Academics
Academic Program

Science

Our philosophy

At Falmouth Academy, every student is an actively-engaged scientist because in-class and independent research drives our curriculum. Our teachers design courses and labs every year ensuring that each student has the hands-on experience necessary to understand the scientific process, think logically, analytically, and—because science is a creative process—imaginatively. Students are encouraged to have a voice and to be involved in discussions, experiments, and research every day. Their ideas are part of the lesson plan. Middle School courses engage the students in the curriculum while introducing and reinforcing the skills of inquiry and discovery that they will further refine in the Upper School.

Course Descriptions

List of 8 items.

  • Marine and Life Science

    7th-grade Life Science starts with an introduction to the scientific method and a cross-curricular unit where students learn the fundamentals of ecology while taking advantage of the varied natural laboratories within close proximity to our school campus. This unit culminates with a first-hand study of one of our local watersheds during a day of hiking, water testing, poetry, art, and contemplation.

    In the fall and spring students focus on ecology, visiting local salt marshes, beaches, and woodlands. Students learn the skills of careful observation as they sketch landscapes and study cells under microscopes. During the winter months, students investigate the molecules of life, cell biology, evolution, and human physiology.  In 7th grade, students conduct their first independent research project in preparation for the Science and Engineering Fair. Through this process, they learn to analyze literature and data critically, design and conduct an experiment, and learn presentation skills that help them to clearly communicate their results.
  • Physical Science

    Physical Science introduces 8th-grade students to the experimental subjects of chemistry and physics. The year starts with hands-on activities designed to strengthen the students’ abilities to observe greater detail in the phenomena around them, and the year ends with lab activities nearly every day.
     
    We explore the microscopic world of atoms to the theories surrounding black holes.  Often the course varies depending on the interests of the students.
     
    Students are encouraged to question the explanations of science outside of the classroom. A discussion about radioactivity, for example, might transform into a conversation about the workings of a nuclear power plant or the ethics of nuclear weaponry. Students use their evolving skills to dive more deeply into the science we explore as the year progresses.
     
    Students have a fair bit of autonomy in their choice of independent research projects for the Science and Engineering Fair, as long as the topics are safe and legal. This encourages them to take risks and attempt projects that might not result in obvious conclusions.
  • Changing Earth

    Changing Earth: Science is organized around the idea of the Earth system. Climate change, past, present, and future, is the lens through which students view the Earth, and they spend time thinking about the interconnectedness of Earth’s systems. Studying how to read and create maps allows us the tools to better understand the natural world. Learning about plate tectonics and the formation of Cape Cod provide windows into the climate of the past while studying current global climate change and its impact on ecology helps students make predictions of future change. Class labs often take place outdoors and include measuring beach profiles, identifying native plant species, and exploring natural resources on Cape Cod. At the end of the year, students become nineteenth-century naturalists in Beebe Woods and independently apply observational and record-keeping skills to analyze and interpret changes in the landscape.

    Click here to learn more.
  • Biology

    In Biology, sophomores take previously gained skills into the laboratory. The focus is on cellular and molecular biology, microbiology, human systems, evolution, genetics, neuroscience, and biotechnology. Lab work includes experiments involving enzymes, cellular respiration, osmosis, bacterial transformation, and human sensation. Students carry out microscopic observations of plant and human cells, construct models to study cell functions of molecules, practice solving genetics problems, complete biotechnology labs, and explore connections to medical applications and real-world issues such as GMOs, CRISPR, and climate change. At this grade level, some students are ready to conduct Science Fair project research and labs in the professional laboratories at nearby Woods Hole institutions. Others conduct projects of their own design in the Biology lab.
  • Analytical Chemistry

    This course is an in-depth analysis of chemistry topics that applies the concepts of algebra and geometry, as well as lab experiences to understand the composition of matter and the changes it undergoes in this universe. The principles of chemistry are essential to understanding all other sciences, so students will be encouraged to build a deep understanding of topics such as atoms and their structures, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, equilibrium, and thermodynamics. A strong background in mathematics, along with the ability to think critically and abstractly, will enable students to dig deeply into each topic. This understanding will be further developed through hands-on lab experiences, discussions, simulations, and individual projects where students will have the opportunity to explore a topic in greater detail. Emphasis is on the connection between chemical principles and real-world issues such as climate change, ocean acidification, and plastics. This course is appropriate for students who seek a challenge, enjoy applying mathematics to science, and are eager to engage in thoughtful discussions concerning the properties and reactions of matter.
  • Conceptual Chemistry

