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Science

The Science program offers students the opportunity to explore the natural world and discover the principles that govern natural processes, both living and nonliving. The focus of the curriculum is on critical thinking and problem solving skills that are developed through laboratory and other investigative activities. In addition, students will also demonstrate mastery of appropriate scientific literacy, mathematical modeling, and develop skills in cooperation and communication in the practice of scientific inquiry. It is recommended that students take four years of Science as many colleges will require three to four years of laboratory-based Science courses for admission. Completion of Chemistry and upper-level Physics are strongly recommended if students plan to pursue a college program in the physical sciences, life sciences, computer science, mathematics, engineering, psychology, or physical education.

Science Courses

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  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
AP BIOLOGY

2 SEMESTERS

AP Biology is a rigorous course designed for the college bound student who is considering a major in science or medicine and who has a profound interest in the Biological Sciences. The course will help students develop advanced inquiry and reasoning skills such as designing a plan for collecting data, analyzing data, applying mathematical routines, and connecting concepts in and across domains. The result will be readiness for the study of advanced topics in subsequent college courses and to prepare students to take the AP Biology exam in May. 

Open to 11th and 12th grade students.

Prerequisites: Successful completion of Biology, an average of a B or better in Chemistry (Honors Chemistry preferred), and/or departmental approval.

  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
AP CHEMISTRY

2 SEMESTERS

This course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first year of college. Students will attain a depth of understanding of fundamentals and a competence in dealing with chemical problems. The course will contribute to the development of the students’ abilities to think clearly and to express their ideas, orally and in writing, with clarity and logic. Topics of study will include structure of matter, states of matter, reactions, descriptive chemistry, kinetics, equilibrium, thermochemistry, electrochemistry, organic chemistry, and chemical calculations. In this rigorous course, independent work is required and a significant amount of out-of-class reading and study time is expected. Students enrolled in AP Chemistry will prepare for the AP exam in May.

Prerequisites: Successful completion of both Honors Chemistry and Algebra II and/or department approval.

  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
AP ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

2 SEMESTERS

AP Environmental Science is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science, through which students engage with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships within the natural world. The course requires that students identify and analyze natural and humanmade environmental problems, evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. 

Open to 11th and 12th grade students.

  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
AP PHYSICS

2 SEMESTERS

This course is equivalent to the general physics course usually taken during the first year of college. Students will attain a depth of understanding fundamentals of physics and competence in dealing with physical science problems. The course will contribute to the development of the students’ abilities to think clearly and to express their ideas orally and in writing, with clarity and logic. Topics of study will include kinematics, dynamics, circular motion/gravitation, energy, momentum, simple harmonic motion, torque and rotational motion, and fluids. In this heavily math-dependent, rigorous course, independent work is required and a significant amount of out-of-class reading and study time is expected. Students will prepare for the AP Physics Exam in May. 

Open to 11th and 12th grade students.

Prerequisites: Successful completion of Honors Chemistry, enrollment in Precalculus or Calculus, and/or department approval.

  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
ASTRONOMY

1 SEMESTER

This is a one semester course that introduces students to theoretical and observational astronomy. Students will learn about the history of astronomy, telescopes (optical and radio), planetary motion, moon phases, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the universe as a whole. Students will be required to attend at least one night observation session from a variety of options. Students will also make solar observations during class time. 

Open to 11th and 12th grade students.

  • Grade 10
BIOLOGY

2 SEMESTERS

This course explores what it means to be a living thing. Students will learn about the biochemical and cellular components of life, patterns of genetic inheritance, the evolution of life on Earth, and the interdependence of species within dynamic healthy ecosystems. Throughout this course, students will develop laboratory skills including microscopy, scientific modeling, and field studies.

This course is required of all 10th grade students.

  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
CHEMISTRY

2 SEMESTERS

Chemistry is a laboratory-based science course. Students develop their critical thinking and qualitative problem-solving skills in a collaborative environment including modeling, graphing, and experimental investigations. Topics include atomic structure, physical states of matter, the periodic table, chemical bonding, chemical equations, properties of gases, reactions, solutions, acids and bases, and other appropriate topics.

