Evaluating evidence to create a better world for all.

By immersing students in the foundational concepts of biology, chemistry, earth and space science, and physics, we seek to graduate scientifically literate students who will be able to draw evidence-based conclusions in the ever-changing world in which they live.

"The Penn Charter Science department prepared me to engage with scientific research in academia and to excel in STEM fields. Their constant support and guidance helped me achieve success in college and beyond." Gautam Nagaraj OPC ‘13

Key Characteristics

  • Lab-based experiences allow students to see and explore concepts in action.
  • Students use traditional and new technologies to collect, analyze and interpret data in real time.
  • Different levels of each core course provide each student with appropriate levels of challenge.
  • Students may dive deeper into areas of interest through a variety of elective course offerings.
  • Students generate data from their own experiments, and also use data from scientific organizations (NOAA, USGS, etc) to complement and expand their learning.

Curricular Highlights

Bottle rockets. Students design, build and launch a rocket constructed from a 2-liter bottle, applying concepts of force, energy, kinematics and dynamics.

Real-world applications. Advanced Physics students construct ukuleles from laser-cut wood pieces using principles learned in the classroom. Students play their ukuleles in assembly at the end of the year.

Hands-on Experimentation. Ninth grade Biology students explore the translation of DNA by generating green, fluorescent protein in bacteria to learn how proteins are expressed.


"I love teaching science by making it accessible, inclusive, and relevant. It is meaningful to me to nurture the innate curiosity and critical thinking skills of our next generation of adults.  The insights they gain through the study of science apply to all realms of the world at large." -Parveen Roberts, former science teacher


Graduation Requirements

Students must satisfactorily complete six credits of lab science coursework. This represents three full years of science. In satisfying the six-credit requirement, students will sequentially take Biology (9th grade), Chemistry (10th grade), and Physics or Earth and Space Science (11th or 12th grade). Students may enroll in either the general or advanced sections of these courses, subject to their readiness and/or progress in meeting established departmental prerequisites. Any alteration in the required science sequence must be approved by the science department chair and the director of the Upper School.

Note: Students enrolled in full-year science courses are required to complete the entire year and satisfactorily complete all lab assignments. With departmental permission, qualified juniors (11th grade) may concurrently enroll in Physics and an AP science course.  Juniors who are selected for an AP course during their junior year may delay completing their Physics/Earth and Space Science requirement until their senior year.

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