Upper School Science at Laurel
Problem-Solving Drives Innovation
An Environment That Promotes the Success of Every Girl In the Upper School, we engage the interests of all students by offering a wide variety of activities such as engineering, design and construction, field ecological studies, methods in biotechnology, techniques in analytical chemistry, programming, advanced mathematical analysis, independent research and team-based projects. Classroom experiences at Laurel are collaborative and discussion-based and are complemented with teacher conferences and extra-help sessions. For those students interested in pursuing scientific, medical or engineering professions, Laurel’s program provides an outstanding foundation to build towards college and STEM career success.
A Hands-On Approach to Teaching Science Hands-on experimentation and analysis of results are central to the learning experience at Laurel, as are problem-solving, critical-thinking and presentation skills. Through experimental design and teambuilding activities, students learn not just about science, but how to do science. Ninth Grade BioBlitz and Environmental Science class trips to Butler are outstanding examples of the experiential method Laurel uses in teaching science. The Butler Campus’ 150 acres of woods and streams provide students with a unique outdoor laboratory in which to discover and explore the science of the natural world.
Learning Beyond the Classroom Laurel students tour local laboratories, higher education classrooms and other facilities; work as lab apprentices at institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University; interact with engineers and scientists from local companies; learn from experts in organizations such as the NASA Glenn Research Center, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the University of Akron; and benefit from lectures given by nationally-renowned guest scientists.
Teachers Who Bring a Wealth of Experience to the Classroom Capitalizing upon their own life experiences as professional scientists and engineers, Laurel’s science teachers are able to bring an unparalleled richness and vibrancy to their classrooms. Recipients of awards for academic and teaching excellence, the faculty of Laurel’s Science Department are lifelong learners who transmit their enthusiasm for learning to their students.
Distinctive Opportunities Laurel School’s institutional focus is on the individual learner. In addition to providing an outstanding foundation for college, Laurel’s science program includes the country’s first full sequence of engineering coursework at an all-girls’ school. The engineering program includes project work in engineering design as well as computer science and programming. The coursework is designed to develop important 21st century skills such as computational thinking, teamwork and creative problem-solving. We offer a STEM Research program, where students learn at Laurel and at prestigious STEM institutions the work of experimental design and research.
Our physics classes use research-based best practices with modeling pedagogy and standards-based grading. The modeling approach continues to be implemented in other classes, including chemistry. We also provide a variety of learning opportunities by offering an extensive number of electives including Earth Science and Field Studies, Astronomy and Biotechnology. All grade levels take advantage of the unique opportunities we have on our ecologically-diverse Butler Campus.
Upper School Science Program of Study
Graduation Requirements Three years of science, including one year of Biology and one year of Chemistry. The study of Physics is highly encouraged, with an average of 95% of Laurel graduates having completed this course.
High Standards Laurel uses college-level materials and textbooks in Chemistry and Physics honors courses, as well as in Advanced Placement (AP) science courses. All Upper School science coursework at Laurel includes significant laboratory experience. An independent STEM Research project for Grades 9 through 12 may be repeated multiple times for additional credit.
Grades 9 & 10 Students in the Ninth Grade are offered coursework in Biology and Honors Biology. Sophomore students are offered coursework in Chemistry and Honors Chemistry.
Grades 11 & 12 Juniors and Seniors can select from Physics, Honors Physics, AP Physics (calculus-based), Principles of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, Environmental Science (with AP option), Anatomy/Physiology (s), Biotechnology (s), Astronomy (s) and Earth Science and Field Studies (s). [Note: One-semester courses are marked with (s).]