Inquiry in Science

Inquiry in Science

What does inquiry look like in Science?
What distinguishes the Science classrooms at Cate?
What are the main aspects of our Science program?

  • The Cate Science program cultivates scientific inquiry skills for all students through a Physics First program that uniquely scaffolds scientific practices through the core courses, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. Proficient in the methods of science, seniors further develop and apply these skills in advanced, college-level courses (advanced electives).
  • Cate science teachers design and guide inquiry-based learning experiences that are active and aimed at exercising scientific thinking and practices.
  • Cate students are expected to tap into their natural curiosity, ask questions, develop models, and find evidence to support their claims (see Science and Engineering Practices (SEPS). Collaboratively, they carry out investigations, analyze data, communicate findings, and argue from evidence using Argument-Driven-Inquiry (ADI labs) — developing these skills through depth of study is prioritized over breadth of subject matter.
  • Cate’s local environment provides unique opportunities to extend scientific inquiry beyond the classroom and in the context of the coast. The ocean, islands, and mountains furnish instruction with real and relevant questions to be answered and problems to be solved. (Central Coast map).
  • Cate science teachers recognize the importance of interdisciplinary thinking and acknowledge other ways of knowing and pursuing questions. Diverse methods and voices are valued, and understanding the nature, history, and limitations of the scientific endeavor are paramount.
  • Cate seeks to graduate scientifically literate citizens who are able to pursue further studies in science or related, quantitative fields.

Cate students will be able to think like a scientist by being able to:

  • Understand the nature of science and its limits.
  • Explore ideas and investigate phenomena to find predictive patterns in nature.
  • Develop and use models to represent their thinking.
  • Analyze and interpret data to answer scientific questions and argue from evidence.
  • Use mathematics and computational thinking to solve problems and model phenomena.
  • Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information.
  • Be engaged as active learners and contribute, collaborate, cooperate, and critique others’ ideas.
  • Use reasoning to develop better models, arguments, and solutions.

Cate Science teachers:

  • Create coherence and consistency in the three-year core science program by developing and scaffolding the scientific practices and skills through the cross-cutting and foundational concepts learned.
  • Design effective learning experiences where students are expected to “Explore before Explain” (5E Model) and develop scientific practices (SEPS).
  • Engage students and elicit their prior conceptions.
  • Guide students to develop explanations, elaborate, and extend their learning.
  • Provide posters sessions, discussions, and writing opportunities where students practice scientific communication and receive feedback on their claims, evidence, reasoning, and methods (ADI labs).