Term: Yearlong 2021–22, September 7–May 27
Target Grade Levels: Grades 6–8; 9th graders welcome
Schedule: 3x / week, 60–75 min.
Enrollment and Placement
- if the student falls outside of the stated age/grade range for the class.
- if the student needs to demonstrate a certain level of skill and proficiency for the course.
- if the student has completed prerequisite requirements somewhere other than Scholé Academy (e.g., at home or with another school). In this case, our instructors will need to verify that the student has adequately fulfilled the prerequisite requirements.
- if a placement assessment has been recommended by a Scholé Academy instructor.
- If a placement evaluation has not been administered, withdrawals requested before May 1 are granted a full refund, including the full $75 deposit.
- If a placement evaluation has been administered, withdrawals requested before May 1 are granted part of their $75 refund: $35 will be paid to the instructor for the placement evaluation, and the remaining $40 of the original deposit will be refunded.
“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)
In Physical Science, our minds turn to the orders that govern physical phenomena. We study the properties and behaviors of matter and energy, knowing that there is intelligence behind their design. Because of that intelligence, we can explore their intelligibility through experience, as well as through reason, reading, lecture, discussion, and questioning. Wonder and awe are kindled alongside the ability to analyze, explain, and predict.
After an introduction to the three constituents of the cosmos (matter, energy, and intelligence), we will explore how we measure, observe, and document as natural philosophers before digging into our study of the atom. From the order of the periodic table to the nature of chemical reactions, we will show how the basic architecture of the atom influences and shapes every connected phenomenon. This naturally leads us to energy, and the study of the myriad ways in which it is stored, released and changed in form. Along the way, we explore magnets, electricity, sound, nuclear reactions, and other phenomena that involve the interplay of matter and energy.
The course is designed to engage both the arts of language and the arts of mathematics. Reading and note-taking beforehand, plus the framing of questions associated with readings, leads to Socratic discussion and gateway lab experiences during class. Labs are part of the class on the micro and the macro scale: we will be running small experiments together during most sessions, ones that explain the topics at hand, and simple at-home labs involving common household items will be part of the experience, as well.
Mathematics enters as students learn to analyze what they observe. As we discern relationships between factors and variables in a given situation, we can then distill a mathematical description and expression from the patterns we observe. A solid foundation in arithmetic operations involving whole numbers, integers, fractions, and decimals, plus some experience in basic algebra would be an asset in this course.
In addition to the standard course sessions and labs, video clips and other links will be provided periodically to review, reinforce, and extend the learning in new directions. An important part of learning physical science is to see what you learn in the world all around, from the living room to the sports field to the night sky. With that in mind, many of these video experiences will be geared towards putting physics into context and helping students gain a vision of just how wide their study can be in the world.
The goal is for a student to leave the course with a firm, technical foundation in physical science, a sense of awe and wonder at God’s handiwork that tempers as well as situates that foundation, and a list of questions worthy of further exploration!
Grades 7–9; 10th graders welcome: Students must be able to read independently and to create notes that are organized and easy to follow. Students should be able to express themselves effectively through writing and must be capable of reviewing information and concepts on their own throughout the year outside of class. A foundation in arithmetic, including integer, fraction, and decimals, plus experience in basic algebra would be a plus.
**Please note: The course includes multiple laboratory exercises in addition to in-class coursework. Lab reports will require time outside of class to complete.**
For each skill instructors have determined whether it is a prerequisite skill or a skill to be developed throughout the course. For lower school, instructors indicate where parent support is expected.
- With Parent Support: Skills that most lower school students will need help with.
- Developing: Skills that the instructor will help develop and emphasize throughout the year.
- Mastered: Prerequisite skills that the instructor is expecting students to possess.
- Be responsible for reviewing teacher feedback, suggestions and comments about student work and employing that feedback as necessary.
- Be able to manage Schoology assignments and submissions (view assignments, check for teacher messages, submit homework as pdf file, submit revisions if necessary, set Schoology notifications for the class, view class notifications when posted, etc.).
- Be able to review notifications ongoing throughout the year; notifications which include: class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
- Be able to respectfully and wisely engage with other students and the instructor on Schoology discussion boards.
- Be able to respectfully, wisely and formally engage with instructor through private Schoology messaging.
- Be able to set notifications settings to alert the student of class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
- Be able to build and use alphanumeric outlines as part of the writing process.
- Be able to self-edit written submissions for grammar and spelling mistakes.
- Be able to employ the feedback of the instructor into future edits and submissions of the assignment.
- Be able to build well organized paragraphs which employ (among other skills) topic sentences, transition sentences, clear linear thinking throughout the essay.
- Be able to build a logical, well-reasoned argument through a written essay providing sound reasoning (i.e. true premises, valid arguments, sound conclusions).
- Be able to request a family or peer to edit submissions, but understands these requests should be for the purposes of raising important questions for the student to consider and suggesting minor edits. The student understands that family or peer editors should not be reworking of sentences, redefining terms, building new concepts, building arguments or writing passages for the student.
