The Science Department
The science program at Montgomery Bell Academy is designed to provide a traditional sequence of college preparatory courses and advanced placement that encompass all general areas of science. The sequence begins in the Junior School in the seventh grade with Introductory Physical Science, which provides the fundamentals of the scientific method in the areas of basic chemistry and physics. In the eighth grade students take Earth Science, which is a high school course in geology, meteorology, and ecology. Freshmen take biology, followed by chemistry in their sophomore year. Juniors have the option of taking high school physics, algebra-based college physics, or calculus-based college physics, depending on their interest and aptitude. Advanced placement courses in chemistry, biology, enviornmental science, independent science research, and physics are offered as electives for juniors and seniors. The majority of MBA students graduate having taken four years of science during their high school years.
All science courses focus primarily on concepts, problem solving, and experimental investigation. The historical development and evolution of theories are emphasized in some of the offerings to a greater extent than in others, notably in biology, physics, and the Advanced Placement courses where this approach is more appropriate. Conceptual development is closely correlated with laboratory exercises and experimentation. Laboratory investigations are generally quantitative and emphasize logical analysis of the data. Inductive conclusions concerning general relationships and laws are strongly tied to mathematical analysis of the data. Ultimately students are expected to understand how curve fitting relates the theoretical equations to the experimental data and how to use a statistical analysis to determine the experimental error in repeated measurements of the same quantity. The ultimate goal of the science program is to provide students with the knowledge and understanding of general scientific theories and methods that will enable them to pursue a college course of study and to provide them with the general background necessary for the decisions to be made later in life as a concerned and enlightened citizen.