Science and Math - Understanding Our World & Engaging the Realm of Theoretical Ideas
In Waldorf education students use investigation and observation to inspect how the world works. They engage in scientific inquiry in the same way that our greatest explorers approached the creative act of understanding the world. In the study of Math and Science they explore the world of ideas and abstraction, and learn expertise in performing complex computational methods that develop adroitness in conceptual thinking.
The Waldorf approach to study in all branches of the science is phenomenological. Students follow in the steps of the historical inventors and scientific explorers as well as learn from contemporary innovators who are engaged in the "leading edge" of inquiry in these fields.
In classes students and teachers share their observations and explore questions that arise from these discussions. Theories are developed based on empirical data that posit possible causes and influencing factors. Finally conclusions are reached which are then compared to accepted scientific theory. By engaging in the essential process of scientific inquiry for themselves, students grow confidence in their abilities to observe, question and reason. This experiential approach provides a context for learning, letting students see how inquiry leads effectively to knowledge, and how they can engage in the exploration of the world around them.
As primary research, hands-on experimentation and testing are enhanced through local fieldwork and educational trips to the natural habitats and environments of the phenomena being studied. Biology, botany, marine science, wild life, ecology, chemistry, anatomy, earth science, climatology, zoology, physics and life sciences are all part of the high school sciences curriculum.
Waldorf education approaches the study of mathematics with consideration of the abstract properties of the subject as a form of flexible thinking and reasoning. Students learn the historical contexts of mathematical theories and they learn about the innovative mathematician founders, theoreticians and practitioners who developed the field as we know it today. As with science, the study of math is presented as a process of questioning. It invites improvisational, exploratory thinking as well as the memorization and application of formulas and computational processes.
High School mathematics subjects include general math skills and the specific disciplines of Geometry, Algebra and Calculus. Through engagement in the exploration of diverse mathematical "problems" or challenges, students embrace the beauty of mathematics, master the concepts of advanced abstract thinking and logical reasoning and learn to apply these processes to practical applications in the physical world.