Borromeo Academy Math and Natures Studies Curriculum
The mathematics curriculum in a classical education will seek to promote the understanding of order and harmony in the universe. Mathematics, as a language, reveals this order and harmony, yet it should also be lifted from this concrete foundation and brought into the world of the abstract. The study of mathematics will engage this endeavor by training students in the context in which the discovery of its concepts arose as well as the reasoning which provides its structure.
St Charles Borromeo Academy uses Progress in Mathematics by Sadlier. This program provides rigorous content that is focused on building a deep conceptual understanding of key math skills and concepts at each grade level. We will lay a solid foundation for basic math facts and the memorization of those facts and build a strong foundation on those basic skills to achieve concept mastery. An emphasis will be put on number sense and the exploration of math concepts.
Through both simple and more complex experimentation, the study of science should teach children to observe their surroundings carefully and help them to understand the world around them. With reading and discussion, writing to document hypotheses and observations, and hands-on activities and experimentation, children will begin to hone their natural ability to investigate and learn.
Lower Grammar Stage
Students are observing, exploring, and describing the world around them. Students see their world as God’s creation and learn the relationship of nature with God. They begin to develop an elementary understanding of the human body and the ‘body-soul unity’ of the human person. Students learn the very basic differences in animal groups and divisions within the plant kingdom. At this stage, students discuss regional geography and the four seasons. They begin to learn the basic steps of the scientific method and learn about famous scientists. Students start learning how to organize and develop a ‘nature notebook’ at the very early stages. This is truly a time of wonder and appreciation of the natural world that God created.
Upper Grammar Stage
At this stage, students are recognizing the study of nature as part of the human endeavor to understand the world. They understand that science is one aspect of the study of nature which must be integrated into a more comprehensive vision of reality as God’s creation and thus behold nature differently. The study of the life sciences includes; living things and the cycle of life, food chains, photosynthesis, basic human anatomy, animal classification, plant and animal cells, populations, and communities. Physical science includes; matter, motion/physics, energy, electricity, and magnetism. Earth science covers; rocks and fossils, weather and climate, natural resources, and the solar system. Students continue to build their skills in keeping detailed nature notebooks. The study of scientists helps the student understand why science developed the way it did. It is in this stage that students will acquire a reverence for nature as God’s creation.
At this stage, the students begin to contemplate important questions, such as: What is life? What is nature? How does ‘world’ differ from ‘environment’? and ‘What makes a human distinct from other animals? Students studying life science will discuss in-depth; cells and genetics, human biology and physical health, animals, bacteria, and plants. Earth science will include; plate tectonics, volcanoes, earthquakes, weathering of earth’s surface, waters of the earth, weather and climate, and astronomy. Physical science will cover the following topics; force and motion, energy (thermal energy and heat), chemical building blocks, and chemical interactions. A nature notebook is now a high-level tool for their understanding of nature. Students begin to study the relationship between science and philosophy in the study of nature. They will name and employ the Four Causes of Aristotle in the explanation of nature and they render animals and plants through art. This leads the students into the ability to explain and defend the distinction between the animate and the inanimate.