The science program has several goals and methods with the guiding belief that students learn science by doing science. Science content reflects the latest scientific research with a blend of physical, earth and space, and life sciences. Teachers promote deep comprehension of material through inquiry and experiential learning, and students learn concepts through investigations, experiments, and projects. To deepen comprehension, they discuss and reflect on their learning.
Science curricula are based on several philosophical foundations in which articulated developmental sequences build on previous ideas and skills. Teachers integrate curricula to help provide more real-life meaning to content, and differentiation allows for a range in student level and ability. Students also apply skills and concepts through Technology Challenge Design Projects.
Through science, students learn important critical and analytical skills. They learn to find, pose, and explore problems, which bolsters critical-thinking skills. Re-interpreting and representing is key to problem-solving, and solving and quantifying problems gives a feel for the mathematical nature of a science.
Students learn to understand that articulating and communicating solutions is an essential phase of scientific investigation, and applying and extending solutions continues the cycle of scientific inquiry. After exploration and discovery, teachers refine information for students.
Educators believe that the depth of inquiry rather than the breadth of coverage builds profound learning. According to empirical studies such as the data from the US Department of Education's Trends in Mathematics and Science Study and National Academy of Sciences studies, students learn better this way. Nueva has developed its own unique standards for baseline science skills and content. While classes often expand beyond these standards, there is material educators believe students should explore before they leave Nueva.
The Nueva standards, which reference national and state standards as a baseline, draw from curricular goals of the National Science Teachers Association, the National Academy of Science, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. These standards are adapted for Nueva's philosophy and unique student population, which include goals for content and process, assessment, teaching and professional development, and the science program as a whole.