SWS Students become Force, Weight and Motion in Middle School Physics

The methodology for science instruction in Waldorf Education is based on observation and Socratic Inquiry. Students of all ages are immersed in observation and manipulatives, experienced during regular nature walks, gardening, cooking, form drawing and experimentation, to name only a few. By the time they enter middle school, Waldorf students begin the study of Physics, Chemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Geology, Astronomy, Meteorology, and Botany, which is first introduced in fifth grade.  At this level, Waldorf teachers begin not by lecturing on rules and formulas, but by showing those rules in action through experiments, the natural world, art and music. These real world examples and applications are used to then guide students to use Socratic inquiry and observation to connect logical parts to the whole, which helps them deeply understand the science within our world.

At Susquehanna Waldorf School, the seventh grade recently reinforced that science can come to life as they demonstrated their Physics and Simple Machine experiments to the student and parent body at a school assembly.  Using themselves as weight, force, and motion, they were able to affect balance through a fulcrum, lifting through pulleys, force from a small wedge, and motion with the help of wheels and axles. 

Other experiments and demonstrations the seventh grade participated in during their Physics block were building a simple motor as part of their study of electricity, identifying reflections and images in mirror space observations, and conceptualizing the complex workings of the camera obscura.  As a final lesson review, and unique to Waldorf education, students then explained (composed) and illustrated what they learned in their self-made textbooks, also known as main lesson books.

A study of Waldorf alumni, conducted by AWSNA, the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, found that Waldorf graduates are almost two times more likely than the usual U.S. graduate to declare majors in Math and Science.  This may be attributed to the creative and imaginative capacities developed and explored first in the lower grades and then into the middle school Waldorf science classes.

See how students become force, weight and motion!