The Pathfinder School: Traverse City Community School


It's Everywhere - Let Us Show You!

Click to download A Day in the Life of Middle School Science

CHECK OUT the Middle School Science Blog 

Elementary Science: Peter Galopin
Middle School Science: Shane Harrison

“I wonder what would happen if…?”

The human brain has evolved trying to figure things out. We are all born with a deep desire to find answers. Science in the real world is not something you listen to; it’s something you do. In Pathfinder science classes, students are challenged to ask questions, make predictions, design experiments to figure things out, and then to go further by asking more questions. Working collaboratively, students are engaged in short and long-term projects relating to the content being studied. Practicing scientists are most effective in finding things out when they engage in collaborative efforts that require a variety of intellectual approaches. Crick and Watson understood the chemistry of DNA long before they were able to tap into their visual intelligences and envision its double helix structure. (They actually scavenged the work of a competing woman scientist, but that’s another story…)

Pathfinder students gain a clearer understanding of scientific principles when they engage with the process and content in a meaningful way, academically, emotionally and intellectually. Experiential learning involves making and then testing predictions and hypotheses, designing and executing experiments, and evaluating the results. Students apply their knowledge base, experience and critical thinking skills to answering their own questions. Just as working scientists do, they are also responsible for communicating their findings to their peers and community. Pathfinder science students own the process, as well as the product, and are much more likely to extend the understanding gained experientially into application.

That’s why we use the experiential learning model to teach science at Pathfinder, and that may be another reason why your child is always asking questions.