Our Lower School students are natural explorers and build scientific knowledge with active, hands-on experiences. Our science curriculum is based around the student-centered, inquiry-based Full Option Science Program (FOSS) and is designed to help students develop sophisticated ways to consider core scientific ideas. Using FOSS, modules (units of study) are connected, building on each other within and across each strand, helping students to consider larger scientific ideas.
 
The components of the curriculum are integrated in a way designed to maximize every student’s learning opportunities. Each FOSS investigation uses the same model to offer multiple exposures to science concepts. The model utilizes four elements: active investigation, including outdoor experiences; recording in science notebooks to answer the focus question; reading in FOSS Science Resources; and assessment to monitor progress and motivate student reflection on their learning. Each year students gain deeper understanding of the scientific process by making observations, developing hypotheses, conducting experiments, and analyzing results. 
 
In addition to FOSS, which includes a number of connections to engineering embedded within the program, we highlight creativity, critical thinking and problem solving through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math)-based experiences that emphasize design thinking using real-world connections. Our ongoing partnership with the New York Hall of Science and programs such as the Engineering is Elementary curriculum from the Museum of Science in Boston inspire us to integrate ‘making’ within Science class and across disciplines. Using a variety of materials, students are thrilled to create, design and build as they find solutions to scientific and technological problems. 
 
The annual Lower School-wide Science Fair allows students to demonstrate experiments and present science content knowledge and skills they have learned throughout their units of study. Field trips, guest speakers, neighborhood science walks, and community service projects continue to enrich our science program each year. 

List of 7 items.

  • Early Childhood 3s and 4s

    Our ECD students begin their scientific journey by focusing on topics that are familiar and accessible, yet rich for deeper exploration. Science is a process of inquiry in the ECD classroom. The students embrace the concept of being a scientist, one who asks questions and makes observations through hands-on exploration of the natural world. They act like a scientist by making observations, discovering actions and reactions and recording through observational drawings. They ask such questions as, “What do you notice?” “How does it feel?” “How does it smell and taste?”  Students are encouraged to embrace the concept of being “a scientist,” one who asks questions and makes observations through hands-on exploration in learning about aspects of the natural world. Throughout the year the children will study the concepts of liquids and solids as well as explore a variety of topics including the five senses, the seasons, the weather, and life cycles. Formal science instruction  also includes the study of wood and water, which form the basis of our FOSS units of study.
     
    The anchor units of study (FOSS Next Generation) include learning about trees from roots to shoots and exploring how materials are used in the everyday world.
  • Kindergarten

    In Kindergarten, students engage in science and engineering practices by asking questions, participating in collaborative investigations, observing, recording, and interpreting data to build explanations, and designing objects and systems to achieve specific outcomes. Students gain experiences that will contribute to beginning-level understanding of the concepts of patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter, and structure and function.
  • First Grade

    First grade students are fully engaged in hands-on science learning. Children gain a foundational understanding of what scientists do (“Ask questions and find answers”) and how they do it (by formulating hypotheses, designing experiments, doing research, making observations, and analyzing data). 
     
    Among the topics covered in first grade are life science (plants, animals, and birds), earth science (weather), physical science (air), and mechanical engineering. All areas of scientific inquiry are supported with vocabulary, reading, writing, math, and data analysis activities. The opportunity to share what they have learned and to learn from others occurs each year during the annual Lower School Science Fair. In addition, field trips to places such as Alley Pond Park, the New York Hall of Science, and the Science Museum of Long Island, enhance students’ content knowledge.
  • Second Grade

    In second grade students are engaged in an inquiry-based, hands-on approach to gaining a basic understanding of science concepts in Physical Science (Matter-Solids and Liquid), Life Science (Plants and Insects), and Earth Science (Rocks and Landforms). They develop science skills through investigations that allow them to observe, classify, question, test their ideas and interpret data.  They show advancement when they can integrate new information into understanding the natural world.
     
    Students also learn about engineering and a systematic design process as ways that scientists and engineers make discoveries and find solutions to problems. A MakerSpace learning environment is also introduced throughout the year, where students use common, everyday materials to engage in a more open-ended exploration. The results can be new, original creations, or creating a solution to a proposed problem.
      
