.g., atomic structure, states of matter, and the periodic table—are revisited, and nuclear physics is introduced along with the general theory of relativity.

Students apply appropriate-level mathematics in laboratory experiments, demonstrations, and regular homework assignments. 

By studying the historical foundations of physics and the ways that modern technology and engineering are based on these foundations, students can appreciate how technological endeavors present challenges to science in ways that provoke advances.

Units
Systems of measurement and standards
Mechanics
Newton’s Laws of Motion
Forces and friction
Momentum
Energy
Gravity and projectile motion
Rotational motion and torque
Pressure-volume relationship
Thermodynamics and heat transfer
Vibrations, waves, sound and acoustics
Electricity, magnetism and circuits
Electromagnetic induction
Properties of light
Refraction and reflection
Nuclear science and radioactivity
Relativity