At Kona Pacific Public Charter School we have a proud tradition of offering a rich and fascinating science curriculum. We use the developmental approach of Waldorf education to present science units at times when they reach the students most effectively. This means that each year from fourth through eighth grade the students will meet an ever more complex and comprehensive scientific view of the world that they live in, and develop an understanding of the interconnectedness and layers of each field of science.
We use an imaginative and phenomenological approach to science that values the child’s direct experience with phenomena, and their interpretations of those experiences. This hands-on approach to science allows the student to be a part of the science lesson and not an impartial observer. Our learn-by-doing approach makes the curriculum come alive and stokes interest in the subjects through the joy of experimenting and creating. The “whole to the parts” philosophy takes the child from the big picture to the intricate details that form it. Fields of science are not isolated from each other in the real world, and in our science curriculum these fields aren’t treated like isolated kingdoms, but as an interdependent way of explaining the world.
Zoology & Botany
Formal science main lesson blocks or units begin in the fourth grade as the class studies the field of zoology in a Waldorf main lesson block called Human and Animal. The students at this age are encouraged to see the similarities and differences between the human being and the different species of animals. A love for the animal kingdom is more important than memorizing Latin names and classification. In the fifth grade, the focus changes to Botany and our relationship with the plant world. The students now begin to classify plants into groups and seek out patterns and similarities.
In the middle school the science curriculum accelerates as the students are more capable of understanding more complex ideas. Geology, Astronomy and the Physics of light, heat, and sound give the sixth grader a deeper view of the earth below and the sky above and how we receive information through our senses. The seventh grader explores the Physics of mechanics, electricity and magnetism as they become more adept at understanding complex ideas. Whether through a Rube Goldberg device or building a battery, the experience of learning is made meaningful by the project-building approach. Inorganic Chemistry is introduced in seventh grade and is followed in eight grade by Organic Chemistry. These units begin with the physical world surrounding us and from there examine the matter that forms all things. The eighth graders also learn Anatomy and Physiology to understand their own bodies, and Climatology / Meteorology to understand the living environment around them.
The Kona Pacific Science curriculum prepares students for interacting with a complex world without deadening their natural interest in the workings of nature and the universe. Their experiences are gathered in beautiful main lesson books that chronicle a pathway of knowledge that is diverse, yet ties many things together.