Courses & Descriptions
All freshmen take this one-year introductory course that explores the fields, marshes and woods surrounding our campus, experiencing a naturalist’s approach to the study of biology, as well as topics including ecology, cells, molecular and evolutionary genetics and the diversity of life. The course also introduces students to basic laboratory skills, report writing and the use of technology in the laboratory, background necessary to the further study of science. It is inquiry-based, with many experiential and hands-on activities. (No prerequisite.)
The focus of this course will be toward the acquisition of health knowledge and decision-making skills which will encourage students to promote wellness, avoid injury, and prevent disease. In learning to appreciate one's role in the health and well-being of self, family, and community, students should acquire lifelong healthy habits and practices.
A demanding introductory course for the student who is willing and able to engage in an intensive study of biology at an accelerated pace. The course emphasizes the relationships among living things at each level of organization. Laboratory work illustrates and emphasizes these relationships. (Prerequisite: Successful completion of one year of chemistry, and permission of the department.)
This course is designed to prepare students for the College Board Advanced Placement exam in biology. The course covers the material expected in a first- year college-level introductory biology course, and all students are required to take the AP Biology exam in May. This course meets for one additional laboratory period, compared to a standard Academy science course. (Prerequisite: Successful completion of one year of chemistry, and permission of the department.)
A general introduction to chemical theory and laboratory practices. Students in this course will gain an understanding of atomic structure and theory, chemical equations and reactions, stoichiometry, thermochemistry, solutions and gas laws. There is a laboratory period every week. In the lab, students will gain an understanding of proper lab practice, use of equipment, and chemicals.
A demanding introductory course for students with strong aptitudes and a strong interest in science. This course offers a more rigorous and comprehensive introduction to chemical theory and laboratory technique than is offered in regular sections of Chemistry. (Prerequisite: successful completion of Algebra I with honors-level achievement, and permission of the department.)
In this laboratory course, students will learn basic chemical principles through investigation of chemistry’s impact on society. Environmental issues currently confronting our society and the world will serve as a basis for introducing the chemistry needed to understand them. Students will explore how chemical concepts apply to their daily lives and the world around them. The course uses the American Chemical Society text, Chemistry in the Community.
This course is designed to prepare students for the College Board Advanced Placement exam in Chemistry. It is a second-year, two-semester laboratory course in chemistry which further develops and expands on the concepts presented in the first year of chemistry, covering the material expected in a first-year college-level introductory chemistry course. All students are required to take the AP Chemistry exam in May. Students should have mastery of the following topics before starting this course: measurement, units, significant figures stoichiometry, history of atomic theory and the periodic table, empirical gas laws, calorimetry and heat, VSEPR and molecular geometry, intramolecular and intermolecular bonding. (Prerequisite: recommendation from the first year chemistry teacher, approval of the course instructor, and completion of Algebra II with a grade of C or better.)
This course is designed for the student who is not likely to major in science or engineering in college, but who wants to be exposed to the concepts of physics in order to be a truly educated and aware citizen of the twenty-first century. An extensive amount of laboratory work using microcomputer-based equipment is involved. The development of problem-solving skills using basic algebra and the rudiments of trigonometry is also a goal of the course. The focus of this class is on mechanics, dynamics and energy. Some astronomy, waves and electrostatics are also discussed. At the completion of the course, the student should be more able to make responsible decisions regarding science in an age of increasing technological complexity. (Prerequisite: Algebra II completed or studied concurrently, and permission of the department)
Conceptual Physics is a laboratory course that builds understanding of concepts before computation. Physical phenomena are experienced in the laboratory then extensively analyzed and explained. Graphical and algebraic relationships are then introduced as guides to thinking. Finally, physics problems are solved as a way of verifying and extending students’ understanding of concepts. The course deals with mechanics, kinematics, wave theory and other topics. The text for the course is Conceptual Physics by Hewitt. Extensive use is made of StarLogo TNG a graphical programming language that allows students to build physically sound simulations and games in a realistic 3D virtual world. (Prerequisite: Algebra II completed or studied concurrently.)
AP Physics 1 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 (including a significant laboratory component), students will develop scientific critical thinking and reasoning skills. This course is a prerequisite for AP Physics 2 and AP Physics C, so any students wishing to take AP Physics 2 or AP Physics C should first take AP Physics 1. Students are not required to take the second course (although they can). (Prerequisite: successful completion of Algebra II with honors-level (B or better) achievement, and permission of the department.)
