Science

High School

The Science Department provides students with a rich, challenging, and diverse understanding of science and its functional role in contemporary issues. Science allows individuals to understand the natural world and acquire important inquiry and analysis skills (course descriptions follow).

The program empowers students to participate directly in the process of science by learning to frame scientific questions, analyze data, and discuss and interpret results. Structured to encourage growth, the courses meet students where they are, providing them the space and structure to mature academically and find their own meaning in scientific discovery.  Experiences as emerging scientists challenge students to become responsible, active, and positive voices. The program provides students with the tools to creatively and intelligently shape a healthier and more sustainable world.

The High School program provides in-depth experiences in the fields of biology, chemistry and physics. These courses set the stage for an array of electives designed to allow students to further explore their interests and develop their abilities in the physical, biological and health sciences. In their course of study, students will learn:

  • The nature of science - the scientific process, science professional activity, habits of good science, and the strengths and limitations of science.
  • Inquiry and lab skills—making careful measurements and observations, fostering intellectual curiosity, designing and setting up controlled experiments, and developing the ability to critically evaluate their own results and those of others.
  • Analysis—recording and organizing data, creating visual and conceptual models of data; generating mathematical models from inquiry results; and learning to choose appropriate modes of analysis from statistical and other mathematical methods.
  • Application—recognizing the role that science plays in creating and solving problems; applying organizational and technical strategies to solving problems across academic disciplines.

 

Biology 1 - College Prep

Biology 1 - College Prep [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Placement exam and/or departmental approval

This course is designed to give students a rigorous overview of the field of biology. Topics studied are the nature of life, atomic structure, cell biology and energetics, basic genetics, DNA structure and function, and protein synthesis. The course also studies the various life forms on earth (from viruses to vertebrates) and their specializations, unique characteristics, and relationships. Topics in human anatomy and physiology complete the course. Classroom work is accompanied by appropriate laboratory investigations. A clear understanding of the scientific method and the development of critical thinking about life science topics are consistently stressed and reinforced throughout the course. Appropriate laboratory studies complement the classroom work.

Biology 1 - Accelerated

Biology 1 - Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Placement exam and/or departmental approval

This course covers all topics listed above in Biology I College Prep. Accelerated students cover material at a similar pace to those in other levels, but the depth of presentation and amount of detail is significantly higher than in Biology College Prep. Homework assignments are designed to support classroom instruction and students are expected to demonstrate a solid understanding of concepts presented in class. Laboratory experiments are correlated with classroom work and are used to teach the scientific method and critical thinking as well as to introduce the student to the great diversity of life found in our world.

Biology 1 - Honors

Biology 1 - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Placement exam and/or departmental approval

This biology course covers all topics listed above in Biology College Prep. Honors students, however, are expected to show a significantly greater depth of understanding of these topics than in Biology College Prep. Students are expected to demonstrate a high level of understanding of biological concepts in their homework assignments, and to use homework actively as a means of advancing their learning in the course. Appropriate laboratory studies complement the classroom work.

Chemistry 1 - College Prep

Chemistry 1 - College Prep [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Algebra I College Prep and/or departmental approval

This course introduces the basic chemical principles, models, and methods of general chemistry. Students will develop an appreciation of the place of these fundamental chemical principles in their daily experience. Topics include scientific method, scientific measures, atomic theory, periodic table, principles of reactivity and bonding, formula writing and equations, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, states of matter, gas behavior, thermochemistry, solution chemistry, reaction rates and equilibrium, and acid-base chemistry. The mathematics involved in many of these topics is adjusted both in quantity and depth to an appropriate level. Laboratory work also includes both quantitative and more qualitative topics. The student will learn to use basic laboratory equipment and measuring devices. Methods of analyzing data are introduced and lab reports are a requirement.

