Science and Engineering
A respect for the sacredness of all life, the pursuit of peace and order in the world, an awareness of the responsibility to be co-creators of life-giving designs and protectors of the environment are primary goals of the teaching of Science in the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The Science curriculum is specifically designed to develop a student’s understanding of Science in human experience and the individual’s role in the community and in society. Examples of scientific phenomena are explained and demonstrated. Students become scientists as they learn to understand and use the scientific method to organize ways to solve problems, and to seek answers to the wonders of God’s world.
Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students study the basics of Chemistry, Biology and Physical Science, with hands on participation in a Science laboratory. Students in grades 6-8 submit a Science project yearly and are eligible to participate in the Pittsburgh Regional Science Fair. The students in grades 7 and 8 take part in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science
Computer instruction is essential in today’s educational process. This instruction includes computer awareness and computer literacy. When this instruction and awareness are mastered, the computer becomes a basic tool for teaching logical thinking and problem-solving, creative writing, communication, the handling of information, and many other aspects of the curriculum.
The Computer curriculum in the primary grades develop familiarity with the Computer, notably what is a computer and how does a computer work. The curriculum answers this question by discussing the Hardware (main physical parts) component of a computer. These are grouped into Input Devices such as the Keyboard, Mouse and other devices like screens with Touch-Screen capability; Output Devices such the Visual Display Unit (VDU) or Monitor, and the Printer. The Central Processor Unit (CPU), is discussed as part of the Storage Device portion of the computer and expands to include internal storage devices (hard drives and memory chips), and external storage devices (CDs, DVDs, External Hard drives, Flash Drives, etc.). The Arithmetic and Logical Unit (ALU) of the CPU is discussed as the “brain” of the computer.
It is important to note that the above classification takes a very traditional view of computer hardware. Today, the personal computer has developed so rapidly that many variations of what may be considered a computer has changed fundamentally. For example, there are now miniaturized handhelds and other communication devices, many of them, a size smaller than the average human hand, yet with computational capabilities far superior to the computers on which traditional views of computer parts were based.
Still at the basic level, the curriculum focuses on some functional uses of the computer, by helping children identify these key parts, while learning some basic manipulations of primary components like the mouse and keyboard.
In the upper grades, skills focus on the Software component of a computer. The curriculum tries to answer questions about what makes the computer work. The short answer of course is “software”. The broader, deeper question is “What is software?” Here, we differentiate between System Software and Application Software. The system software portion focuses on Windows, generally discussing more administrative, rather than a developer, content. The goal is to help students have a basic understanding of how to “manage” a personal computer using basic system tools.
The Application Software portion of the broader Software instruction focuses primarily on office and office -related software, primarily word processors, spreadsheets and databases. Important concepts about information and information management are introduced to allow students have a real life experience of, for example, how they might choose one software against another, to process a particular piece of information. This is consistent with the overarching goal of training, a productive, skilled workforce, but more importantly, is preparatory training for college-related academic work, for which knowing how to manipulate a computer professionally is a sine qua non. We start with four primary software of the Microsoft Office suite of applications: Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint.
The Mathematics curriculum is designed to help students meet the mathematical needs of the present and future, to provide practice in logical reasoning, and to develop the ability to find patterns and recognize structure in Mathematics.
Basic facts are taught in the lower grades and must be memorized. Concepts are taught sequentially. In primary grades, students are introduced to many ideas that are foundational to an understanding of Algebra. Algebraic topics are taught in the higher grades and a full year of Algebra is taught in the eighth grade.
Teachers promote problem solving skills and an exploratory inquisitiveness in all students, to assure critical thinking skills. Cooperative learning in the classroom is essential to heightening students awareness in the value of cooperation in group situations, to strengthen communication skills in mathematics, and to promote a mathematically literate society.