Sciences: Scope and Sequence

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Biology

Recommended For: Freshmen
Prerequisites: None

Biology is the study of processes central to the continuation and reproduction of life for all organisms. Concepts covered in this course will include the anatomy and reproduction of plant and animal cells, chemical reactions that are critical to specific organic cycles, and the concepts of genetics that explain reproduction, mutation, and evolution. Students will also learn the role of a variety of living and non-living components in maintaining balance within ecosystems, the factors and evidence of evolution, and the coordinated function and structures of organ systems in maintaining homeostasis within human bodies and other organisms.

Students will learn the concepts of biology through hands-on experimentation, simulation, and active demonstration, as well as discussion, group and individual research, and projects that apply concepts covered in class to the observable world.

 


Honors Biology

Recommended For: Freshmen
Prerequisites: Applicant must be a 9th grade student and have a final grade of B or above in 8th grade Physical Science (both semesters)

Biology is the study of processes central to the continuation and reproduction of life for all organisms. Concepts covered in this course will include the anatomy and reproduction of plant and animal cells, chemical reactions that are critical to specific organic cycles, and the concepts of genetics that explain reproduction, mutation, and evolution. Students will also learn the role of a variety of living and non-living components in maintaining balance within ecosystems, the factors and evidence of evolution, and the coordinated function and structures of organ systems in maintaining homeostasis within human bodies and other organisms.

Students will learn the concepts of biology through hands-on experimentation, simulation, and active demonstration, as well as discussion, group and individual research, and projects that apply concepts covered in class to the observable world. Honors Biology will be demonstrably more challenging than the college preparatory Biology courses offered.

 


Chemistry

Recommended For: Sophomores, Juniors
Prerequisites: Applicant must have completed Biology

For this science course, the design is to be a first-year high school chemistry course, which will give students a rigorous foundation in chemistry in order to prepare those students for a college-level course. The course covers significant figures, units, classification, the mole concept, stoichiometry, thermochemistry, thermodynamics, kinetics, acids and bases, redox reactions, solutions, atomic structure, Lewis structures, molecular geometry, the gas laws, and equilibrium. It will examine the composition of various substances and the changes they can go through. The periodic table and simple compounds are covered as well as the basics of Chemistry. Students will be completing laboratory work dealing with practical skills and techniques such as weighing, using units of metric system, and performing experiments that illustrate and reinforce the principles taught throughout the course. In addition, the students will be writing lab reports for every laboratory work completed in the year.

The design of the course will also show students how chemistry touches their lives almost everywhere and everyday, in medicine, the clothes they wear, the games they play, as well as the industries that make the things they use. For this course, the learning environment will be student centered, knowledge centered, assessment centered, and community centered. This course will be student centered to the extent that the teacher builds on knowledge students bring to the learning situations. This course will be knowledge centered to the extent that the teacher helps students develop an organized understanding of important concepts in the physics teaching discipline. This course will be assessment centered to the extent that the teacher makes students' thinking visible so that ideas can be presented and verified. This course will be community centered to the extent that the teacher establishes classroom norms that learning with understanding is valued and students feel free to explore what they do not understand.

In order to be able to understand the material, assignments and projects, students need to have successfully completed Algebra I.

 


Honors Chemistry

Recommended For: Sophomores, Juniors
Prerequisites: Applicant must have completed Biology or Honors Biology

This course is designed to be a laboratory-based chemistry course. The goal of this course is to adequately prepare students for entry into a college-level chemistry class. In this course, students will learn and use scientific skills to study the history and nature of chemistry as an experimental science. It will cover topics of Atomic and Molecular Structure, Chemical Bonds, Conservation of Matter, Stoichiometry, Properties of Gases, Solutions, Acids, Bases, Chemical Thermodynamics, Reaction Rates, Equilibrium, Nuclear Processes, and Organic Chemistry. This course promotes analytical, scientific thinking, and laboratory skills. Students learn how scientists think, work, share their discoveries, and develop skills that will be essential in college-level science courses.

 


Physics

Recommended For: Juniors and Seniors
Prerequisites: Applicant must have passed Chemistry and Algebra II or be concurrently enrolled in Algebra II

The conceptual study of laws of motion, forces, energy and momentum, properties and states of matter, heat and thermodynamics, wave motion, sound, light, electricity and magnetism, and atomic and nuclear physics will be the main units of this course. The course will critically teach students the nature of light reflection, refraction, and polarization while also examining the direct current, heating and the effects of various chemicals. By looking at electrical devices students use everyday, they can begin to apply physics to their daily life.

Each unit in this course discusses a separate topic and through charts, surveys and discussions, ties the various topics together. For this course, the learning environment will be student centered, knowledge centered, assessment centered, and community centered. This course will be student centered to the extent that the teacher builds on knowledge students bring to the learning situations. This course will be knowledge centered to the extent that the teacher helps students develop an organized understanding of important concepts in the physics teaching discipline. This course will be assessment centered to the extent that the teacher makes students' thinking visible so that ideas can be presented and verified. This course will be community centered to the extent that the teacher establishes classroom norms that learning with understanding is valued and students feel free to explore what they do not understand.

