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GETTING INTO SCIENCE

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November 9, 2021 

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Well into the school year, NDLS staff comes together to review and reflect on its innovative new science curriculum.


Earlier this week, the teaching staff at Notre Dame Lower School met to review its new science curriculum for kindergarten through 5th graders. Jennette Wrobel, who teaches fifth grade, conducted the session, during which the HMH Into Science program was dissected to find out how it was working for the staff and for students. 

According to Wrobel, Notre Dame Lower School's previous science curriculum contract expired last spring and the school took the opportunity to sign on to a more robust program. 

"Our previous program really was not a great fit for us because it did not align as well with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which are the current national standards," she said. "We started with HMH Into Science this school year and we thought this week was a good time to gather our thoughts on the program so far." 

In March of 2021, learning technology company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt introduced HMH Into Science K-5, one of its suite of "Into Learning" core programs. According to the company, the program allows for seamless learning within varied learning environments and incorporates multimedia components and digitally enhanced interactivity to deepen engagement. HMH Into Science also provides more of a hands-on experience as well as ELA integration.

"Into Science makes science easy and fun while still being impactful, and it's built for the current educational landscape," said Mark Grayson, the company's vice president of science learning experience design. "Whether you're teaching remotely, in-person or in a hybrid environment, the program provides engaging content, online and offline access, and tailored guidance for every learner."

Wrobel said that the new program also aligns better with Notre Dame's existing International Baccalaureate pedagogy.

"This new science program relates to IB in a number of ways," she said. "Some of the biggest are that it promotes inquiry, discovery and hands-on learning by the children. Instead of the traditional read-and-find-the-answers, it's much more of a hands-on approach along with critical thinking." 

She said lessons start with a "driving question" for students to explore and that there are a number of explorations that students complete throughout each unit. 

Into Science also is more interactive and engaging, according to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, with resources like You Solve It! computer simulations that present true lab experiences where learners act almost like real scientists.

Wrobel added that lesson reviews involve much higher-level thinking questions and critical-thinking skills. 

"One of the big discussion points for a number of our teachers at our meeting was the complexity of the terminology in this program, which at times can be challenging for our students," she said. 

"But we talked about how a challenge is not necessarily a bad thing and that we believe that Into Science is helping our students think on a higher level."

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at www.ndpma.org.