Science at the ISF Academy is divided into the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP), in accordance with the International Baccalaureate (IB). Students build knowledge and skills in Grade 6 – 10 MYP to prepare for the rigor of the IB Diploma course in Grade 11 – 12.
For Grade 6 – 10, the ISF Academy Science Department has developed an approach to MYP Integrated Science by emphasizing the 'Big Scientific Ideas' that are concepts that link the different domains of Science (as stated in the MYP Sciences Guide).
These 'Big Scientific Ideas' are contextualized and form statements of inquiry in each unit, so that students can interrelate knowledge from various Science fields and construct a coherent and scientifically based view of the world. The Science Curriculum for MYP is backward mapped from the DP Science Framework and drawing upon concept statements from the US-based Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) further broadens it, with content aligned to the UK-based national curriculum and skills backward mapped from the DP.
More specifically, the MYP Science program in Grade 6 and 7 is adapted from the Wikid Science inquiry-based learning resources and is tailored to the needs of ISF Academy students. This program is designed to introduce scientific concepts, developing a broad scientific understanding, and motivating students at a crucial concrete learning phase using real-world situations.
The Science program in Grade 8 to 10 is designed to develop scientific understanding and motivate students by addressing the Grand Engineering Challenges of the 21st Century. The US National Academies introduce these challenges as those a waiting in the "broad realms of human concern — sustainability, health, vulnerability, and joy of living". These challenges will motivate students to "seek ways to put knowledge into practice to meet these grand challenges by applying the rules of reason, the findings of Science, the aesthetics of art, and the spark of creative imagination" so that students develop solutions that can be universally applied. Grade 8 – 10 is a key stage during which students use inquiry-based resources to make the transition from the concrete learning phase into abstract learning, as students move up through the Grade levels preparing for the IB Diploma.
Each unit in Grade 6 – 10 focuses on developing a different Area of Interaction, based on a global context, that will challenge students to raise their awareness, develop an action, and reflect on their learning. Each unit also focuses on developing a different Approach to Learning.
In Grade 11 – 12, students complete the DP, which is a rigorous, two-year pre-university course. From the Experimental Sciences requirement (Group 4), students at ISF are offered three disciplines: Biology, Chemistry, or Physics.
The Nature of Science (NOS) is an important theme that manifests in all three scientific disciplines. It includes explorations into:
- the essence of Science and the scientific endeavor,
- an understanding of Science and its hypotheses, theories, and laws,
- the objectivity of Science,
- the human face of Science,
- and scientific literacy and the public understanding of Science.
While many skills, such as critical thinking and analysis, are developed throughout all DP courses, students have the option of taking subjects at Standard Level (SL) or Higher Level (HL). Both levels undertake a common core syllabus and common Internal Assessment (IA), but students at HL are required to study some topics in greater depth and breadth, and are also given more time, than those at SL. Both SL and HL student work are assessed externally.
Whether studying Biology, Chemistry, or Physics, the aim is for students to develop and understanding of how scientists work and communicate with each other. The emphasis on all three disciplines is on the investigative approach through which students understand Science and the world around them. Further aims include enabling students to:
- appreciate scientific study and creativity within a global context
- both acquire and apply a body of knowledge, methods, and techniques that characterize Science
- develop an ability to inquire about, analyze, evaluate and synthesize scientific information
- develop and apply 21st century communication skills in the study of Science
- become critically aware, as global citizens, of the ethical implications of using Science and technology
- develop an appreciation of the possibilities and limitations of Science and technology
- develop an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and their influence on other areas of knowledge.
(Adapted from the DP Sciences Guide)
For more information about the IB, please visit their website.
There is no doubt that after a student has experienced Science at ISF Academy, he or she will be able to confidently continue studying Science at any university and more importantly, he or she will be able to better understand the natural world and make significant contributions as a responsible global citizen.