Inquiry-based Science Education

Teaching science is not as much about what our children learn as it is how we inspire and incite them to inquire, imagine, and learn. Inquiry is the essence of a scientific mind. This is the approach the Novato Charter School takes in refining its science curriculum that challenges our students to think, and prepares them for science in high school and beyond.

When surveyed in early 2008, parents cited Science as a top priority for improvement. Our alumni confirmed that NCS needs to better prepare students for the rigorous science curriculum in high school. In response, in 2008 we took the critical step of searching for the right individual to train our Faculty in the design of an inquiry-based science program. We wanted an authority on inquiry-based learning, and with intimate knowledge of the principles of Public Waldorf education. We found this rare combination in Dr. David Jelinek, Professor of Science Education and Curriculum Design at CSU Sacramento. Dr. Jelinek collaborated with our faculty for two years and developed a living process for the constant improvement of our Science Program. This process led to impressive gains in our graduating classes’ Standardized Science Test scores.

Science STAR test resultsBeginning in 2014, the NCS faculty under the direction of its science chair, Mr. Kinney, began professional development to transition to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This multi-year transition will introduce new disciplinary core ideas, cross-cutting concepts, and engineering design/STEM standards in conjunction with the Public Waldorf science curriculum and blocks.

Examples of some inquiry-based projects can be reviewed by clicking the links below (scroll through slideshows to find science-related ones):


First Grade

3rd – 5th Grades

Middle School

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