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Science Department

Department Chair: Mrs. Gila Stein, Science Chair and Co-Director of STEAM Education and Innovation

For STEAM courses, please click here.

The science program incorporates the study of pure and applied sciences with an understanding of the nature and methods of scientific inquiry and the social implications of scientific discovery.

The goals of the science program are to:

  • achieve scientific literacy for all students in the basic scientific disciplines
  • help students learn how to apply knowledge to a new situation and to analyze, interpret, and synthesize a response
  • encourage capable students to do accelerated work and pursue research in the basic sciences
  • involve students in participatory learning experiences in consonance with our general educational philosophy
  • help students understand the impact of new scientific knowledge on society and on their present and future everyday lives
  • help students understand and appreciate the beauty and precision of God's world

Extensive laboratory work and demonstrations are at the core of the science curriculum and its philosophy. The goal is to help students develop a systematic method of observation, collection, organization and analysis of data. Experiments aim to develop good laboratory techniques and expose the students to a variety of laboratory instrumentation.

COURSE OF STUDY:

The Curriculum:

9th Grade: Biology

10th Grade: Chemistry

11th Grade: Physics, AP Biology or AP Chemistry

12th Grade: Physics, AP Physics or AP Biology

 

Elective offerings include:

  • Forensics
  • Biomedical Engineering


Three years of basic laboratory sciences are required of all students in a multi-track system that serves their individual needs. A fourth year of advanced or AP science, as well as participation in national competitions, are strongly recommended and encouraged.

Tracking:  All mandatory Science classes are tracked. Science classes are tracked independently of other disciplines. AP science classes are offered in 11th and 12th grades.

BIOLOGY

Ninth-grade Biology is a comprehensive, investigation-oriented introduction and is intended to prepare students to better understand the development of life processes and living forms. Major emphasis is placed upon biological themes and key concepts within the framework of scientific inquiry. There are five major themes that define the study of biology: the cell; molecular basis of heredity; biological evolution; interdependence of organisms; and matter, energy, and organization in living systems. Essential to the understanding of biological concepts is a grasp of science as a process rather than only an accumulation of facts; personal experience in scientific inquiry; recognition of unifying themes that integrate the major topics of biology; and application of biological knowledge and critical thinking to environmental and social concerns.


CHEMISTRY

Tenth-grade Chemistry is an algebra-based, college-preparation chemistry course that provides students with a working knowledge of chemistry, both in theory and in practice. In addition, this course is designed to assist students in preparing for science related professions and help them gain a general confidence in dealing with chemistry in day-to-day living. The students perform many hands-on experiments. Numerous classroom demonstrations make chemistry an interactive and animated experience. Major topics include: atomic structure; periodic trends of the elements; chemical bonding; chemical formulas and equations; acids, bases, and salts; the kinetic theory of matter; oxidation-reduction; principles of organic chemistry; nuclear chemistry.


PHYSICS

Eleventh- or twelfth-grade General Physics is a course designed for college preparation. Mathematical models are used to describe physical phenomena, giving meaning to many of the techniques studied in pure mathematics courses. This course draws on the personal experiences of students in their everyday environment. Concept development is enhanced through a laboratory program that gets students involved in "doing" physics. The first half of the curriculum includes the main topics of mechanics: motion, vectors, momentum, work, and energy. The second half of the year is spent exploring waves (including light and sound), electricity, and magnetism.

Alternatively, students may take Conceptual Physics. In this course, less emphasis is placed on mathematics as students explore the basic concepts of physical laws and phenomena. Advanced students in all of the sciences are prepared to take SAT II examinations.


ADVANCED PLACEMENT BIOLOGY

The AP Biology course is designed to be the equivalent of an introductory college biology course. The course is taken after the successful completion of basic high school biology and chemistry. It aims to provide students with the conceptual framework, factual knowledge and analytical skills necessary to deal critically with the rapidly changing science of biology. Hands-on laboratory work is meshed with interactive lectures.


ADVANCED PLACEMENT CHEMISTRY

This course is the equivalent of an introductory college chemistry course. It may be elected after the successful completion of high school Biology and Chemistry. The topics covered emphasize chemical calculations and mathematical formulation of principles. The laboratory experience is equivalent to that of a typical college course.


ADVANCED PLACEMENT PHYSICS

This course provides a systematic introduction to the main principles of physics and emphasizes the development of problem-solving ability both in theory (lecture) and in practice (lab). AP Physics is designed for students who have displayed exceptional interest and aptitude in their previous science courses, and is best suited for those who plan to pursue a college degree in physics, engineering or medicine. A math prerequisite through pre-calculus is strongly recommended.


FORENSICS

Forensics is an elective offered to eleventh and/or twelfth graders. Forensic science can be simply defined as the application of science to law. It is an applied science that encompasses the sciences, technology, mathematics, social studies, and language arts. The course incorporates many fun hands-on activities that enable students to apply principles learned in class. Topics covered include: history of forensic science, methods of processing a crime scene and evidence, fingerprints, hair and fiber analysis, and casting impressions.