Skip To Main Content

The Building Blocks of Repairing The World Through Middle School Science

by Jen Bell, Sixth Grade Science Teacher, Cynthia Hori, Seventh Grade Science Teacher, and Sarah White, Eighth Grade Science Teacher


Science encourages critical thinking and creative problem-solving for our students, empowering them to meet a middle school objective to be agents of change.  


In Lower School, our Lab Science program prepares students for Middle School science beginning in kindergarten. Lab Science provides students a solid foundation in science from the very beginning of their journey at McGillis. To provide a seamless academic experience, our Lower School and Middle School teachers collaborate to assure that content and lessons build upon one another each year, providing an intentional transition for students from grade to grade and building on the concepts  students have already learned.


In Sixth Grade, the focus is on Earth Science. Students learn about the structure of the Earth, plate tectonics, continental drift, catastrophic events, and energy on Earth, through populations and ecosystems and space science. Before the school year ends, they will also be introduced to the study of cells.


Science in Seventh Grade continues to elaborate on the concepts that were introduced in students’ prior years. For example, students advance their learnings from Sixth Grade about cells and cell structures by taking a deep dive into the role of the nucleus and DNA. The Seventh Grade curriculum also integrates with our Humanities studies. This year’s integrative focus is on three main areas: scientific inquiry through the lens of chemistry, genetics and how it applies to our food supply, and the geology of Utah through the lens of local native tribes. “We talk about so many issues that are relevant to students’ lives, and that are also globally relevant. We hit on Tikkun Olam in a big way. For example, we are currently talking about sustainable farming practices and using the Journey 2050 app that allows us to look into the farming practices in Kenya, India, and Canada. The concept of connection in cultures to common environmental, societal, and economic farming practices is being explored. And our students are engaged in critical thinking about the economic impacts of food”, Cynthia Hori, Seventh Grade Science Teacher.


In Eighth Grade, the McGillis Science program continues with an integrated approach. Building on the concepts  learned in prior years, our students begin to apply their learnings to real-world scenarios through engineering challenges, design projects, and inquiry-based experiments. “I want students to be curious about the world around them and constantly questioning why things are the way they are. Information is not hard to find in this day and age, but remaining curious and critical is becoming a lost art. My goal is for students to develop grit and resilience, which will ultimately bring them success in all areas of their life”, Sarah White, Eighth Grade Science Teacher.


Science at McGillis is inextricably linked to how we learn in all aspects of the School's curriculum. Our young scientists are curious, they ask questions, they demonstrate their understanding, and they draw conclusions based on evidence. They hypothesize, explore, create, solve, and discover. Science class is another means of preparations for our students to understand the world around them, inspiring them to have a positive impact in repairing the world.