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Middle Years | Science update

Dear Prep Families,

December has arrived in quick order. It’s clear that this year is unlike any other and we have made modifications to our routines. The Prep Science Department adapted our curriculum to provide an enriched program that can be delivered in each Form room with an occasional trip to the Science Labs.  As the Science Coordinator, I am proud of the program our team is offering and I am very proud of the flexibility, focus and effort our students have put forth. Please find below a summary of our Year 6 and Year 7 programs to date.

Year 6

Year 6 students have just completed their second unit, Heat and the Environment, which focused on how heat can be transferred and conserved. Following new protocols, students were given opportunities to safely visit the science lab, where we conducted some interactive demonstrations to help teach concepts of conduction, convection and radiation. Students also gained valuable experience in learning how to collect and graph scientific data by looking at the “heating curve of water”. For our final assessment, students were given the task of creating their own insulated pop can called the “HeatKeeper 3000”. Given a variety of materials to choose from, students had to apply concepts learned throughout the unit to determine which materials and order would conserve heat in their can the best. There was a friendly competition between students, and they did a wonderful job constructing such efficient insulators!

For the remainder of 2020, we will begin our Foods unit. This will mainly focus on sustainable farming and manufacturing processes, and how we can all make smart food purchasing choices. We will finish this unit when we return in the new year. Students and families can look forward to creating a “digital cookbook” as the final project. After that, we will move on to our Structures unit, followed by Ecosystems in the spring.


Year 7

The focus of our first unit, Foundations, was the fundamental skills required for scientific inquiry. This included the study of accuracy, precision and experimental error. We also investigated metric units of measurement and defined the role of variables in designing a scientific investigation (independent, dependent and constant variables). The boys investigated the effect of temperature on solar panels and analyzed data on which type of drinking water was preferred by Year 7 students. Our investigation revealed that City of Toronto tap water was preferred over several types of bottled water. These were precursors to the Font Experiment, in which the boys designed and conducted an original experiment to investigate the effect of fonts on memory, reading speed or reading comprehension. Below are the results of a select number of investigations.

As we approach the winter break, we are investigating the properties of fluids: viscosity, density, buoyancy and pressure. In the new year, we will start a unit focused on atoms, elements and the periodic table. This will be followed by a study of cells, DNA, RNA, cellular organelles and protein synthesis.

Sincerely,

Kerry Dupuis for Tom Sharpe, David Ma and Sydney Frank
Subject Coordinator
Design and Science, Middle Years