Last modified: 8 September 2017
Douglas Weber
Department Head: Douglas Weber

The Science department at Berlin Cosmopolitan School aims to motivate students for the conscientious learning of the natural sciences. We work to ignite scientific curiosity in students and to foster learning through discovery and by linking newly acquired scientific knowledge to real world phenomena.

Students are educated according to the German curriculum for Biology, Chemistry, and Physics (Berliner Rahmenplan/Sek I & II) which are supplemented with topics from the National Curriculum for GCSE and the curriculum of the IB Diploma Programme. In grades 11 and 12, we offer Abitur Grundkurs and Leistungskurs for Biology, Chemistry and Physics as well as the IB Diploma courses of Biology, Chemistry and Physics at the Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL).

Our modern science laboratory and biology room provide opportunities for students to learn various scientific methods and processes in a hands on and practical manner. Conducting experiments, reviewing them closely, developing logical reasoning, and responding to analytical comments help students in developing a critical and deeper understanding of the world and lays a foundation for those pursuing careers as scientists, engineers and medical professionals. Moreover, different computer simulations using interactive SmartBoards are widely used to understand more complex mechanisms. iPads and WLAN are useful to work with various internet resources and databases.

For more specific experiments, students visit laboratories of Bayer Pharma AG, Gläsernes Labor in Berlin-Buch, and Ökowerk in Grünewald. Our science excursions usually include the Medical Historical Museum in Charité, Museum für Naturkunde, Institute of Applied Genetics FU Berlin, Herbarium of the Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem, and the Biosphäre Potsdam. In addition, investigations of lake and forest ecosystems are carried out in local woods and national parks. As a result, students see “science in action” and gain a deeper understanding of the content learned in the classroom. And of course throughout their learning, ethical standards are practiced as no experiments are performed which may endanger the well-being of animals.

Students regularly work with data loggers using different sensors to the needs of research topics within the individual subjects and interdisciplinary projects. Secondary School students spend 4–5 weeks on their own research and present their results during the annual Science and Biology fairs. In addition, students of grade 9 work on a scientific topic combining knowledge from all three topics to place emphasis on interdisciplinary research. IB students of grade 11 spend ten hours with the Group 4 project, which is a collaborative activity where students from different Group 4 subjects (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) and other international schools work together. This encourages students to understand relationships between scientific disciplines and methods.

Weekly tutoring is offered for students who experience troubles with grasping new concepts and for students who would like to explore topics in greater depth.

In the recent past, students from BCS took part in different projects and competitions including, Jugend forscht (Youth researches), the “Be Smart – Don’t Start” (classes against smoking) and the UNICEF “World Water Day” project.


Subdisciplines

Biology

In the biology lessons, students are encouraged to work with various models (e.g. full-size models of complete human skeletons, a model of the human body, models of flowers, animals, DNA molecules), which facilitate faster and deeper understandings and provide a platform for long-lasting knowledge. In order to trigger and develop creativity, the students are also required to design and build their own models, such as 3D models of animals.

Chemistry

Chemistry lessons are focused on understanding the chemistry of everyday life and are conducted in form of group projects, laboratory experiments, model building, and practical demonstrations. The education process is enhanced by the integration of chemistry-related animations which significantly contribute to the successful transfer of chemistry knowledge. In the upper grades and IB chemistry classes, this knowledge is further deepened by enabling students to predict the behavior of reaction systems.

Physics

The physics department provides a rigorous and multidisciplinary approach to learning the physical sciences, as well as their principles and applications. Practical laboratory assessments allow students to gain hands-on experience with natural phenomena. The topics offered in the physics coursework range from Newtonian mechanics to modern-day quantum theory. Concepts are integrated with chemistry, biology, and mathematics topics to provide an interdisciplinary framework for the physical studies.