The goal of the science department is to inculcate in students a deep respect for and a continued interest in science, to foster an appreciation of the work of scientists, and to develop an attitude that expresses this respect and appreciation. The department consists of courses and activities designed to stimulate the students to be grounded in scientific principles rather than mere facts, to organize knowledge rather than to simply collect data, to learn to inquire using scientific methods rather than to judge before inquiry, to derive the spirit of inquiry from well-planned laboratory exercises, and to critically assess the science related statements and claims which they encounter. We hope to make our students aware of the problems of society which are related to science, and to guide them in analyzing these problems using their knowledge of science and the moral principles to which they adhere.
INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICS
In this course, students get a basic introduction to conceptual physics. They categorize types of motion, learn Newton’s Laws, and calculate force. They also examine changes in energy through motion, and they create and analyze graphs, charts, and tables to predict and explain the motion of objects under set conditions. Students further examine energy in the form of electromagnetism, applying their understanding by building circuits and manipulating light and sound.
This course explores the unity and diversity of life. The course begins with the characteristics that define life including types of energy and their impact on organisms. Students also learn the principles of basic Mendelian genetics, methods of cell reproduction, and the structure and function of DNA so they can predict the inheritance patterns of sexually reproducing organisms and apply those predictions to contemporary societal issues. The course continues with a study of the basic aspects of ecology, the natural habitats of organisms and their varied living conditions throughout the world, as well as the relationships among various types of organisms. This culminates in an analysis of human biology and a comparison of humans to other members of the animal kingdom, allowing students to understand the diversity of the living world and the interdependence of organisms.
In this course, students explore the categories and properties of matter through observation and investigation. They study atomic structure, bonding, compound formation, and properties of matter in order to manipulate and predict changes given a set of conditions. This allows them to connect the structure of matter with its chemical behavior. In addition, students examine the role of energy in chemical reactions and states of matter through such topics as kinetic molecular theory, chemical reaction equilibrium, activation energy, and the gas laws. Over the course of the year, students learn various lab practices and techniques including measurement, isolation, and characterization of compounds.
AP ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
The Environmental Science course is designed to offer students a chance to examine the world, the many diverse life forms, and the relationships between these living and non-living components of the Earth. Students examine what it would take for the world to be sustainable, the various resources available to the world's inhabitants, the trends of human population throughout the world, renewable and non-renewable sources of energy, water pollution and waste management, and air pollution and global warming. Students explore ways that they could have a positive impact on the world's environment.
AP BIOLOGY (not offered during the 2021-2022 school year)
The AP Biology course is designed to offer students a solid curriculum in general biology concepts. The AP Curriculum is based on four "Big Ideas". First, the process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life. Second, biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, reproduce, and maintain homeostasis. Third, living systems store, retrieve, transmit, and respond to information essential to life processes. Finally, biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties. Students entering AP Biology have taken full-year courses in introductory Biology and Chemistry. The curriculum includes a variety of lab activities that enhances the understanding of the curriculum topics.