Science » Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE

Biology I – (1 unit) – This course introduces students to the world of living things.  The students explore the following:  basic life processes at the molecular, cellular, systemic, organismal, ecological levels of organization within the biosphere; interdependence and interactions within the environment to include relationships, behavior and population dynamics; cultural and historical scientific contributions of men and women; evidence that supports biological change over time; and current and emerging technology applications.  Laboratory activities will be performed to introduce or enhance biological principles.

Prereq. –None; Grade Levels - 9

 

Honors Biology I – (1 unit) – This course is recommended for students planning to take AP Biology II.  The topics to be studied will be the same as those in Biology I, but they will be covered in greater depth, with an emphasis on critical thinking and analytical reasoning.  Topics to be covered include: chemistry of life, cellular biology, genetics, phylogeny, biological diversity, form and function of plants and animals, and taxonomy.  All biological kingdoms will be addressed.  Laboratory activities will be performed to introduce or enhance biological principles.

Coreq. – Honors Algebra I; Grade Levels - 9.

 

Physical Science (10) – (1 unit) – This course is designed to be taken after Biology I to help prepare students for success in Chemistry I or physics. The class will introduce students to basic chemistry and physics concepts through inquiry lab activities. Physical science is taught using a modeling curriculum that is designed to help students cultivate higher level thinking skills and develop realistic models of scientific concepts based on experimental evidence.  Topics will include conservation of mass and energy, physical and chemical changes, atomic structure, writing chemical formulas and naming compounds, motion, and kinetic theory.

Prereq. –Biology I; Grade Levels - 10

 

 

Honors Physical Science – (1 unit) – The course is designed to provide an in-depth introduction to basic chemistry and physics.  Students who are considering taking AP Chemistry or AP Physics should enroll in this course.  Topics include conservation of mass and energy, physical and chemical changes, atomic structure, motion, and kinetic theory.  Principles and theory are emphasized along with problem solving and practical applications of the learning.  Students will engage in laboratory investigations, class discussions and group activities to develop several models that will describe and make predictions about the structure and interactions of matter.

Prereq. – Honors Biology; Algebra A & B; Grade Level - 10

 

Honors Pre-AP Biology II- (1 unit) – This course is designed to be taken by students after the successful completion of both Biology I and Chemistry I. Content will be covered in more depth and greater expectations will be placed on interpretation and analysis of information than in previous Biology classes.  The class aims to provide students with the conceptual framework, factual knowledge, and analytical skills necessary to deal critically with the rapidly changing science of biology.  This class covers material equivalent to one-half of a 1st year college biology course for majors.  Honors Pre-AP Biology II will cover half of the material essential to a satisfactory score on the AP Biology Exam in May.  Students will prepare for the exam through laboratory, class, and individual activities with a goal of scoring a three or above on the exam.

Prereq. –Honors Biology I and Honors Physical Science: Grade Levels- 11, 12                                                                                        

 

AP Biology II - (1 unit) – This course is recommended for students interested in careers in health, medicine or other science related fields.  AP Biology II concentrates on cellular biology.  Cell chemistry, genetics, photosynthesis and other cell metabolic functions are studied in detail.  Anatomy and physiology of plants and animals is also stressed.  Laboratory applications are a major part of this course and occasionally may require some extra time for completion.  In addition, statistical analysis of data and modeling of concepts will be expected.  This course will prepare students for the Advanced Placement exam.  Students should expect to spend a significant amount of time in independent study.  Students may need to stay after school at times to complete laboratories or exams.

Prereq. – Honors Biology I, Honors Physical Science and Honors Pre-AP Biology II; Grade Levels -11, 12

 

Chemistry I – (1 unit) –This course provides a survey of chemistry, including topics such as atomic and molecular structure, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, acids & bases, nuclear chemistry and energy.  Students will engage in laboratory investigations, class discussions and group activities to develop several models that will describe and make predictions about the structure and interactions of matter. After this course, students should have attained a basic understanding of the nature and interactions of matter, and they should have developed laboratory and reasoning skills needed for scientific inquiry.

