The purpose of the Science Program of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy® is to provide a a personalized, competency-driven, inquiry-based, problem-centered, and integrative learning environment which promotes scientific habits of mind and gives students a firm knowledge base in the fields of biology, chemistry, and physics.
The essence of a scientific mind is to make sense of the universe through collected data, observations, and integrative reasoning. Processes that unify the science program pertain to the development of skills to gather, integrate, and understand information about profound questions. The science program aims to immerse students in inquiry, beginning with more teacher directed activities in class and progressing to student driven inquiry which often culminates in SIR or independent study work.
Personalization in the science program is reflected in both teachers’ one on one work with students outside of class, as well as in the choices presented to students as they develop their course of study. After completing the cores science classes, which include Scientific Inquiries in Chemistry, Scientific Inquiries in Biology, Scientific Inquiries in Physics, and Methods in Scientific Inquiry, students are allowed to chose from a large number of electives in each study area to complete their graduation requirements. The core science classes are taken during students’ sophomore year, but a student may take, for example, Organic Chemistry and Modern Physics, or Microbes and Disease and Advanced Chemistry as their sciences junior or senior year.