The Academy’s Early Childhood and Lower School lab science program continues to expand, this year with a full-time, designated lab science teacher. Mrs. Carolyn Estill-Shover ’92 has taken on full-time science instruction, with Mrs. Amanda Koerner taking over computer science instruction and integration.
Mrs. Estill-Shover will now devote her time to solidifying lab science instruction and working with classroom teachers to provide opportunities for science integration in other subject areas. Because current research shows that familiarizing students with science concepts at an earlier age leads to more success later, Mrs. Estill-Shover will also begin consulting with HATS and Junior Kindergarten teachers to enhance the beginning science instruction at these levels.
To help advance these changes in lab science instruction, scheduled lab time has been re-examined to maximize these hands-on opportunities during the course of the regular school day. Additionally, the two sessions of after-school “Loose in the Lab!” science are now divided by age (2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade on Tuesdays; Kindergarten and 1st grade on Thursdays).
Mrs. Estill-Shover says that her goal for all of her students is to guide them from structured inquiry, in which students are provided complete instruction on how to do an experiment, to guided inquiry, in which students begin to ask some of their own questions with teacher support, to the end goal of open inquiry, in which students ask all their own questions and even begin designing experiments to answer those questions.
In Early Childhood and Lower School, science instruction is not only “loose in the lab” but definitely on the move.