Tools for Teaching

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December through February
June through September

Although Roberto Trostli is no longer teaching his popular Grades 6-8 Laboratory Sciences course at the annual Renewal Conferences, all of the content that he provided in that course — and much more — is to be found in our Ensouling Science presentation. Read on and see the rigor and the richness of this course.
By popular request, we are offering an online conference that specifically addresses the teaching of Physics and Chemistry in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades of the Waldorf school. Until now, the remarkable Middle School Laboratory Sciences videos of Roberto Trostli and Eugene Schwartz's slideshows of main lesson book pages have only been available as part of the Online Conferences for Grades Six, Seven, and Eight. At long last they are available as this stand-alone course.
Ensouling Science also includes lectures on the teaching of the laboratory sciences by Roberto and an insightful presentation by Eugene about how Physics and Chemistry meet the developing pubescent and adolescent student.

Please note that our affordable $225 conference fee provides access to ALL of the rich and enlightening visual and audio content described on this page. This seven day (one week) course allows you enough time to repeat videos or slideshows as often as you wish. Want to know more about how our programs work? Click Here

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Overview: Laboratory Science in 6, 7, & 8

In this overview, Eugene Schwartz explores why "Ensouling Science" is a mandate for teachers to approach the phenomena of Physics and Chemistry with the kind of living thinking that will, in turn, stimulate and enliven the conceptual life of their students.
What does it mean to "ensoul the sciences"? In this course on the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade laboratory sciences, we will make it possible for you to experience how Waldorf students can awaken to the threefold nature of their own being. Roberto Trostli's rigorous and carefully executed demonstrations will explore the way in which we can meet the students' capacities of thinking and willing, while Eugene Schwartz's student work slideshows will reveal the way in which the lively feeling life of the adolescent unites the poles of cognition and volition through
artistic expression.

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Grade Six Physics

Laboratory science is introduced in the Waldorf curriculum at the very moment that many students are experiencing the "12-year crisis," a profound re-alignment of their etheric and astral bodies that is itself a reflection of their personal destiny. The 12 year-old must now work to harmonize the sensory impressions mediated by the ear, a more "etheric" organ, and the eye, more representative of the astral body.
It is no surprise, then, that Grade 6 Physics pays special attention to Acoustics and Optics (Light, Color, Reflection). The adolescent's sensory organs are in danger of serving as merely passive receptors of sound and light, a challenge that is exacerbated by the electronic devices that play an outsized role in the lives of many young people. Optics and Acoustics provide an enlivening and even healing experience for the Waldorf Sixth Grader.

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Grade Seven Chemistry

The turbulence that may so unexpectedly erupt in the life of an adolescent (even in a Waldorf classroom!) can meet its "objective correlative" in the study of Chemistry. This laboratory science is introduced in the same grade as Algebra, for both subjects are expressions of balance, the quality that is crucial for the soul life of the seventh grader.
Roberto's carefully presented and meticulously executed Chemistry demonstrations present such polarities as flame and ash, acids and bases, oxygen and carbon dioxide, with a judicious blend of drama and objectivity. Students may see for themselves what Steiner called "the world as the product of the working of balance," as they watch, hear, and smell the chemical actions and reactions that lead to equilibrium.
In addition, all of the substances and transformations that appear in the seventh grade classroom chemistry laboratory are also active macrocosmically, playing an important role in ttoday's environmental and climate-change issues.

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Grade Seven Physics

A significant number of students in the seventh grade year experience growth spurts that make their own body a "foreign object," not always under their own control. The grace and lightness of being that may have characterized their fifth grade year is a thing of the past, replaced now by clumsiness, gawkishness, and, no surprise, a lack of balance.
Simple Machines to the rescue! Students experience for themselves the remarkable ways in which the lever, the inclined plane, the wheel, and their various combinations - e.g. the hammer, the screw, the pulley - reduce effort. They begin to perceive that a balance between gravity and levity is possible. Indeed, the potential for that balance lives within their own body, for the human skeletal and muscular systems are the basis of all simple machines. The study of Mechanics in Grade Seven will segue quite naturally into the study of Human Anatomy in Grade Eight.

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Grade Eight Chemistry

Planning the menu for a Waldorf eighth grade class trip has its challenges. It is not just a matter of working with those voracious appetites: the planning group now has to keep a careful tally of whose diet is kosher/halal, vegetarian, vegan, keto, hyper-allergenic, and so on. Adolescents have always had a passion for eating, but never before have the minutiae of food sources and processing and the obsession with ingredients and their nutritional value been such a part of the eighth grader's life.
This is the perfect moment for the study of carbohydrates, fats, oils, and proteins - in short, the study of Organic Chemistry, a centerpiece of the eighth grade laboratory science curriculum. As an accomplished and discerning cook, Roberto Trostli blends the worlds of the kitchen and the laboratory in his lively and even appetizing demonstrations. Students' plaintive queries of "Is it snack time yet?" may be the highest compliment paid to a teacher who follows Roberto's methods. And eighth graders will never look at their diet in the same way again.

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Grade Eight Physics

The threefold nature of water and its differing qualities as a liquid, a solid, and a gas may seem obvious to eighth graders. But in these masterful demonstrations by Roberto Trostli, the complex behavior and protean nature of this essential liquid are revealed to be as surprising and delightful as any phenomena the students have encountered in their previous laboratory science classes. Our two videos about Fluid Mechanics will open a new and even reverential relationship to water for the Grade Eight class.
If the study of Fluid Mechanics marks the eighth grader's objective encounter with the etheric body, we can say that the study of Aero Mechanics guides the student to a powerful encounter with the vitally important astral body - the foundation of a newly wakeful consciousness, and the source of much inner turmoil. Roberto pays special attention to the nature of gases and the phenomenon of air pressure in this series of demonstrations in which the invisible air is made visible through its manifold effects.

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Downloadable Resources

In addition to the wealth of material available in all of the grade segments above, we are pleased to offer even more student work in the sciences (created by Roberto' students), and a number of invaluable texts that will greatly enrich your laboratory demonstrations and discussions.

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A Deeper Look

In these video and audio lectures, Roberto presents segments from his earlier demonstrations and describes in greater detail the why's and how's underlying the Waldorf approach to the physical sciences.

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