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Science & Engineering (Lower School)

Clairbourn’s elementary grade students learn about science not only from books and videos but also from participating in hands-on activities that encourage them to experience for themselves the processes, joy, and fascination of science.  The ultimate goal of Clairbourn’s science program is to actively engage our students in scientific inquiry and empower them to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly scientific and technological world.
 
A dedicated lower-school science lab and a variety of natural outdoor spaces on the campus provide an environment that nurtures students’ interest in scientific observation and experimentation. Clairbourn’s science goals are closely aligned to National Science Teachers Association standards.  Mathematics, engineering, technology, and communication skills are integral parts of the school’s science program.

The school’s annual Science Fair is an important activity for all elementary students, whether as visitors to the fair in grades K-3 or as active participants in grades four through eight.  The emphasis follows a three-year cycle focusing on inventions, original investigations, and mathematics.

An annual Engineering Design Challenge provides an opportunity for students to design and build a device that solves a pre-determined engineering problem.  Students in grades one through three engage in the challenge as a whole class rather than competitively, while students in grades four through eight compete in pairs to produce the most effective solution to the challenge. Competition finals take place on the last evening of the Science Fair, following a talk by a guest speaker on an aspect of current scientific inquiry.

Science Studies (Middle School)

Clairbourn’s Middle School Science Program consists of Life Science, Earth Science, and Physical Science.  Hands-on labs and activities provide students with concrete examples of concepts they are studying and promotes curiosity, exploration, and further experimentation.   Students also participate in a Science, Technology or Math Fair and Engineering Design Challenge each year.  Clairbourn’s science curriculum aligns with National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) standards, and provides students with a strong foundation in science concepts and skills.

Mathematics (Lower School)

In grades kindergarten through five, the Everyday Mathematics curriculum developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project forms the foundation of Clairbourn’s mathematics program.  There is a systematic progression of skills, a strong focus on real-life problem solving, and many opportunities for hands-on learning in every grade.

When additional practice or enrichment is needed, teachers may use a variety of other resources to meet the needs of individual students or the class.  At each stage of learning there is an emphasis on critical thinking, development of a deep understanding of the concepts being taught, and on the acquisition of solid computational skills.

In addition to daily instruction in mathematics, there are many opportunities for students to use math in other subject areas.  This helps our students understand the relevance and real-life applications of math outside the classroom.  Our program is designed to enable all children to master comprehensive mathematical content, appreciate the inherent beauty of mathematics, and become confident mathematical thinkers.

Mathematics (Middle School)

Clairbourn’s Middle School Math Program consists of both a regular and an accelerated track.  The regular track provides a strong foundation for high school Algebra.  The accelerated track is designed to allow students to complete Algebra I by the end of their 8th grade year, well prepared to move into more advanced math in high school.  All students have opportunities to experience how mathematical concepts apply to the real world and to become strong mathematical thinkers.

Technology (Lower School)

Teachers and students in the elementary grades access classroom computers for whole or small-group instruction, and interactive white boards such as SMART Boards are important instructional tools in every classroom. In addition, Clairbourn has a dedicated Innovation Lab with new computers, touch-screen monitors, 3D printers, programmable robots, and a full-time technology specialist teacher.  In the weekly technology classes, students receive computer/technology instruction designed to enhance their use of technology in their daily lives.  The ethical and safe use of online technologies is an important element of the curriculum.

Technology (Middle School)

Clairbourn believes that an excellent private school education must include a broad range of experiences in technology. In addition to exposure in their core classes, our middle school students also have opportunities for further and deeper exploration in their two quarterly elective classes. In these electives, a wide array of computer applications are taught and practiced. In addition to learning word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software, students also learn 3D design, computer simulations, digital photography, coding, robotics, stop motion animation, and digital art design.
 
The computer specialist works closely with the librarians, art teacher, foreign language teachers, and classroom teachers supporting instructional objectives in those classrooms.


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