This course is required of all 11th grade students.

  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
FORENSIC SCIENCE

1 SEMESTER

By the end of this course, students will be able to use the scientific method to solve compelling problems in a “real world” context. Topics will include crime scene analysis, biochemical analysis of evidence, microscopy, chromatography, fingerprint analysis, toxicology, forensic entomology, serology, DNA analysis, and forensic anthropology. This course will emphasize potential career pathways, collaborative work, observation, critical thinking, data collection, statistical analysis, and use of scientific technology.

Open to 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students.

  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
HONORS CHEMISTRY

2 SEMESTERS

Honors Chemistry will stress topics related to matter and energy, scientific measurement, atomic structure, chemical names and formulas, problem solving, stoichiometry, states of matter, electron configurations, chemical periodicity, and other appropriate topics. The student will be made aware of how chemical processes and principles are related to everyday experiences. Students will be encouraged to assume more responsibility for their own learning by making experimentation and problem solving skills an integral part of the topics covered. Honors Chemistry or Chemistry fulfill the requirement for graduation.

Prerequisites: Completion of — or concurrent enrollment in — Algebra II and department approval.

  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
HUMAN ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

2 SEMESTERS

This is a lab-based practical course designed for students interested in a career in the medical fields such as nursing, physical therapy, veterinary science, or general medicine. The overarching theme of this course is the analysis of how structure (anatomy) determines function (physiology). Students will learn anatomical terminology, compare the histology of different types of tissues, and practice medical diagnoses in the form of case studies. Students will explore each of the major organ systems in the body on a unit-by-unit basis, comparing how these systems function normally, and how they respond to stress and disease. Students will also gain practice in laboratory skills including microscopy and animal dissection.

Open to 11th and 12th grade students.

Prerequisites: Successful completion of Biology

  • Grade 9
PHYSICAL EARTH SCIENCE

2 SEMESTERS

The 9th Grade Physical Earth Science course will address both Physical Science and Earth Science topics. Students will examine the topics of motion, forces, and energy in Physics; stars, star system formation, and cosmology in Astronomy; atomic structure, behavior of matter, and reactions in Chemistry; and geochemical cycles, plate tectonics, and atmospheric science in Earth Systems. Throughout the course, students will practice precise laboratory measurements and techniques.

This course is required of all 9th grade students.

  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
PHYSICS

2 SEMESTERS

This course is recommended for 12th graders planning on majoring in a STEM discipline. Physics is a heavily mathdependent subject that studies the world around us. Students will study topics including motion in one and two dimensions, force, friction and Newton’s laws, work and energy, momentum and collisions, vibrations and waves, sound, light, and reflection. Throughout the course, students will develop measuring and analytical modeling skills. * Physics may be required by some colleges for admission.

Prerequisites: Successful completion of both Chemistry and Algebra II and department approval.

  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
PRINCIPLES OF ENGINEERING

1 SEMESTER

Principles of Engineering discovers the different types of engineering fields and helps students develop skills they might use in a post-secondary engineering course of study. The semester is divided into two modules, each approximately 8 weeks long. Students choose a topic they want to do for a module. Each topic has 3 levels of difficulty, so students can do that topic for a total of 3 modules. The topics include:

  • Structural Engineering: Understand the fundamental forces of structures, such as buildings and bridges. Use your knowledge to build structures.
  • Computer Aided Design (CAD): Design mechanical parts and create them on a 3D printer.
  • Coding: Learn how to code in Java using an Arduino Uno.
  • Robotics: Program robots, automated devices, and Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) cells.

Open to 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students.

Students may take the course up to 3 times (6 modules).

Prerequisites: Successful completion of, or current enrollment in Geometry.

  • Grade 9
  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
ROBOTICS

1 SEMESTER

Students will learn how to code programs, design potential robot designs, and use the varying tools in the maker space (3D printer and laser cutter). Emphasis will be placed on building a robot that will be used in competition in the Spring FIRST robotics tournament.

Open to 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students.