    The annual science fair allows students to demonstrate experiments and present science content knowledge and skills they have learned throughout their units of study. Field trips, guest speakers, neighborhood science walks, and community service projects continue to enrich our science program each year.
  • Third Grade

    The third graders at Kew-Forest actively interact and connect with science. Our science program encourages the inquisitive side of children and enables them to explore relationships between cause and effect, structure and function, models and systems, and scale, proportion and quantity as they apply to the real world. Students are exposed to the vocabulary, content, and theory needed to develop an age-appropriate knowledge and understanding of the life, earth, and physical sciences. 
     
    Third graders delve deeply into studies of “Motion and Matter” and “Weather and Climate.” During these modules, students build background knowledge through textbook reading and exposure to other written sources. Hands-on experiments enable students to use tools and processes of scientific inquiry to further observe and explore these concepts. These science investigations require students to ask questions, make reasonable predictions, collect and analyze data, and draw conclusions based on experiments and observations.  
     
    Third grade students also eagerly participate in activities and challenges involving the application of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM).  Third graders engage in the engineering design process, which requires them to analyze a problem and think creatively and critically to create a solution to the problem. The cyclical nature of the design process inherently requires students to problem solve, as they constantly evaluate and improve upon their prototypes. Students utilize a variety of materials from paper to cardboard to soap bubbles to complete these STEM lessons and “challenges.”
  • Fourth Grade

    Challenging students to become critical thinkers as well as problem solvers is the core foundation of our Science program. Incorporating Makerspace, as well as STEAM, our students are ready to meet the challenges ahead, while reinforcing problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration. Working within the Design Process and project-based learning, the students take ownership, allowing them to connect on a deeper level. Using Foss Next Generation, students are encouraged to take risks while learning. Units, or modules, are used in the program of study.  
     
    Foss modules provide a strong concentration in a particular topic, such as Energy. This results in greater effective learning outcomes than when many topics are covered briefly. Through hands-on investigations, students are given a focus question that challenges them to support their conclusions using evidence they generated through the investigation. Students experience the natural world organically and use language to question, process information and connect their thinking. Students read, listen, speak and write about the concepts we are exploring. 
     
    Students work with EIE (Engineering is Elementary), reinforcing the Engineering Process whereby students apply what they know about science and math. Enhanced learning results when children think creatively and apply their designs to an actual product. Because engineering activities are based on real-world technologies and problems, children make relevant connections with math and science to their everyday lives. Students are excited to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding during our annual Science Fair.
  • Fifth Grade

    The fifth grade Science curriculum consists of two modules from the FOSS Next Generation Modular Program: Living Systems Module and Mixtures and Solutions Module. Throughout both modules, students gain experiences that will contribute to the understanding of crosscutting concepts of patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; and energy and matter. 
     
    Within the Living Systems Module, students think about systems on various scales (nutrient and transport systems within an organism that moves matter and provides energy to the individual organism, and feeding relationships in ecosystems that move matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment). Through a variety of experience, they come to understand that plants obtain the materials they need for growth primarily from water and air, and that energy in animals’ food was once energy from the sun. Students gain experiences that will contribute to their understanding of crosscutting concepts of patterns: scale, proportion and quantity, systems and system models, and energy and matter. 
     
    In the Mixtures and Solutions Module students are introduced to fundamental ideas about matter and its interactions. They also come to know that matter is made of particles too small to be seen and develop and understanding that matter is conserved when it changes state (from solid to liquid to gas) when it dissolves in another substance, and when it is part of a chemical reaction. Students have experiences with mixtures, solutions of different concentrations, and reactions forming new substances. They also engage in engineering experiences with separation of materials. For our annual Science Fair, students are challenged to apply the Engineering Design Process, along with creativity and careful thinking, to solve a real-world problem.

The Kew-Forest School

119-17 Union Turnpike
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 268-4667
The oldest independent school in the borough of Queens, The Kew-Forest School is an independent co-educational, college preparatory school for students in Early Childhood Development (ECD) to 12th Grade.