Science is about exploring. It is a continuous, multifaceted attempt to characterize the universe and how it works: from atoms to galaxies, and every detail in between. Knowledge is built upon knowledge, credited, discredited, and added to what we know. We as science teachers must, in and out of the classroom, engage our students in this adventure. To do this, it is necessary to understand that science is a dynamic and ever changing body of knowledge, but also a process that creates that body. Thus, content and process are two complimentary aspects of science, one leading to the other, and vice versa. Beyond the tangibles, science is a constant challenge to our ignorance and biases, as well as a relentless educator.
By definition, undertaking the challenge of science as a process is the ultimate in creativity because, simply put, it is about exploring and discovering what no one has before. Allowing students the academic freedom to explore in a guided, intentional way is to mimic the processes that lead to most great discoveries. Thus, we at Deerfield have made a conscious effort to begin engaging students in science, rather than simply studying science. Indeed, science at Deerfield follows a physics-chemistry-biology core sequence where students are not simply learning content, but the processes of exploration, inquiry, and problem solving. From there, Advanced Placement courses are offered in all core disciplines as well as Environmental Science. Awaiting our upper class students is a full menu of senior electives includingAnatomy & Physiology, Astronomy, Forensics, Space Exploration, Sports Medicine, and Geology, as well as an exciting array of research/project based senior courses including Synthetic Biology, Biomedical Research, Finite Element Modeling, Robotics, Electric Vehicle Engineering, Chemical Research, and Environmental Science Research. These courses address real world initiatives and problems in collaborative, team-based settings, culminate with presentations at our annual Science, Math, and Technology Symposium, and sometimes lead to peer-reviewed professional journal publications.