Upper school > course description science
In grades 9 – 12, the science curriculum is incorporated into every level as a sequential, college preparatory program. It is the goal of this department to: (1) provide learning experiences which stress the importance of logical, qualitative, and quantitative thinking; (2) emphasize critical observation and analysis; and (3) promote a meaningful awareness of our environment. Laboratory activities and field investigations are designed to apply the scientific method in solving problems. A wide variety of opportunities encourages students to investigate and explore natural phenomena through independent and collective research.
Grade Level 9 — Biology (CP)–This laboratory course is designed to cover units on biochemistry, cell structure and function, genetics, evolution, classification, microorganisms, plants, invertebrates, vertebrates, human biology, and ecology. An emphasis is placed on human body systems. Lab and class activities are designed to involve students in the learning process, emphasizing critical thinking and analysis.
Grade Level 9 – Biology (H)–Honors biology is similar to Biology (CP), but will include additional topics, move at a more rapid pace, and will cover each topic in more depth. Prerequisites: 85 or higher in Algebra I (90 or higher in Pre-Algebra), and 85 or higher in Physical Science.
Grade Level 10 – Chemistry (CP)–This course presents an investigation of the structure and composition of matter, as well as the changes that occur within matter. Topics include measurement, atoms, the periodic law, bonding, chemical compounds and reactions, stoichiometry, gas laws, solutions, and nuclear chemistry. Laboratory activities serve to reinforce and amplify each major concept.
Grade Level 10 –Chemistry (H)–This course provides a comprehensive exposure to a wide variety of general chemistry topics. The pace is faster than in the college preparatory course; more topics will be covered and in more depth. Through laboratory experiments, each student will manipulate various types of equipment and chemicals. Data will be collected and analyzed mathematically. Students will be responsible for learning some concepts independently. Prerequisite: 85 or higher in Biology (H) and Algebra I (H) or 90 or higher in Biology(CP) and Algebra I(CP).
Grade Levels 11 and 12 – Anatomy & Physiology–This laboratory course is offered as an elective for juniors or seniors. The course is designed to cover the structure of the human body (anatomy) and its functions (physiology). The course will attempt to help students understand the chemical and physical relationships of the human body. Prerequisite: Biology and Chemistry.
Grade Levels 11 and 12 – Astronomy – This full year course consists of the study of various celestial objects and their movements. One area is the study of the solar system (the night sky, the Copernican Revolution, the planets, how solar systems form, and the search for extraterrestrial life). Another area of study is stellar and galactic astronomy (radiation, spectroscopy, how stars form, star life and death, supernovas, neutron stars & black holes, cosmology and the early universe).
Grade Levels 11 and 12 – Physics (CP)–Fundamental concepts of force, motion, energy, thermodynamics, waves, electricity and magnetism are explored. A conceptual understanding of physics is emphasized. All topics are supplemented with student laboratories. There is less emphasis on mathematical problem-solving in this course than in the honors-level course, and the pace is slightly slower. Prerequisites: 85 or higher in Geometry and Algebra II (or be enrolled in Algebra II).
Grade Levels 11 and 12 – Physics (Honors)–Like the college prep course, Honors Physics provides an introduction to forces, motion, energy, thermodynamics, waves, electricity and magnetism. It is a mathematically based course emphasizing numerical problem-solving and laboratory experimentation. The pace is faster than in the college preparatory course; more topics will be covered and in more depth. Prerequisites: 85 or higher in Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre-Calculus (or be enrolled in Pre-Calculus)
Grade Level 12 – AP Physics C: Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism (AP) – This course covers the first year of calculus-based college physics and prepares students to take the CEEB AP Physics C: examinations: Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism. Students are expected to take the AP exams in May. The course utilizes guided inquiry and student centered learning to foster the development of critical thinking skills. It expands upon material introduced in Physics(H), as well as introducing additional topics. Introductory differential and integral calculus are used throughout the course. Prerequisites: Calculus (or be enrolled in calculus) and 85 or higher in Physics(H).
Grade Levels 11 and 12 – Chemistry (AP)–This course covers the standard first-year college chemistry curriculum and prepares students for the CEEB AP Chemistry examination. Students are expected to take the AP exam in May. The syllabus includes a more sophisticated treatment of many of the topics students learned in Chemistry Honors, along with additional topics. The textbooks used for AP Chemistry are those used by college chemistry majors. All topics are supplemented with student laboratories that are completed during a full lab period scheduled each week in addition to the five regular class periods. Students enrolling in this course should be successful independent learners. Prerequisites: 85 or higher in Chemistry (H), Geometry and Algebra II.
Grade Levels 11 and 12 – Biology (AP)–This course covers the first year college biology curriculum and prepares students to take the CEEB AP Biology examination. Students are expected to take the AP exam in May. Emphasis is placed on developing the conceptual framework, knowledge and analytical skills necessary to understand the modern field of biology. The curriculum includes the study of molecular, cellular, organismal and ecological biology. All topics are supplemented with student laboratories that are completed during a full lab period scheduled each week in addition to the five regular class periods, as well as a weekend field trip to the coast in the spring. Students who elect to take this course should be successful independent learners. Prerequisites: 85 or higher in Biology (H), Chemistry (H) and English.
Grade Levels 11 and 12 -- Earth Science - This online course is available as a science elective. It is a two-semester course offered through Aventa Learning. Students wishing to take this course pay an additional fee which includes a textbook and optional lab materials.
Click HERE for the Science Sequence with Prerequisites