In the Westwood Science Department, we believe that students learn best by actively asking and answering questions, explaining their thinking to peers, connecting concepts and creating visual models, being challenged, and having fun.
When talking about how students learn best, the faculty of the Westwood Science Department use this language:
We believe learning should be student-centered learning. That means we build professional relationships with students to show that we care and also find new inroads to the curriculum. We pique students’ curiosity with diverse learning experiences, demonstrations, and labs that can relate to their lives. We give students permission to take academic risks on their way to mastery while encouraging tenacity.
We believe science is worthwhile and applicable in becoming a responsible citizen and appreciating everything around us. Science is channeling the curiosity within all of us and is accessible to all students. Science is fun.
We nurture students’ curiosity and tenacity by connecting to current and relevant science. We foster a sense of wonder through discussion, observation and then investigation rather than deductive instruction followed by confirmation. We promote inquiry by starting with an engaging real-world phenomenon. Students discover the science behind it by developing questions and discussing possible ways to find and justify their answers. We create challenging labs for the students to refine their scientific skills. Students utilize their math skills to analyze and interpret data. We use whiteboards to visualize our mental models and promote peer discussion.
A student graduating from Westwood after four years of science will be a curious, tenacious, independent learner. They will be a responsible, informed, scientifically literate individual who views science as approachable. After years of exploring science during coursework at Westwood, students will be able to analyze and evaluate global scientific issues and be prepared to make educated decisions. Our graduates will understand how to work collaboratively, respectfully, responsibly, and understand how to approach problems scientifically.
We help each other improve as teachers by collaborating. To us, collaboration means peer observing, listening, encouraging, sharing ideas and resources, and demystifying our own disciplines.
Things we are working on for the future include becoming more vertically and horizontally aligned, especially with the math department. We would like to continue to increase our inquiry-based instruction, especially in electives, and continue to productively collaborative with our time and resources.