The middle school program of study for science cultivates the skills of a scientist. Inquiry-based learning provides a framework that allows students to make first-hand observations of scientific phenomena, formulating relevant questions about the world around them. Data collection and information organization are essential abilities that expand beyond the science classroom and prepare students to actively contribute to their own learning. Heterogeneous grouping provides a classroom environment for collaborative learning, allowing students to articulate interpersonal skills, while acknowledging their need to interact with peers to catalyze the learning process.
The OMS science program capitalizes on community resources. Located in a town with a sea-grant and land-grant state university, students are provided with opportunities to work with scientists researching current scientific issues. Engineers, physicists, and microbiologists interact with students and contribute to the research community, inspiring all students to see the relevancy of their learning while examining global issues.
National Science Standards are addressed in the science classroom where technology permeates the learning experience. Staff support the 21st century learner with online collaboration, evaluation, and dissemination of information. The implementation of technology has reduced the carbon footprint of the OMS community, opening channels of learning that our students embrace. Our science and technology curriculum cultivates innovation and problem solving skills to prepare our students for future endeavors.
Literacy skills are embedded within the science classroom. Research-based practice supports an approach to learning where experiencing and observing scientific phenomena are reinforced with vocabulary, allowing all students to access content, regardless of their reading ability level. Students are inspired when reading biographies of scientists, critically decoding monthly science magazines, and contributing to learning forums in educational blogs. Explicit strategies to read nonfiction text are embedded in instruction. Our school librarian facilitates the use of online databases that house science education multimedia resources. Students regularly read and summarize articles, making connections to Orono, Maine. Differentiated reading material on related topics allows teachers to access the reading comprehension levels of all students, providing them with challenge and support as they work toward learning objectives. The science curriculum at OMS promotes problem solving and innovation, supporting young scientists as they explore their world.