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Academic Lens: A Window into the Sciences at Proctor

Scott Allenby

If you happened upon 2,500 acres of land in rural New Hampshire, nestled at the foot of Ragged Mountain and along the Blackwater River, and were charged with designing a school, the life sciences and a focus on environmental stewardship would sit at the heart of your educational model. 


Whether it is exploring the woodlands, learning about hunting, fishing, and wildlife management, continuing a decade longitudinal student of the Proctor Pond, visiting local fisheries, learning about native and invasive species, or visiting Cricenti’s Bog in nearby New London, Proctor’s science classes are embracing all that the local area has to teach them this fall. 

Today’s post shines a light on just a few of the projects, assignments, and coursework taking place in science classes through video, photos, and writing. Enjoy! 

Proctor Academy Science

Tree Identification and Hunting Laws - Wildlife Ecology 

Continuing Proctor’s longstanding commitment to ensuring students utilize our 2,500 acre laboratory, Wildlife Ecology students have engaged in units on hunting laws and policies and tree identification over the past week. As the weather cools, hunting season begins, and the leaves begin to change colors and fall in preparation for winter, Lynne Bartlett uses these units of study to help students understand how to safely, inquisitively navigate our woodlands. 

Philbrick-Cricenti's Bog - Biology

Each year, Proctor's biology students travel to nearby Philbrick-Cricenti's bog to study the unique ecosystem that exists in that biological miracle. Not only are the annual trips a great photo opportunity, but students learn the foundations of decay, nutrients, close systems, and how different species are impacted by the environments in which they exist. 

Proctor Academy Science

Species Speed Dating - AP Environmental Science

With more than 40 AP Environmental Science students enrolled in three sections this year, longtime APES teacher and Environmental Coordinator Alan McIntyre invited all students to a species speed dating evening activity last Thursday. For an hour, students were paired together to learn more about “their species” in relation to others. Rotating through one-on-one meetings with other species, they learned about traits, services, threats and niches of different species. After 5-6 rounds they met by taxonomic class to discuss conservation issues and problems their class faces. It was a high energy, high impact evening of learning! 

Proctor Academy Science

Pond Study - Chemistry and AP Environmental Science 

For more than a decade, Proctor’s AP Environmental Science class has conducted a longitudinal study of the water quality in the Proctor Pond. While data collection for this study will take place later in the year, Chemistry students in Sue Houston’s classes have been hard at work studying the various species in the pond as they work through their first unit of the year: Water the Essential of Life. Students will then build on this base knowledge by studying the chemistry of photosynthesis in the pond, tracing matter and energy, pond chemistry, and energy transfer through plants. Using “real world” application of the basic principles of chemistry allows students to create a powerful proximity to their learning. 

Human Movement and Athletic Training - Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and Physiology (and Head Athletic Trainer) Kelly Griffin-Brown utilized her expertise and training to teach students “Stop the Bleed” and suturing techniques during class. Not only are these topics essential for emergency situations students may face, but the training allows each student to better understand their body and how it works. 

Proctor Academy Science


Over the past week, Buz Morison’s Neuroscience class has investigated molecular/cellular biology of a signal transmission along a neuron, collaborating on problems to challenge each other’s learning. One of Proctor’s primary goals for students is to build understanding of themselves as learners. This work happens in Learning Skills tutorials, with advisors, coaches, dorm parents, and teachers, but there is perhaps no class as powerful as neuroscience for students to truly understand the science of how their brains work based on their biology! 

Vector Calculus - College Physics and Calculus 

One of Proctor’s most rigorous classes, College Physics and Calculus students, under the guidance of Buz Morison, explore vector calculus this week. This combination math/science course challenges Proctor’s brightest, most motivated students to work together to explore complex calculus and physics problems their college science/math courses will present to them in the future. 

Read more about Proctor's Academic Model Here! 

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