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 Science at Sandalwood 

 

The Sandalwood Science Departmentscience2.jpg believes in a rigorous and challenging academic environment that stimulates students to stretch themselves and strive for success. We hear from our students who move on to post secondary institutions time and time again, that they our students go find success in challenging fields were others fail to succeed or even survive in their programs.

 

We are dedicated to giving our students the opportunity to learn and develop both their inquiry and critical thinking skills, in a diverse number of ways. Our students are exposed to cutting edge technology and tools that few schools have access to. Into our program design, we embed the use of a number of virtual research tools and learning technologies, including:

 

GIZMOS: computer based virtual labs, data simulations and more. Gizmos provide powerful interactive content that help teachers use research-proven instructional strategies more effectively, more easily and more often. Our Science department was recognized as 1 of the top 5 schools for Gizmos usage in Ontario.

 

D2L and MyClass: On-line classrooms where students can interact with each other and their teacher. Our teachers also use these sites as communication tools with parents where they can stay informed about the load and pace of class work, as well as stay informed about upcoming assessment opportunities.

 

Virtual Labs: Our science classrooms boast of computer labs to support student success. Our students complete laboratory tasks and explore laboratory apparatus in virtual labs, which directly mimic conditions and technologies found in the most advanced research facilities. Through virtual access, our students have received exposure to skills that give them a proven advantage over schools that cannot offer virtual lab access. Our students are ahead of the game because they have already experienced skills that are key to success in post secondary, while their classmates are only just being exposed to this same skill set.

 

PROBEWARE: Electronic instrumentation allowing student to conduct scientific experimentation that links directly to computer technology. Students will learn to collect and manipulate data that feeds directly into our computer systems. This type of technology is often not seen in high school classroom.

 

Literacy in Science at Sandalwood

 

Our Science teachers continuously strive to enrich students' Science understanding and to further develop their program of study. Our experiences have identified two major areas where students struggle with the Science curriculum: literacy, and applying classroom concepts to new situations. Many times we find that students are competent with the curriculum in isolated situations, but have trouble recognizing those same concepts when they are faced with these ideas beyond the classroom.

 

To address these issues, we have designed a unique ISU literacy unit that we have found helps to strengthen our students' grasp of their Science course material. Courses have paired with them, a specific piece of literature- either a novel, or a graphic novel. Students will explore Science concepts in these pieces of literature and will be encouraged to use the Science knowledge acquired over the course to help them to assimilate Scientific Theories and extrapolate the underlying concepts presented in the books.

 

A large amount of time was expended choosing books that meet the standards and the criteria that will help to fulfill the goals stated above. We have had very positive results from the integration of the literacy ISU, in student engagement and in the enjoyment that students find from the application of their Science knowledge to new and challenging situations. We have also found an overall increase in performance of students in the courses after the ISU has been introduced.

 

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