Science

The science department offers introductory and advanced courses across the three major disciplines: biology, chemistry and physics.

The science curriculum incorporates frequent laboratory work and demonstrations, to help students learn, and ask questions based on things they have experienced or observed.

Biology

This broad introduction to biology centers around the following main ideas: evolution, cells as a system, interdependent relationships, storage, transmission and retrieval of information, and the relationship of structure to function. The course is typically taken in 9th grade. (1 credit)

Chemistry

This course aims to expand upon the knowledge learned in biology and the role chemistry plays in our daily lives. Chemistry is a central science. This is an activity-based course that requires students to think about the way chemistry affects us every day. It will explore the yearlong essential question of ‘What is matter and how does it behave?” with the yearlong enduring understanding of “Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space and so it is found all around us. Like ingredients in a recipe, matter has specific physical and chemical properties and matter can react together to make a new substance with its own physical and chemical properties.” The course is typically taken in 10th grade. Prerequisites: Biology (1 credit)

Honors Chemistry

Honors Chemistry is a rigorous introductory chemistry course. The class will emphasize an understanding of the microscopic basis for why macroscopic phenomena occur rather than memorization of the phenomena themselves. Honors Chemistry will also demand greater dexterity with mathematics and problem solving than regular Chemistry. The course will develop students’ ability to reason critically and scientifically, to justify claims with evidence, and to effectively communicate their ideas. The course is typically taken in 10th grade. Prerequisites: Biology, Geometry and approval of department chair. (1 credit)

Physics

This broad introduction to physics centers around the following Big Ideas: transformation of energy, differences in macroscopic and microscopic behavior, and the connection between quantitative information and its plausibility in context. Topics addressed include motion, force, gravity, energy, entropy, light, relativity, quantum reality, and nuclear processes. A major theme of the course is to connect these topics to a variety of issues the students will face in life. The course is open to students in 11th and 12th grades. Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry or approval of department chair. (1 credit)

Honors Physics

This course is a yearlong course in physics intended for students who plan to study science in college and beyond. The central idea of this course is to provide training in critical thinking, analytical problem solving and quantitative reasoning, using the concepts of physics. While these skills are most applicable to Physics, it would also be fair to think of this course as a class in solving problems. We will learn to take whatever physical knowledge we have, whatever math skills we have, and learn how to analytically and methodically apply those skills to set up and solve problems, a skill that will be helpful in all walks of life. The course is typically taken in 11th or 12th grade. Prerequisites: Algebra 2 and concurrent placement in at least Algebra III/Trigonometry. Approval of department chair is required. (1 credit)

AP Biology

This fast-paced, college-board-certified course covers eight central themes in the study of biology: science as a process; evolution; energy transfer; continuity and change; relationship of structure to function; regulation; interdependence in nature; and science, technology, and society. The course is typically taken in 11th or 12th grade. (1 credit) Prerequisites: Biology, Chemistry, typically least one Honors science course; approval of department chair.

AP Chemistry

AP Chemistry is designed to be the equivalent of an introductory chemistry course usually taken during the first college year. The course is designed for highly motivated students who wish to achieve the additional skills necessary to take the Advanced Placement Chemistry examination, and/or enroll in an honors program in college. It focuses on promoting enduring, conceptual understandings of Chemistry and the content that supports them. Students will spend more time on inquiry-based learning of essential concepts and will also develop skills such as designing plans for collecting data, analyzing data, applying mathematical models, connecting concepts in and across domains, and effectively communicating results. The emphasis is on problem solving, laboratory, organization skills, independent study habits and self-discipline while engaged in chemical investigations. The course is structured around the six big ideas and seven science practices articulated in the AP Chemistry curriculum framework provided by the College Board. Prerequisites: Honors Chemistry or Honors Physics and approval of the department chair. (1 credit)

AP Environmental Science

The AP Environmental Science course is a full-year course designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science. Unlike most other introductory-level college science courses, environmental science is offered from a wide variety of departments, including geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental science, chemistry, and geography. The AP Environmental Science course has been developed to be like a rigorous science course that stresses scientific principles and analysis and includes a laboratory component; as such it is intended to enable students to undertake, as first year college students, a more advanced study of topics in environmental science or, alternatively, to full a basic requirement for a laboratory science and thus free time for taking other courses. Prerequisites: Biology, Chemistry and Physics, application and approval of department chair. (1 credit)

AP Physics

This course seeks to improve the problem solving and analytical skills of the student in the context of deep quantitative understanding of a limited set of physics concepts: motion, force, energy, momentum, rotation, gravity, oscillation, electricity, magnetism, and circuits. Laboratory experience is a central aspect of the course and is exploratory in nature, rather than formulaic. The curriculum is set out by the College Board and the course culminates in all students taking the AP Physics C Exams in Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism. The course is typically taken in 12th grade. Prerequisites: Honors Physics, concurrent or previous enrollment in Calculus, and approval of department chair. (1 credit)

Anatomy and Physiology

This course aims to expand upon the knowledge learned in general biology with specific emphasis on the structure and function of the human body. The course will explore the organization of the body from the cellular to the organismal level. This broad introduction in human anatomy centers around the following big ideas: human body systems and their interdependence, risk factors for disease, bodily defense systems, bacteriology, and microbiology. Specific attention will be given to bodily systems, and how they function together. Case studies will provide examples of systems that do not work properly resulting in disease and/or illness. There will be] practical application and connections to students’ daily lives. The course is only open to those in 12th grade. Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry (1 credit)

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