After a solid performance in the 2013 Utah regional tournament, Waterford’s Robotics team traveled to the Las Vegas Regionals this past weekend and came out on top! As a result, later this month they will travel to St. Louis for the World Championship competition. This is a second season of incredible success for a team that is only in its fourth year of existence. You can read more in our press release, below; for more images and fascinating details about our team’s thinking, take a look at the Engineering Inspiration document submitted to the judges prior to the Las Vegas tournament.read more…
News - Classroom Instruction
As reported a few months ago, we have been working on a challenge gift for the Science Program. A generous family gave $75,000 to support a long list of improvements the Science Department had planned. The family also agreed to match up to an additional $75,000 of money raised for this purpose, and we are very pleased to announce that we have matched the full amount.
There have already been many additions this term, including new data collection tools and Molecular Biology equipment. You will see much more in the fall, including a long term Water Quality Research Project, robotics equipment, weather stations, and a cart full of laptops.
Thank you to everyone who contributed.
By James Harris, Science Department Chair
The mission of the Science Department is to teach students: 1) what science has discovered about our world, 2) to think as a scientist, 3) the skills of a scientist, 4) how to apply science skills and thinking to solve challenges, and, importantly, 5) the beauty of the world as seen through scientific understanding.
We are extremely appreciative of the gift to the science program as it allows us to enhance our ability to deliver the “Skills” and “Apply” elements of our mission.
Some of the exciting projects underway include:
- Expanding tools to teach molecular biology and biochemistry. These are burgeoning fields that touch all of our lives, and universities are very eager to work with students who arrive knowledgeable in related content and skills. We are updating and expanding our equipment so that Waterford students can use modern tools and techniques to explore DNA and proteins. Watch for expanded opportunities for our oldest students and more integration of tools and techniques in our Class VIII-IX curriculum. Summer courses will be offered starting in 2012.
- Establishment of a long-term ecological study in the Little Cottonwood Canyon Watershed. Proximity to this diverse and beautiful resource allows students, with the correct tools, to gather data for various class-based and independent projects. Expansion of the school Arboretum combined with procurement of field study cameras, binoculars, and sensors will allow MS and US students to work on campus in preparation for canyon-based projects related to geology, native plants, and water quality. LS Science faculty look forward to having additional dedicated outdoor teaching space which will be enhanced with work tables and a weather station.
By Brandon Bennett, Academic Dean
The Value of Homework
At Waterford we believe in the value of homework. We assign homework at every grade level from Kindergarten through Class XII, with the amount of homework increasing steadily each year. Several studies with varying methodologies suggest a strong correlation between homework and academic achievement, especially as students move into the secondary grades. (For more detail, follow this link to a research brief on the value of homework from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics). Beyond the research, however, we rely on our philosophy of education in thinking about the value of homework. Our goal is to graduate students who possess the skills, motivation, and knowledge to enter demanding colleges as responsible, independent learners, who can successfully meet a wide range of academic and personal challenges. Assigning regular homework that has been thoughtfully designed is a crucial part of our strategy for moving students toward this goal.
Are we succeeding? A 2009 survey of alumni showed that 97% of 221 respondents said that Waterford had prepared them well to meet the academic challenges they found in college. In the written comments, graduates frequently noted that they felt they had a leg up because they already knew how to do research and write papers and work independently, while many of their fellow college students were forced to acquire these skills on the fly. These reports from our graduates are encouraging, but we need to be constantly monitoring our approach to homework to ensure that our successes from the past will continue.read more…