    Conceptual Chemistry is a one-year laboratory course that covers the foundational concepts of chemistry, exploring the composition of matter and the changes that it undergoes. The concepts of chemistry are essential to understanding all other sciences, so students are encouraged to build a “big picture” understanding of topics such as atoms and their structures, chemical reactions, and interactions between energy and matter. Students are challenged to develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary for understanding the role of chemistry in practical applications: for example, chemistry’s role in climate change, recycling of plastics, art, and molecular gastronomy. This course is appropriate for students who are eager to interpret, analyze, and understand chemical reactions and processes with less of an emphasis on mathematics.
  • Analytical Physics

    This course is an in-depth analysis of physics topics that uses algebra, geometry, and some calculus to understand how matter behaves throughout our universe.  Physics is the search to understand the force and energy interactions within and between galaxies all the way down to subatomic particles.  We endeavor to describe and explain these interactions in a variety of topics including classical mechanics, light & sound, and electricity & magnetism.  A strong background in mathematics is essential to understanding physics concepts and their derivations.  Your ability to manipulate equations and isolate variables is fundamental to your success.  This course is appropriate for students who seek a challenge, who are not turned away from a difficult question, and who are eager to engage in thoughtful discussions concerning the gravity of such a subject.
  • Conceptual Physics

    This course uses algebra and some trigonometry to explore fundamental topics in physics. Physics is the search to understand the force and energy interactions within and between galaxies all the way down to subatomic particles.  We endeavor to describe and explain these interactions in a variety of topics including classical mechanics, light & sound, and electricity & magnetism. While mathematics is used to explore important questions about the movement of objects in our world, calculus is not used and the course frequently covers things from a conceptual standpoint. This course is appropriate for students who prefer a less math-focused class but are still interested in understanding how and why our universe works the way it does!
“Falmouth Academy teaches students how to become active learners, question the world around them, and to articulate those ideas and thoughts effectively. These have been invaluable tools I use every day in my career.”
- Class of 2012 Alumna Allisa Dalpe, Ph.D. Candidate, Ocean Engineering

More Opportunities in Science

List of 3 items.

  • Science and Engineering Fair

    Our annual Science and Engineering Fair showcases research projects from every student in grades 7-11, and electively in grade 12. Learn More.
  • Science in the Real World Signature Program

    Scientific curiosity starts in the classroom, then travels to places in the natural world where the processes of biology, chemistry, and physics occur. Falmouth Academy students study science where it happens: in our own vernal pool explorations, during woodland expeditions and mountain excursions, and on ocean voyages. Learn More.
     
  • Science Internships/Mentorships

    Falmouth Academy recognizes that academic passions and critical thinking are shaped by hands-on science and research and students are encouraged to deepen their classroom understanding by working alongside scientists and engineers of the Woods Hole region who are engaged in ambitious research efforts in professional laboratories and in the field. Learn More.
"Biology students researched ocean zooplankton and phytoplankton and created embroidery in the style of Ernst Haeckel." 
-Sharon Kreamer

Meet our faculty

List of 7 members.

  • Photo of Liz Klein

    Mrs. Liz Klein 

    Science Department Chair
  • Photo of Sharon Kreamer

    Mrs. Sharon Kreamer she/her/hers 

    Science
  • Photo of Scottie Mobley

    Ms. Scottie Mobley 

    Science/Math
  • Photo of Dan Nightingale

    Mx. Dan Nightingale 

    Science
  • Photo of Jill Reves

    Ms. Jill Reves 

    Science/Math
  • Photo of Alison Ament

    Dr. Alison Ament 

    FA S&E Fair Mentor/Judges Coordinator
  • Photo of Ginny Edgcomb

    Dr. Ginny Edgcomb 

    WHOI Internship Coordinator

Art Inspired by Nature

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