The aim of the Overlake School Science Department is to capitalize on students’ curiosity to engage them in a rich exploration of the natural world. By investigating natural phenomena and scientific issues, students will become more critical and ethical science practitioners. Students will learn to appreciate the complexity of the natural world, learn how to apply scientific methods to explore phenomena, and appreciate the contributions of diverse people in advancing scientific knowledge. 

Throughout the course of their Overlake Career, students at Overlake will master a core set of Science Practices that align with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): 

  • Asking questions and defining problems 
  • Developing and using models 
  • Planning and carrying out investigations 
  • Analyzing and interpreting data 
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking 
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions 
  • Engaging in argument from evidence 
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information 
  • The Science Practices are designed to spiral through the grade levels – skills students learn in one grade will become further developed in later years.  

During the required years of study, students encounter concepts, principles, laws, and practices of science at successively higher levels of abstraction. The required course of study is designed to immerse students in the investigation of the nature and behavior of matter, energy, and living organisms. The departmental requirements prepare students for more advanced study both at Overlake and at college, as well as helping them develop an appreciation for the important role of science in their everyday lives. 

The department staff is committed to active learning experiences, engaging the students in the process of science via lecture, discussion, inquiry, and laboratory work. Science teachers are also committed to intellectual integrity and personal responsibility. They will help students take pride in their own growth and the development of their abilities as young scholars. Honest effort and full engagement serve to enhance the students’ ability to think critically, communicate intelligently, and understand the wide range of people who have contributed to scientific discoveries and achievements.  



Science is required each year from 5-8. High school students are required to take three years of science. While each science course has a focus, they are all interdisciplinary to some extent.  

  • Life on Our Planet is taken in 9th grade course and focuses on biology with elements of chemistry and earth science.  
  • Earth’s Chemical Systems is taken in 10th grade and includes chemistry and earth science.  
  • Physics of Our Universe may be taken in 11th or 12th grade. It includes physics and space science.