 

Chemistry 1 - Accelerated

Chemistry 1 - Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Algebra 1 Accelerated and/or departmental approval

Basic chemical principles, models, and methods of problem solving are introduced in this course. An appreciation of the results of chemical activity in the student's immediate and expanded environment is developed. Topics include scientific method, scientific measures, atomic theory, periodic table, principles of reactivity and bonding, formula writing and equations, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, states of matter, gas behavior, thermochemistry, solution chemistry, reaction rates and equilibrium, and acid-base chemistry. Among these topics are some which are heavily mathematical and others that are primarily descriptive. Laboratory work in these areas is similarly divided between the qualitative and the quantitative. Basic observational techniques, laboratory equipment and measuring devices are introduced, and lab reports are required.

Chemistry 1 - Honors

Chemistry 1 - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Geometry Honors or Algebra 1 Honors and/or departmental approval

This is an advanced high school chemistry course. It will prepare students to take higher level chemistry classes in college or AP Chemistry. Students will receive preparation to take the SAT II: Chemistry exam. Since problem solving and mathematical reasoning will be stressed, students are expected to have a strong background in mathematical principles and practice. The laboratory work will be highly quantitative. Topics covered include properties of matter, atomic structure, quantum mechanics, periodic trends, bonding, naming, stoichiometry, reactions, gas laws, solution chemistry, energy, acid and bases, and reduction-oxidation chemistry.

Physics 1 - College Prep

Physics 1 - College Prep [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Algebra 2/Geometry College Prep or Algebra 2/Geometry College Prep and/or departmental approval

This course is designed to give the student firsthand experience with the topics of motion, forces, energy, waves and electricity. Extensive use of technology will be made in helping students to critically examine preconceived ideas about how the physical world works. Physics will help students to develop problem solving and organizational strategies through the proper use of fundamental algebra, geometry, graphing and statistics skills. This course is recommended for students who will not be taking Physics 2 Honors, or the SAT II Physics exam.

Physics 1 - Accelerated

Physics 1 - Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Algebra 2/Geometry Accelerated and/or departmental approval

This course is designed to give the student first hand experience with the topics of motion, dynamics, energy, waves, electricity and magnetism. Extensive use of technology will be made in helping students to critically examine preconceived ideas about how the physical world works. Application of physical principles to specific problems and experiments will help to develop students' organizational and mathematical skills. This course is recommended for students with strong to intermediate mathematics background who may be considering further study in science.

Physics 1 - Honors

Physics 1 - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Algebra 2/Trigonometry Honors or Geometry/Algebra 2 Honors and/or departmental approval

This is an introductory survey of physics designed for honors students who have done well in Chemistry I and are taking Honors Mathematics. The course covers a range of topics suitable for a rigorous introduction; among these are: vectors, Newton's laws of force and motion, gravity, energy, work, wave motion, light, electricity, magnetism and introductory quantum ideas. Honors Physics will cover these topics in more detail, and with more sophisticated math than at the accelerated level.

Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and Physiology - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Previous science courses taken at the Honors or Accelerated levels and/or departmental approval

This course is designed for students with an interest in the allied health fields. Information about the structure and function of the human body when in health and when impaired is studied following an introduction of the chemical, cellular and tissue levels of major body systems and their components. Emphasis is placed on laboratory work, presentation of material, and independent learning throughout the year as we study each of the organ systems and the integration of each system with one another. A student in this course is expected to handle a large amount of independent reading and learning, to perform a number of laboratories that include dissection, observation, and attention to detail, and to have a bone fide interest in how the human body works from a cellular level to as an entire organism.

AP Biology

AP Biology [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Biology 1, Chemistry 1, Physics 1, and/or departmental approval

The Advanced Placement (AP) course in Biology is taught as a college level first-year Biology course. It is designed to prepare seniors to take the AP exam. The aims of the course are: 1) to teach students the facts, principles and processes of Biology; 2) to give students an understanding of the means by which biological information is collected, how it is interpreted and how one formulates hypotheses from available data and makes further predictions; and 3) to help students understand that science is a human endeavor with social consequences. The course covers the chemical basis of living systems, cells, enzymes, energy transformations in cells, cell division, genetics, organismal biology (especially human physiology), the origin of life, evolution and ecology. The laboratory work is correlated to the classroom work. Special attention is paid to those laboratory experiments which are required elements of the AP curriculum. This course is available to juniors with departmental and administrative approval.

