Our state-of-the-art science laboratory supports our commitment to hands-on learning and allows us to accommodate robust science programming. Students are exposed to increasingly sophisticated scientific concepts they are able to uncover through student-designed experiments and projects. Finally, students may take the Living Environment Regents exam in 8th Grade.
The inquiry process is at the heart of the middle school science curriculum. We believe that science is not an “object” or a noun, but a process that requires students to be active. During middle school science class, students engage in hands-on investigations, collaborate to pose and solve scientific questions, and learn the literacy skills necessary to engage in science at the secondary level.
All students meet for science five or more times per week, allowing for deeper investigations and full experiments. In 8th grade, as part of the Living Environment course, one of those weekly meetings is a 90-minute block period. Students learn the research skills of scientists, are expected to read regularly (nonfiction texts, literature, and journal/magazine articles) for their science courses, and write lab reports and other informational texts. During each unit, our students have the opportunity to connect what they are learning in the classroom to the real world by conducting field work in Prospect Park, exploring the conservatories at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, interacting with exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History, and much more.
Science at MS 8 extends beyond the classroom and the laboratory. MS 8 is part of the Urban Advantage Middle School Science initiative, a standards based science program that promotes scientific inquiry through the use of local science institutions. It provides our teachers and administrators with high-quality professional development as well as classroom materials and equipment that promote scientific inquiry and authentic investigations. Our students and families get vouchers for free access to science institutions such as Staten Island Zoo, New York Hall of Science, Bronx Zoo, American Museum of Natural History, New York Botanic Gardens and the Queens Botanic Gardens.
Our partnership with the Urban Advantage program supports our annual Celebr8 Science event in spring, at which students have the opportunity to present how they solved a problem through experimentation, designed an invention, or illustrated a scientific concept, or to create a science experience. Celebr8 Science both showcases the amazing work that students have done and is an opportunity for students at PS 8/MS 8 in grades K-8 to celebrate their science learning — and for families and friends to celebrate with them and participate in fun, hands-on science activities. Urban Advantage provides additional support to both teachers and middle school students as they design and conduct their experiments. It also hosts events to encourage students and their families to explore local science institutions and organizes the impressive Urban Advantage Science Expo in June each year, to which some MS 8 students are invited to present their work.
Our after school science program with Brooklyn Bridge Park and St. Francis College allows students to explore the ecosystem in the Hudson River and use the state-of-the-art laboratory at St. Francis College to view micro- and macro-organisms. Students learn not only about the history of the park but also about the sustainable features it has to offer. This after school partnership program provides unique learning opportunities for our young scientists at MS 8, and we feel honored to be a part of it.