Biology involves the study of living things and emphasizes fundamental life processes. Students have a natural curiosity about themselves as living organisms. During the course, they will acquire knowledge to answer many of their own questions and, hopefully, to extend their curiosity further. The studies range from topics that involve the very small—cells and molecular biology—and the very large—biomes as well as plant life and animal life, from invertebrates to mammals. Relating topics to everyday experiences makes understanding more manageable. Also, the theory is supported by a considerable number of hands-on, practical investigations. The students immerse themselves in the study of living things. Biology connects content and critical thinking via labs, review of current scientific events, and research. Students begin with sample lab procedures; then, as abstract concepts are added to facts, they move to a higher level of scientific problem-solving.
Text: Biology: The Dynamics of Life (Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2006)
Environmental Science Prerequisite: Biology This course is designed to introduce the student to the study of our environment. The course will focus on the basic structures of our environment and then progress to issues that adversely affect it. The course will end with an in-depth look at the government’s role in the environment, including environmental law, citizen action, and advocacy. This course will seek to raise the students’ awareness of the world around them and how the actions of their daily lives affect the environment.
Text: Karen Arms, Holt Environmental Science. Harcourt Press, 2008.
Prerequisite: Biology and completion of or current enrollment in Algebra 2/Trig.
Chemistry involves the study of materials and works to explain occurrences in the physical world. The key to understanding the chemical phenomena is an awareness of the underlying patterns. Each concept in the curriculum is supported by hands-on laboratory exercises; seeing the interactions of chemicals reinforces the fundamental principles and increases the students’ level of involvement in the subject. Whenever possible, examples that are relevant to the students’ everyday lives are incorporated into the course. Curricular topics include properties of matter, moles, chemical bonding and reactions, and acids and bases. Additionally, the laboratory experience is a central aspect of this course. Students will be solidifying understanding with hands-on activities while stressing the acquisition and analysis of data. Writing assignments, lab reports, and oral presentations are incorporated so that scientific inquiry and literacy are reinforced.
Text: Mark Bishop, An Introduction to Chemistry, (Chiral Publishing Company, 2008)
Prerequisite: Algebra 2/Trig and Chemistry or departmental recommendation
The study of physics involves an in-depth look at mechanics, optics and modern physics. Understanding more complex physical phenomena requires a combination of understanding conceptual ideas and developing competency with problem-solving skills—many involving mathematical solutions. Key to success is the marriage of clear explanations and adequate practice with the quantitative challenges. Lessons involve hands-on experimentation and step-by-step problem solving sessions. As with all advanced science studies, it is important to involve applications of the physical phenomena that relate to the students’ every day lives. An active curiosity and involvement in class are significant features that make physics both enjoyable and manageable. When needed, more than one problem solving strategy is provided along with the prioritization of concepts. Students are given the skills to identify successful problem solving strategies.
Text: Giancoli, Physics (Pearson, Prentice Hall, 2009)
Physiology, Anatomy, Injury Prevention, and Diseases (PAID) (Senior Elective)
This course is designed to be an interactive, practical learning experience for 12th graders. Through classroom activities, labs, guest speakers, field trips, and hands-on projects, the students learn about the physiology and anatomy of the human body, how to stay fit and prevent injury through fitness training, endurance, strength and flexibility. Students are trained in first aid, adult and child CPR and AED. In the section of the course dealing with communicable diseases, students study the prevention of diseases and the body’s defense against infection. The instructional emphasis is on interaction as students work on individual activities, participate in demonstrations, solve problems or pursue case studies.
Advanced Placement (AP) Biology
Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry; departmental recommendation
Advanced Placement Biology is designed to be the equivalent of a freshman biology course at the college level. It covers the syllabus recommended by the College Board and prepares the students to take the Advanced Placement Biology Exam. Classes consist of discussions, lectures, journal projects and an extensive laboratory component requiring students to demonstrate, both in technique and analysis, their thorough understanding of the major concepts. Creative ways to explain key concepts will be explored and there will be an extensive use of technology including Internet explorations, animation presentations and virtual labs. The course is intensive, challenging on multiple levels, and includes a comprehensive reading element.
Text: Biology, 9th Edition (Campbell & Reece, AP Edition 2009)
Advanced Placement Environmental Science
Prerequisite: Biology or departmental recommendation
This course is designed to introduce the student to the study of our environment. The course focuses on the basic structures of our environment, ecosystems, essential cycles, energy and biodiversity, and the issues that adversely affect these structures. The course ends with an in-depth look at the concept of sustainability, economics and the environment, and the government’s role in shaping the future of the earth around us. This course seeks to raise the students’ awareness of the world around them and how the actions of their daily lives affect the environment and the importance of environmental advocacy.
Text: Miller-Spoolman, Living in The Environment (Cenage Learning, 2010)