AP Chemistry

AP Chemistry [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Chemistry 1 and/or departmental approval

This is an inorganic chemistry course equivalent to a first-year college course. The curriculum follows that given in the Advanced Placement Course Description and includes the structure and states of matter, reactions, stoichiometry equilibrium kinetics and thermodynamics. The course includes both a theoretical and descriptive approach. Laboratory work is correlated to the classroom work. It is required that the student have done well in Chemistry I Honors, Honors Physics and Honors Mathematics. Much emphasis is placed on individual study. A review of the Advance Placement Exam is given at the end of the course. This course is available to juniors with departmental and administrative approval.

AP Physics 1

AP Physics 1 [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Chemistry I Honors, Algebra II/Trig Honors and departmental approval.

Like Honors Physics I, this is an introductory survey of physics designed for honors students who have performed well in Chemistry I Honors and will be taking the highest level math course. Physics 1 is the equivalent to a first-semester college course in algebra-based physics. The course covers Newtonian mechanics (including rotational dynamics and angular momentum); work, energy, and power; and mechanical waves and sound. It will also introduce electric circuits. The last few weeks of the course will be given over to student preparation for the AP-1 test in Physics.

AP Physics C

AP Physics C [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Physics 1 Honors or Physics 1 Accelerated and/or departmental approval

This course follows the curriculum for Physics C in the Advanced Placement Course Description. This includes classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism. The level of work, time and ability required is very high. It is assumed that students taking this course have done well in Physics 1 and are currently enrolled in calculus. The course includes preparations for the Advanced Placement Exam.

Chemistry 2

Chemistry 2 - Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Chemistry 1, Physics 1 and/or departmental approval

The intent of this course is to provide more in depth understanding of basic chemical principles and methods studied in the Chemistry 1 course while introducing some new topics that would normally be encountered in a college level chemistry course. More complex mathematical problems are presented in the areas of stoichiometry, gas laws, equilibrium solution chemistry and acid-base chemistry. Thermochemistry and expanded acid-base theory are introduced. Lab work is designed to allow students to learn how to make measurements and observations and to use their data and the models developed in class to solve problems A wide variety of equipment and techniques are employed. Lab reports stress the development of science writing skills.

Environmental Science

Environmental Science - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Previous science courses taken at the Honors or Accelerated levels, and/or departmental approval is required.

Environmental Science provides students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems - both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Environmental science embraces a wide variety of topics from different areas of study, while drawing upon major themes that serve to unify the course. These include the scientific process, the study of energy as the basis of ecological systems, human interactions with interconnected life processes, social and cultural aspects of environmental problems, and the need to develop sustainable systems.

Investigative Human Anatomy & Physiology

Investigative Human Anatomy & Physiology - Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Departmental approval
Investigative Human Anatomy & Physiology is a combined lecture/laboratory-based survey course using a systematic approach to investigate the structure and function of the human body in health, fitness and disease.  Allied Health programs such as nursing, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, cytotechnology, respiratory therapy, surgical technician, emergency medical care, physical therapy, radiation technology, occupation therapy, medical technology, speech pathology programs, and other related medical fields are featured throughout the course.  Actual medical cases and clinical studies are presented in this course to integrate the anatomy and physiology content with clinical methods of understanding patients with illness and disease. Emphasis will be on the relationships between the concepts and not on memorization of details.   This course has a substantial laboratory component to encourage further exploration and research of the concepts presented in the classroom.
Topics covered will include the basic organization of the body; biochemical composition; and major body systems along with the impact of diseases on certain systems.
This course introduces anatomy (structure), its vocabulary, and explores the systems of the body.   It continues with an overview of the inorganic as well as the organic elements, which are the basic components of cells.  Activities emphasize the necessity of an advanced understanding of the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ and organ system levels of organization of the human body.  Once explored, the study of cell differentiation and grouping of cells into specialized tissues lays the framework for the study of organs in organ systems working together (physiology) in the organism.
Cooperative learning activities (e.g., research, laboratory investigation, presentations, exams, etc.) are used in both the lecture and the lab settings of the course.  Essential concepts in anatomy and physiology are research and investigated in a setting where students collaborate in groups to solve problems and work on projects.  In the laboratory, students engage in traditional dissections (e.g., brains, hearts, organisms, etc.), perform inquiry-based exercises, and participate in other hands-on activities.
Guest speakers and clinicians from a variety of medical fields are invited into the classroom to share their expertise and medical specialty.

