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Phil Kahler, Science
Phone: 503-649-5518 x404
E-mail: philk@tvja.org

About Mr. Kahler

Phil Kahler began teaching at Tualatin Valley Academy in 1993. His passion for sharing the natural world with students motivated him to construct a bird feeding station on campus and to lead our annual marine biology trip. He has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Environmental Education and Interpretive Services Administration and holds professional teacher certifications with Washington State and the North American Division. He is an alumnus of the National Audubon Society Expedition Institute. Working with Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Phil has showcased our students' bird studies at national teacher conventions. As a recipient of the Don Keele Excellence in Education Award he participated in the Educator Academy in the Amazon Rainforest, where he returned the following summer as a faculty member. Phil enjoys bird watching, backyard beekeeping and photography.

Science Philosophy

It is by faith that we understand that the universe was created by God's word, so that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen. Hebrews 11:3

Science impacts every aspect of our lives, from the circuitry of our computers to this morning's weather forecast. Science provides a way for us to explore our world and to discover the answers to our questions. Each new discovery reveals something about the character of our Creator and strengthens our faith.

Students at Tualatin Valley Academy explore the world around them through exciting laboratory investigations, field experiences, projects, current textbooks, guest speakers, audio visual programs, Internet resources, relevant classroom presentations and teacher demonstrations. 


Seventh and Eighth grade general science program covers a variety of life, earth and physical science topics in depth. Subjects are rotated over the course of two years. 

Our spacious science laboratory seats up to thirty students. Each lab station is equipped with needed equipment including microscopes and appropriate safety equipment. 

Year One 7th and 8th Grade Curriculum: 

Earth's waters
Sound and Light
From Bacteria to Plants

Year Two 7th and 8th Grade Curriculum:

Weather and Climate
Inside Earth
Motion, Forces and Energy
Environmental Science

Physical Science (9/10)

Physical Science is taught as a hands-on laboratory based continuation of the integrated sciences covered in grades 7 and 8. We begin with a comprehensive study of ocean ecosystems that includes a 3-day field lab on the Oregon Coast. Our astronomy unit surveys the solar system, stars and galaxies while we contemplate our Creator's master plan. We conclude first semester exploring static electricity, building simple circuits and looking at the relationship between magnetism and electricity. Second semester is an introductory chemistry course designed to prepare students for high school chemistry. Proper laboratory technique, lab safety and balancing chemical equations are essential skills students will learn to master. Relevant, real-life case studies taken from the headlines introduce students to substances and mixtures, the differences between physical and chemical change, and the connections among bonding, atomic arrangement and the properties of materials. 

Biology (9/10)

Biology is taught as a hands-on, laboratory based course and includes a 3-day field lab on the Oregon coast. Students will become proficient in using microscopes, dissection of preserved specimens and herbarium technique. Basic biological concepts of cell structure and processes, genetics, taxonomy and ecology will be covered. Students will use the scientific method and analyze biological data. We will explore scientific evidence supporting special creation in contrast with naturalistic evolution. The major animal and plant phyla and their interactions in ecosystems will be studied. 

Annual Events

November - March: BirdSleuth
Students participate in monitoring bird populations visiting our feeding station as they conduct their own research projects using the scientific method. Students have identified over 40 bird species at our feeders. We share our bird observation data with Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Annual bird watching trip to Fernhill Wetlands in Forest Grove. Students have the opportunity to observe ducks, herons and bald eagles in this special birding hot spot. Most students add 20-30 new species to their "life list" during this adventure.