Prereq. –Physical Science and Biology I: Algebra A & B; Grade Level -11, 12

 

Honors Chemistry I  - (1 unit) – This course provides an in-depth survey of chemistry, including topics such as physical and chemical changes, molecular geometry, current bonding theories, chemical nomenclature, writing chemical formulas and balanced equations, stoichiometry, chemical reactions and energy changes that occur in chemical and physical processes.  Chemical principles and theory are emphasized along with problem solving and practical applications of chemistry.  Students will engage in laboratory investigations, class discussions and group activities to develop several models that will describe and make predictions about the structure and interactions of matter. After this course, students should have attained a thorough understanding of the nature and interactions of matter as well as developed laboratory skills needed for scientific inquiry. This course covers approximately one-half of the AP Chemistry curriculum and is required for student planning to take AP Chemistry.

Prereq. –Honors Biology I; Honors Physical science; Algebra A & B; Grade Levels - 11, 12

 

AP Chemistry – (1 unit) – This course is designed to be the equivalent of the second semester college chemistry lecture and laboratory courses.   The major topics include kinetics, chemical equilibrium, acid/base chemistry, thermodynamics and electrochemistry. Students in this course should attain a significant depth of understanding of fundamentals of chemistry and a reasonable competence in dealing with practical applications and mathematical treatments of chemical problems.  The AP Chemistry course is designed to be taken only after the successful completion of Honors Chemistry I.  Students should expect to spend a significant amount of time in independent study and may need to stay after school at times to complete laboratories or exams.

Prereq. – Honors Chemistry I; Grade Levels -11, 12

 

Environmental Science – (1 unit) – This course 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 man-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them.  Environmental science is a multidisciplinary science incorporating chemistry, biology and physics.

Prereq. – None; Grade Levels - 12

 

General Physics – (1 unit) - An inquiry based laboratory course that will involve the study of motion, energy, work, momentum, gravitation, heat, waves, electricity and magnetism.  This course will be more conceptual in nature but will integrate mathematics on an as-needed basis.  This course is designed to be an alternative to Chemistry for students who are looking for a science course with more real-world applications.

Prereq. – Physical Science and Algebra A & B; Grade Levels – 11 - 12

 

Physics – (1 unit) –A laboratory course which will consider the topics of motion, statics, energy, work, and momentum.  Physics is fundamental to the study of sciences and math.  This course features both conceptual and mathematical based physics.

Prereq. – Physical Science and Algebra A & B are required; Grade Levels – 11, 12.

 

Honors Physics – (1 unit) – This course is an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course that explores topics such as Newtonian mechanics (including rotational motion); work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sound; and introductory, simple circuits.  Through inquiry based learning, students will develop scientific critical thinking and reasoning skills.

Prereq.—Physical Science; Algebra A & B; Geometry and concurrently enrolled in Algebra C (Honors Physical Science; All Honors Math recommended); Grade Levels – 11, 12

 

AP Physics – (1 unit) –This course is a continuation of Honors Physics. See description above.

Prereq. – Physical Science; Honors Physics; Algebra A & B; Geometry and concurrently enrolled in Algebra C (Honors Physical Science; All Honors Math recommended); Grade Levels – 11, 12

 

Anatomy and Physiology – (1 unit) – This course will consist of an in-depth study of the human body.  The areas covered will include:  medical terminology, basic chemistry, cell and tissue structure, the systems of the human body, and exercise physiology.  Laboratory work will be required and will include comparative anatomy dissections.

Prereq. – Biology I and Physical Science; Grade Levels – 11-12

 

Scientific Research – (1 unit) – This course is a rigorous, research-intensive course which provides students with the opportunity to conduct authentic scientific research on a competitive level. Topics to be taught include: ethics, critical thinking, investigating, analyzing and evaluating data, and communicating results.  It is believed that if students can understand the scientific processes and practice in interpreting data that science reasoning scores on the ACT will be improved.

Prereq. – Biology I and Chemistry I or Physics; Grade Levels 11, 12