- Be able to hand-write answers in complete sentences.
- Be able to write sentences with basic sentence syntax (i.e. capitalization of first word in a sentence, punctuation at the end of each sentence, space between sentences, capitalization of proper nouns, each sentence having a subject and predicate, etc.).
- Be able to spell at grade level and employ course vocabulary cumulatively throughout the course.
- Be able to read material independently and identify questions which require clarification or further explanation from the instructor.
- Be able to mark, underline or highlight important words, definitions or concepts within a text being read both while reading independently and reading corporately as a class.
- Be able to identify key terms in a passage, and follow the author’s argument.
- Be able to listen to the author’s argument and understand it even if the student disagrees with the conclusion reached or reasons given.
- Be able to read material independently and identify the information which might be relevant to course discussions and objectives (even if the student doesn’t fully understand all of what’s being read).
- Be able to employ basic MLA formatting skills (i.e. 1-inch margins, double spacing, heading on paper).
- Be able to employ MLA citations for (for quoted material and referenced material) through the use of footnotes or endnotes, bibliography, work-cited page. Student should have a concept of what plagiarism is and know how to avoid it.
- Be able to type short answers in complete sentences.
- Be able to type paragraph essays (short essays, and 5 or more page essays).
- Follow class discussions and seminar conversations to record notes without the instructor identifying specifics.
- Be prepared to generate thoughtful questions to enhance the class discussion, to identify areas needing clarification, and to make valuable connections with other course content.
- Follow along with instructor-led note-taking and record notes during class.
- Follow along with instructor-led workbook completion and record answers during class.
- Be prepared to thoughtfully answer questions when called on in a group setting, during class.
- Be prepared to volunteer thoughtful comments, answers and ideas in a group setting, during class.
- With Parent Support
- Be able to schedule time outside of class to complete independent review of materials.
- Be able to determine the best places and ways to study at home (i.e. quiet, undistracted, utilizing various methods of review (auditory, written, visual, practice tests, flashcards, etc.).
- Be responsible to study at home for quizzes, tests and other assessments.
- Understand the difference between assignments given by an instructor and the necessary and independently initiated need for private study of material.
- Be able to schedule and manage multiple projects from multiple instructors and courses.
- Be able to deductively apply content and previously learned mathematics skills and processes to the understanding of newly introduced content.
- Understand that arriving at the correct answer is not the goal of mathematics review and practice, but rather understand that consistent application of the correct processes are the goals of review and practice.
- After the instructor has provided instructions – the student should be able to use Wacom tablet (or other like iPad) to actively solve math problems during class, viewable to the instructor on Ziteboard.
Required Course Texts:
- Novare Physical Science, 3rd Edition, by John Mays
- A binder or binder section dedicated to the course
- Graph paper, preferably 4 square per inch
- Various household materials required for labs. These will be low-cost, easily-accessible materials, to be outlined throughout the year.
Chris Hall has a BA in philosophy from Gettysburg College and an MAT in elementary education from Towson University. He has been a classroom educator and administrator for 25 years, having served in public, independent, and classical schools. In that time, he has served as a classroom teacher in grades K-12, primarily as a science educator, PK-8 Science Department Chair, and a Lower School Academic Dean. Along with his professional pedigree, he is a lifelong practitioner of several of the common arts profiled in his book Common Arts Education: Renewing the Classical Tradition of Training the Head, Hands, and Heart, and the founder of Always Learning Education, an organization dedicated to teaching, learning, and propagating the common arts. He lives on a small, homesteaded farm in central Virginia with his wife and three homeschooled sons. [email protected]
Dr. Perlita Martorana is delighted to share the awe of God’s universe with young science scholars. She appreciates the value of learning science from a classical Christian model and encourages students to become virtuous young people in God’s Kingdom while they discover their world.
She earned a B.S. in Biology from UCLA and an M.D.from the UC San Diego Medical School, then completed 3 years of residency in pediatrics. Perlita loved her pediatrics practice but felt it was a higher priority to fully devote her time to forming her own children. Her passion for teaching comes from over 20 years of home-educating her four children and other students in schools, churches, and homeschool groups.
She is active in her church and lives in Southern California with her husband, four children, three cats, and two dogs. She loves to travel with her family, whether it be museums, mountains, beaches, road trips, or Europe. Perlita enjoys a good conversation, walking the dogs, reading, and reflecting on the many blessings from God. [email protected]
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
Explore our courses!
First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Registration is finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.
Read the Student-Parent Handbook.
Please take careful note of our teaching philosophy, our technology requirements, our school policies, the parent agreement, and the distinctions between our grade levels.
Double-check the course section dates and times.
Make sure they don't conflict with other activities in your schedule or other courses you are purchasing. Our system will not catch double-bookings!
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Our Assistant to the Principal will be in touch with you after your enrollment to help you with next steps, including any placement evaluations that may be required for your course selections.
This registration will be finalized when the student's placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.