Welcome to the ESA Science Department!

Science in an “Arts” School?

We offer all the science courses required for all university and college programs. All of our department members have degrees and talent in, and a passion for, their subject, as well as an appreciation of the arts.

A large number of our graduates enter university science and engineering programs. As well, many graduates are accepted into high-profile science-related university programs, but choose to study arts.  Click on the link below to browse through our course offerings and see what your grade 9 student can look forward to in science.

Students & The Science Program

Our program is designed to meet the needs of the diverse students who come from at dozens of major middle “feeder” schools:

-Students who wish to pursue a science-related career (which requires a strong high school science and math background) and who wish to take advantage of the unique opportunities at ESA, especially the arts;

-Students who wish to pursue a career not directly related to science, but who wish to develop worthwhile skills, knowledge and attitudes, in part through the study of science and the arts; and,

-Students who are not sure whether they wish to study science after ESA. (We aim to show you how enjoyable and useful science can be.)

Science in the ESA Timetable

All Grade 9 students take science (SNC1D1 or SNC1P1) as one of their eight courses. There is a 75-minute class every other school day for the entire year. Similarly, all Grade 10 students take either SNC2D1 or SNC2P1.

In each of Grades 11 and 12, there are more the more specialized science courses of biology (SBI3U1, SBI4U1), chemistry (SCH3U1, SCH4U1) and physics (SPH3U1, SPH4U1) at the university preparation level, and Science 12 (SNC 4M1) offered as a mixed university and college preparation level.

We continually refine our program to include a good balance of class instruction, small group activities/labs, computer use, student presentations and other small assignments, and always work with the rest of ESA to give students an overall excellent experience.

Since ESA students come from a wide variety of school backgrounds, with various skills, we begin each Grade 9 topic with a solid review and offer extra help opportunities. Students are encouraged to keep up to date with the material and to take advantage of help sessions.  Science teachers maintain Google classrooms, which means that students can access their course materials online from outside of school, and therefore keep up with work if they are missing school to perform in a show, for example.

Our Approach

Science concepts are learned/reinforced through activities, using an active scientific approach, delivered by enthusiastic teachers who love science (as an activity) and who enjoy what ESA offers.

While we teach, we strive for a balance among the following three areas of learning:

content (facts involving science, e.g. the structure of matter, electricity)

skills (e.g. thinking critically, designing experiments, organizing your ideas, using math, motivating yourself)

attitudes (do you enjoy science, ESA and learning in general, even though work is involved?)

Everyday-life examples/applications and societal issues are included to give more meaning/interest to the material.

In most practical cases students perform the activities themselves, rather than watching a teacher demonstration. The Grade 9 program itself has more than 50 class activities.

We take advantage of our relatively “cosy” size school. It is big enough to be able to offer a full program, and still provides us the opportunity and pleasure of getting to know most of the students in the school, in both curricular and co/extra-curricular settings.

Approximately three-fourths of the students are young women. About one-half of our science courses are taught by women. The idea of women studying science is visible at ESA.

Three General Challenges of ESA for its (Science) Students

  • Time management – making up for time travelling to and from ESA;
  • Time management – balancing arts, academics, extra-curricular activities –learning to say “No, thank-you!” to some of the invitations that can cause you to be “spread too thin”; and,
  • Time management – using “free time” effectively (e.g. between 3:30 and a rehearsal or performance even though you are tired and nothing is due tomorrow, but three things are due next week).

Some (Simplified-for-Brevity) “Excellent (Science) Work Habits” (versus “Risky Behaviour”)

Attend classes regularly and punctually (vs. believing that you can simply replace a 75-minute class by “getting the notes from a friend”).

Focus and listen carefully in order to understand the material as it is being presented. Ask questions ASAP if necessary. “Make connections” within the material (vs. simply mindlessly copying notes and trying to make sense of them the night before the test).

Review regularly so that the new material can more easily be “connected” to what you have already learned (vs. seeing each lesson as completely new and mysterious).