AP Physics 2 is a second-year, algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course that explores topics such as fluid statics and dynamics; thermodynamics with kinetic theory; PV diagrams and probability; electrostatics; electrical circuits with capacitors; magnetic fields; electromagnetism; physical and geometric optics; and quantum, atomic, and nuclear physics. Through inquiry-based learning (including a significant laboratory component), students will develop scientific critical thinking and reasoning skills. (Prerequisite: successful completion of Honors Physics or AP Physics 1 with honors level achievement (B or better); successful completion of Algebra II with honors level achievement (B or better), and permission of the department.)
This course covers the fundamentals of human anatomy and physiology. Units of study include cell chemistry and structure, tissues and organ systems including the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, digestive, respiratory, urinary, reproductive and sensory systems. Students should finish the course with a strong introductory understanding of the structure and function of the human body. (Prerequisite: one year each of biology and chemistry.)
This course covers the basic physical and biological principles of marine and estuarine ecosystems. Understanding the concepts of ecology, such as the relationships between organisms and the flow of energy and nutrients, viewed through the lens of evolution allows a structure for discussions of many of the pressing environmental issues that we face today. Emphasis is placed on field work with a 2-1/2 hour block each week set aside for field trips and independent projects in local habitats and for group and independent projects in the classroom. (Prerequisite: one year of biology and one year of physics or chemistry completed or studied concurrently.)
This course provides students with a foundation of understanding the risks associated with growth in a developing world; environmental impact of population growth on natural resources; mineral and resource extraction; water resource uses; and renewable and non-renewable sources for power generation. Students will explore current environmental topics and gain the knowledge and skills to deal effectively with environmental problems such as global warming, acid rain, endangered species and invasive plants and animals. Students learn a variety of basic laboratory and field techniques including soil and water sampling. An emphasis is placed on students using critical thinking and analytical skills to make a positive impact on the environment. (Prerequisite: one year each of biology and chemistry)
This course is multidisciplinary (biology, chemistry, physics and crime science investigation). Topics that will be addressed may include but are not limited to: genetics, toxicology, entomology, ballistics, pathology, computer forensics, fire debris and trace evidence. It will focus on forensic science concepts such as DNA analysis and blood typing; as well as fingerprinting; handwriting analysis; hair and fiber analysis; toxins; identification and analysis of crime scene evidence; and the law. Case studies and current events will be explored. (Prerequisite: one year of biology and one year of chemistry or physics.)
This course is designed to prepare students for the College Board Advanced Placement exam in environmental science. The course covers the material expected in a first-year college-level introductory environmental science course, and all students are required to take the College Board Advanced Placement exam in Environmental Science in May. The goal of the AP Environmental Science course is to provide 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 human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Environmental science is interdisciplinary; it embraces a wide variety of topics from different areas of study. There are several major unifying constructs, or themes, that cut across the many topics included in the study of environmental science. (Prerequisite: Successful completion of one year each of biology and chemistry, and permission of the department.)
In this course students will explore how the human nervous system controls so many diverse aspects of our lives! After gaining an understanding of the anatomy of the nervous system and the special functions of cells in the nervous system, we will explore the neuronal control of a number of human behaviors. Topics that will be addressed may include but are not limited to: sleep and dreaming, language, emotion, motor function, touch, vision, and memory. Case studies and current events will be explored. Objectives of the course will include improving critical thinking skills and learning about ethical considerations in medical research. (Prerequisite: one year each of biology and chemistry.)
In this course students will explore how animals behave, why animals behave the way they do, and how scientists design experiments to study their behavior from both an evolutionary and learning perspective. Topics that will be addressed may include but are not limited to the biology behind behavior, animal communication, feeding behavior, mating, predator prey relationships, aggression, territorial behavior, social behavior, and parent al care. Objectives of the course will include scientific study, critical thinking, and presentation skills. (Prerequisite: one year each of biology and chemistry.) (Not offered 2014-2015)
The term bioethics is derived from the Greek bio, meaning life, and ethos, meaning behavior. This course will explore current advances in medicine and biology that provoke significant debate about ethical choices and responsibility. Possible discussion topics include euthanasia, health care rationing, stem cell research, organ donation and abortion. Students will be required to research and report on topics of their own choosing. A good portion of the grade will be based on a variety of written assessments, including a research paper. The final exam will be a staged health care symposium. This one-semester elective is open primarily to juniors and seniors; sophomores may petition for the course.
- All students, especially those contemplating studying science, engineering or medicine in college should include biology, chemistry, and physics in their programs; because of the varying requirements among colleges, it is best for a student to consult with his or her science teacher before registering for a SAT Subject Test
- Students who intend to apply to college programs in science, engineering or pre-med are strongly advised to take AP chemistry, AP biology, or AP physics if qualified.
- In all cases, students should follow the recommendations of the Science Department. Any deviation from these recommendations must be approved by the chair of the science department.