In an ever-changing world, science, math and technology are becoming increasingly vital for a 21st century education. New data is constantly being discovered and added to the scientific lexicon, often discrediting old information that had long stood as a paradigm. New technology becomes obsolete as soon as it hits shelves, and increasingly requires greater involvement and investment in order to keep up. Perhaps the most stable field is mathematics, but its intersection with science and technology means that understanding math is a crucial element of becoming a capable citizen.
At Deerfield, students tackle key issues in math and science with a comprehensive course of project-oriented study. Students explore their subjects in a hands-on fashion, taking advantage of Deerfield’s excellent laboratory spaces, as well as a wealth of educational material and opportunities in the surrounding area. In science and math at Deerfield, the goal is understanding not that a scientific process exists or a mathematical theorem works, but why and how that process or theorem functions as it does. To this end, math courses focus on proofs as well as problem solving, and science courses stress mastery of material. A science, math and technology symposium every year provides students with the opportunity to present findings from projects pursued either during the summer or throughout the year. This is a wonderful opportunity for students not only to share their work, but also to engage in an important part of the scientific process.
To facilitate the interplay of technology and education, each student is issued an Apple laptop at the beginning of their time at Deerfield. Students attend a technology orientation at the start of the year, and teachers are encouraged to utilize available technology to enhance the learning experience. Every classroom is outfitted with a projection system, classrooms in the recently constructed Koch Science Center have a variety of display and audio options, and each course section has a Moodle page to assist in the sharing of information relating to the class. The Information Technology Department is available to help students and faculty solve any problems they may have with school technology. On a campus outfitted with the latest educational resources, and under the guidance of faculty and staff committed to the productive use of those resources, students become quite proficient in the use of technology.
One emergent theme throughout the curriculum is environmental sustainability. Several classes are explicitly devoted to the study of environmental issues, but nearly every class – particularly in science – touches on it in one way or another. Outside of science, statistics and other mathematics classes evaluate electrical production and usage on campus to determine what can be done to improve sustainability. This information is obtained through the use of technology designed to promote efficiency, and is tabulated in the campus energy dashboard to allow easy tracking of electrical usage.