Science Through the Grades

Waldorf curriculum through the grades is often referred to as an “ascending spiral.” Rather than one subject taught as one course in one year (i.e. earth science in 9th grade, biology in 10th, etc.), subjects are studied through immersive 2-hour main lesson blocks over 3 to 5 weeks and are revisited in a deeper and more sophisticated manner as the students move through the grades. In the lower school, students are introduced to the animal kingdom, botany, geology, physics, chemistry and mechanics. Each topic is examined in greater depth in the high school science curriculum. The life science discipline of botany, for example, is introduced in 5th grade, focusing on local flora, and examined again in the 11th grade, where students dive deeper into plants and fungi and examine themes of classification and ecological interplay. Last week both classes were up close and personal with their subjects as the 5th grade added to their sketch journals while observing characteristics of local plants in Congress Park, and the 11th grade traveled to Camp Little Notch for multiple days of plant and tree classification and the creation of their own dichotomous keys.

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