During the four-week stretch between Thanksgiving and Winter Recess, science classrooms across Success Academy middle schools are transformed into laboratories, middle school scholars into scientists, and teachers into research directors. The Science Exploratorium, a showcase of self-driven, inquiry-based projects, empowers scholars to put science and engineering into action.
I truly believed in the importance of hands-on learning in the classroom, but I could never have expected just how revolutionary the Success Academy approach to science really is.
Discovery is the name of the game, and associate science teachers like Tracy make the most of every opportunity to engage their scholars, all while growing in their own careers through our exciting and selective Teaching Residency Program.
What would happen if the earth got too close to the sun? How could any living creature survive the Big Bang? Is there a way to keep your plants watered if you go on a month-long vacation?
Honing scholar’s natural curiosity for the world around them is the best way for them to become great scientific thinkers.
In fact, when I tried to thank Olive for coming up with her brilliant idea, she said, “Don’t thank me. Thank science!”
Suddenly, the environmental issues that we were studying and discussing in class became more real and pressing — and that made learning more fun and exciting.
In the spring of 2014, I was visiting the New York Hall of Science in Queens when I came across a group of third graders in blue and orange uniforms. They were so excited to be exploring the museum.
For three days at the end of May, two dozen seventh-grade scholars from three Success Academy middle schools — Harlem East, Harlem West, and Harlem Central — traveled to Oyster Bay, L.I., to study marine biology, ecosystems, winds, tides, and sailing at the Waterfront Center.
Because Success Academy offers science five days a week, our scholars explore science in amazing depth and develop a breadth of foundational science knowledge. We present challenges and encourage them to make discoveries using a curriculum that builds on their natural curiosity and eagerness to understand how the world works.