 


Honors Physics

Recommended For: Juniors and Seniors
Prerequisites: Applicant must have passed Chemistry and Algebra II or be concurrently enrolled in Algebra II

The conceptual study of laws of motion, forces, energy and momentum, properties and states of matter, heat and thermodynamics, wave motion, sound, light, electricity and magnetism, and atomic and nuclear physics will be the main units of this course. The course will critically teach students the nature of light reflection, refraction, and polarization while also examining the direct current, heating and the effects of various chemicals. By looking at electrical devices students use everyday, they can begin to apply physics to their daily life.

Each unit in this course discusses a separate topic and through charts, surveys and discussions, ties the various topics together. For this course, the learning environment will be student centered, knowledge centered, assessment centered, and community centered. This course will be student centered to the extent that the teacher builds on knowledge students bring to the learning situations. This course will be knowledge centered to the extent that the teacher helps students develop an organized understanding of important concepts in the physics teaching discipline. This course will be assessment centered to the extent that the teacher makes students' thinking visible so that ideas can be presented and verified. This course will be community centered to the extent that the teacher establishes classroom norms that learning with understanding is valued and students feel free to explore what they do not understand.

 


Environmental Science

Recommended For: Juniors and Seniors
Prerequisites: Applicant must have passed Chemistry

Environmental Science 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.

Environmental Science is an applied science that has deep roots in problem solving. In the class, students will be able to apply knowledge from the basic sciences and mathematics to these very interdisciplinary practical global problems.

Environmental scientists search for viable solutions to environmental problems, solutions that are based as much as possible on solid scientific knowledge. The main focus will be to attempt to understand how the biosphere changes naturally and how human activities are altering it.

 


Honors Environmental Science

Recommended For: Juniors and Seniors
Prerequisites: Applicant must have passed Chemistry

This course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science. This course has been developed to provide the student with an integrated approach to the numerous disciplines involved in environmental sciences, and to incorporate many lab components, as well as social and political themes. The benefit to students of the course is to give them a deeper understanding of themselves and all living things surrounding them. They will come away with a deeper knowledge of their place and importance on the planet with a love of science and an ability to use the inquiry process to become critical thinkers that can make a difference in their community. This honors course will better prepare them for higher level science courses in high school and college.  

This course will 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 man-made; to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems; and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them. There are several unifying themes that provide the foundations for the structure of this course:

  1. Science is a process 
    • Science is a method of learning more about the world
    • Science constantly changes the way we understand the world.
  2. Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes.
    • Energy cannot be created; it must come from somewhere.
    • As energy flows through systems, at each step more of it becomes unusable.
  3. The Earth itself is one interconnected system.
    • Natural systems change over time and space.
    • Biogeochemical systems vary in ability to recover from disturbances.
  4. Humans alter natural systems.
    • Humans have had an impact on the environment for millions of years.
    • Technology and population growth have enabled humans to increase both the rate and scale of their impact on the environment.
  5. Environmental problems have a cultural and social context.
    • Understanding the role of cultural, social, and economic factors is vital to the development of solutions.
  6. Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable systems.

 


Oceanography

Recommended For: Juniors and Seniors
Prerequisites: Applicant must have passed Chemistry

Oceanography is designed to present students with the fundamentals of physical oceanography and marine biology and to help students gain a greater understanding and appreciation the world oceans and the life they contain. Students will explore how evolution has impact the development of ocean organisms and the unique characteristics that allow creatures to thrive in the variety of ocean habitats. The course will focuses on how humans historically and currently use the ocean and the negative impact this can have on ocean ecosystems. This course emphasizes scientific observation, hands-on laboratory work, critical thinking, and the use of technology.

The course includes a variety of formative and summative assessments including the use of an Interactive Science Notebook, exit tickets, quizzes, tests, and semester final exams. A key course assessment will be lab work that requires students to perform lab experiments, gather data, and write analytical lab reports on a variety of topics. At least one lab per unit is a student-designed lab requiring the design, setup, and performance of a controlled scientific experiment.

Students will use technology such as laptops, iPads, and probeware to gather and report data and examine models for ocean processes. The course will include several field trips to the local beaches, estuaries, and tide pools to observe and gather data.

 


Computer Science

Recommended For: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors
Prerequisites: Applicant must have passed or concurrently taking Algebra II

This course guides students through Common Core Algebra 1 topics while simultaneously teaching them basic computer programming skills. Students use programming to reinforce and extend their knowledge of algebra 1 concepts by analyzing real life situations, identifying given information, formulating steps that a computer program could calculate to find a solution and analyzing the results for accuracy and precision, going back and modifying their programming solution when necessary. Topics covered include evaluating expressions, one variable equations and inequalities, absolute value equations and inequalities, linear equations in standard form, slope-intercept form and point slope form, systems of linear equations and inequalities, evaluating, multiplying, factoring and plotting polynomial functions with an emphasis on quadratic equations, exponential and radical functions, statistical data analysis and probability, plotting  for visualizing data (using scatter plot, bar graph, histogram, box-and-whisker plot, etc.),  and arithmetic and geometric sequences. Optional group computing activities allow students to collaborate on critical thinking activities based on algebraic topics while developing their ability to effectively communicate, listen, share responsibility and respectfully address the suggestions of others. Optional robotics activities allow students to reenact physically derived mathematical problems through robotics technologies to visualize situations, associate linear and quadratic graphs with physical phenomenon, predict and identify key features of the graphs with the specific physical situations, and solve physical problems through algebraic means.