Eighth graders at Indian Mountain take Lab Science, which centers around chemistry and engineering. Throughout the first two terms, students focus on matter and its physical and chemical properties. Through a great deal of experimentation and lab work, (hence the name: Lab Science) students gain an understanding that matter cannot be created or destroyed but rather cycles through different phases and forms based on what else is in its environment, including energy. Utilizing the data generated by their lab work, students practice analyzing results, graphing, and drawing conclusions. Additionally, writing scientifically, which is detailed yet concise, is emphasized.
The third term is reserved for an introduction to engineering, where they investigate the nature of function and design. In teams of two or three, students build an underwater ROV from scratch. Because the nature of this project demands it, by the end of the year, students are just as comfortable measuring a liquid in a graduated cylinder as utilizing a power drill or soldering a pin on a circuit board. The culminating affair is an Olympics-style contest where underwater ROVs participate in individual and team events.
Lab Science aims to give students a window through which to see the possibilities of further application of these fields of science as well as a mirror with which to see themselves doing that science.