In 2011, Hillel Academy adopted the Asset Curriculum to increase hands-on science learning in the elementary and middle school classrooms. The curriculum consists of self-contained modules on a range of topics that are accompanied by professional development for the individual teachers on their modules. The grade-specific modules provide all of the equipment, supplies and references to teach the particular subject in a very dynamic way.
A very powerful part of the program is the inclusion of a note-booking component that teaches students how to keep a real science notebook. That component is reinforced in every grade and is a strong unifying tool.
In the middle school, the Asset modules are coordinated to fit with more intensive science classes, as students partake in a survey of science topics in fifth through eighth grades.
Middle school students are introduced to a variety of science disciplines, following a survey format in which students experience several 9 to 12 week units in alternating areas of science over four years. The class includes an introduction to Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science, Health and Nutrition, Geography, and Asset Curriculum Modules Food and Nutrition, Digestion and Motion, Microworlds, Environments and Landforms.
Physical Science is an introduction to the foundational concepts for both chemistry and physics. Topics covered include the metric system, motion, gravity, energy, heat, sound, light, electricity, matter, the Periodic Table, chemical families, and chemical reactions.
Life Science is an introduction to the foundational concepts of Biology and Environmental Science. Topics covered include lab safety and procedures, characteristics of life, classification, kingdoms of life, cells, ecology, and the Asset Modules “Our Genes, Our Selves” and “Diversity of Life.”
Middle school science courses use a combination of lecture, demonstrations, hands-on activities and formal labs. Special emphasis is placed on developing the science process skills necessary for success in later science study.