The Derry Township School District’s high school students elect a minimum of three science credits from a suite of academic, honors and advanced placement courses in the physical and life sciences. Students must enroll in at least one biology, one chemistry, and one physics course during their time in high school in order to meet graduation requirements. The high school program includes core and elective courses at the academic and honors levels and four Advanced Placement courses.Consistent with all outstanding secondary science programs, our program places great emphasis on laboratory work and the integration of technology into the collection, manipulation and presentation of data.Strategic Plan process targets in technology, communication, critical thinking, working cooperatively, applying problem solving skills, authentic learning experiences and showing responsibility for learning, are supported by the Science curricula.Middle SchoolThroughout the course of their three years at Hershey Middle School, Derry Township students take a progression of Science courses entitled Science 6, Science 7, and Science 8. These Science courses cover a variety of standards based content in the Physical and Life Sciences that builds from year to year using spiraling and scaffolding to ensure that concepts are both age and developmentally appropriate.
The sixth grade Science course is designed to be highly engaging and includes instruction in basic Science skills and language that is used by students in grades seven and eight. A wide variety of topics are covered, including Physical Science, Life Science, and Astronomy. The Life Science portion of the sixth grade curriculum culminates in an end of year, overnight, outdoor field trip to Kenbrook where students get to apply and demonstrate their knowledge of the environment as well as gain an appreciation of their responsibilities as stewards of nature. For many students, the sixth grade year is the first in which they have Science as a Core area of content and get to experience working with a lab group to complete intensive lab activities, many of which are multiple day experiences in which they learn how to use Science equipment, follow procedures, and gather and analyze data.
The seventh grade Science course is often the first time students experience content taught by Secondary certified instructors. The content is covered to a deeper level and students are asked to think critically and demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways, including lab write ups, multi paragraph writing assignments, presentations, research projects, and assessments. Once again, a wide variety of content is taught, building upon concepts covered in sixth grade and elementary school. The main area of emphasis is in the area of Environmental Science and Ecology, along with some Earth Science and Chemistry. Good Science skills and common language continue to be emphasized. The seventh grade year culminates in a trip to the Philadelphia Zoo where students get to see first-hand many of the organisms studied throughout the year.
The eighth grade Science course continues to build on the sixth and seventh grade years. Content emphasis shifts to more Physical and Biological Sciences. Science skills and concepts are taught with a mind to prepare students for their high school Science classes, specifically ninth grade Biology. This preparation is planned in conjunction with the Hershey High School Science Department in an effort to make the students’ transition from middle school Science to high school Science as seamless as possible. Eighth grade Science students also take the Science PSSA, which is a standardized test used to assess what they have learned thus far in their Science education.