Major Discoveries in Biology

Major Discoveries in Biology - Honors, Accelerated, College Prep [1/2 credit]

Prerequisites: Biology 1

This semester course will examine many of the major discoveries in the biological sciences through careful study of primary sources. Students will read original journal articles, lectures, first hand accounts, etc., which describe the events which have contributed to our present understanding of the living world. Students will learn the methods of scientific inquiry by studying the original research which produced major biological discoveries. There is no lab work associated with this course.

Neuroscience

Neuroscience - Honors, Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Previous science courses taken at the Honors or Accelerated levels and/or departmental approval

Actual medical cases and clinical studies are presented in this course to integrate the nervous system fundamental workings with clinical methods of understanding patients with brain and nervous system disorders. The molecular and cellular levels of the nervous system, the systems within the brain, and alteration in the brain by neurological and mental disorders are investigated through a problem-based format. Topics include brain development and maintenance; acquisition, storage, and use of information; body regulation; expression of rhythms, drives and emotions; understanding perception, learning, memory, language and mood; and new diagnostic methods and potential therapies for neurological disorder. Laboratory work, research and independent study supplement classroom study. Registrations for Neuroscience are limited and preference will therefore be granted to seniors seeking to take the course.

 

Physics 2 - Honors

Physics 2 - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Physics AP-B, Physics I Honors, Physics 1 Accelerated and/or departmental approval

This course is designed for students for whom the field of science and engineering may represent an area of career interest. The course's focus is to help students develop collegiate-level problem solving skills by exposing them to more complex physics concepts and more involved problem solving techniques than in Physics I. Significant attention is also paid to the development of laboratory skills, data analysis techniques and technical writing skills through frequent lab experiments. Areas of study include Newtonian dynamics, electromagnetism, and modern physics including quantum mechanics and relativity.

 

Principles of Aviation Science and Aeronautics

Principles of Aviation Science and Aeronautics - Honors, Accelerated, College Prep [1/2 credit]

Prerequisites: None

This semester elective course, offered by the science department to sophomore, junior, and senior students, is interdisciplinary in nature. Topics in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, environmental science and earth science are addressed within the framework of aviation science, aeronautics, and aerodynamics.  The course will combine both classroom study and flight simulator experience.  Biology and chemistry area topics include aeromedical factors involved in flying and concepts in aeronautical decision making.  Physics topics include airplane instruments, engines and systems, principles of aerodynamics, and navigation systems.  Mathematics topics include weight and balance calculations, and airplane performance calculations.  Environmental science and earth science topics include aviation weather and weather services, charts, airports, air traffic control (communications), and airspace regulations.  Pertinent Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) are also covered.   In addition to texts, a manual or electronic E6B flight calculator is required.  This course will also introduce students to iPad applications that are becoming standard in the aviation community (including the E6B). Students interested in pursuing a pilot's certificate will receive all the background needed to pass the FAA private pilot knowledge test.  Students successfully completing the course can receive an endorsement on their FAA Instructor Certification Form for the Private Pilot Knowledge test.

 

Zoology

Zoology - Honors, Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Biology 1, Chemistry 1 and/or departmental approval

This course is designed to give the student a comprehensive look into the world of the animal kingdom. Humans are members of the Kingdom Animalia. Therefore, it is important to understand where we come from and how the members of our vast kingdom function. This course will include an in-depth examination of all animal groups including the microscopic single-celled organisms which gave rise to our great kingdom. Animal classification, evolution, anatomy, physiology, behavior, and ecology will be considered. Classroom work will be supplemented by appropriate laboratory exercises and students will become more involved by presenting research papers on animals of their choice.

email page print page small type large type
powered by finalsite