Atmosphere’s Science program consists of three integrated grade-level courses.
- Integrated Science 6
- Integrated Science 7
- Integrated Science 8
- starting in fall of 2021 (Current 8th-grade scholars take Earth Science)
This new course sequence will be fully implemented in the fall of 2020 in order to align with the New York State P-12 Science Learning Standards which requires students to develop a deeper understanding of the three middle school disciplines (Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science). Our decision to implement an integrated approach was made in order to better expose students to a combination of the three disciplines at each grade level. We believe this integrated approach will help prepare our students for this new exam (administered in 2022) and is more closely aligned with the English and Mathematics standards for each grade level.
Atmosphere has adopted the Amplify curriculum in these new courses. Atmosphere chose these curricula because of their emphasis on inquiry-based learning, multimodal learning, and science application, which helps to facilitate the kind of creative thinking, critical thinking, and collaborative leadership skills that are central to Atmosphere’s mission and vision. In keeping with its blended approach to learning, Atmosphere supplements the science curriculum with web-based applications and supplemental resources that give students the chance to engage in inquiry-based scientific discovery. The science department participates in the Urban Advantage program that supports visits to planetariums, aquariums, zoos, museums and botanical gardens in the city. In addition to school field trips to these venues, students receive vouchers to attend these facilities with their families at no cost. The organization also supports student learning through equipment and teacher professional development. The school has also partnered with the Westmoreland Sanctuary and the Westchester Land Trust for students to participate in experiential learning in the natural environment.
Our science program also consists of Science Achievement in grade 8. This program is designed to prepare scholars for the NYS exam. The content is spiraled to include the 3 middle school disciplines (Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science) covered as well as some 5th-grade content. The program is facilitated several times throughout the year and consists of intensive workshops on labs and performance tasks, reading charts and data, content-based vocabulary and critical reading skills, as well as test-taking strategies. Whenever possible, the program utilizes Atmosphere’s English systems to help scholars respond to multiple-choice (RAIN) and constructed response questions (BRACECES). The program begins with a Baseline to assess student needs and revise the program as needed. A Midline exam is given in the spring in order to measure student growth and identify areas that need improvement.