Science Courses

Courses of study in science that are designated as an “elective”, “Honors” or “AP” will have prerequisites. Changes in final report card grades may have impact on inclusion into advanced courses. The regular science sequence required of all students is successful completion of courses in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. A fourth year of either mathematics or science is required.

 

PREREQUISITES FOR ALL ADVANCED PLACEMENT AND HONORS SCIENCE COURSE

Honors: Students must take an entrance exam, obtain recommendations from current science teachers, have a “B” or better as the final cumulative grade in all science and math courses.  Students who plan to pursue careers in STEM fields will be given additional consideration.  The department chairperson will ultimately assign students to all honors classes, and may use factors that are not mentioned above to access students with extenuating circumstances.

Advanced Placement: Students must take an entrance exam, obtain recommendations from current science teachers, have a “B+” or better as the final cumulative grade in all regular science and math courses, have a “B” or better as the final cumulative grade in all AP science and math courses.  Students who plan to pursue careers in STEM fields will be given additional consideration.  AP Potential Scores may also be used as a determining factor.  The department chairperson will ultimately assign students to all AP classes, and may use factors that are not mentioned above to access students with extenuating circumstances.

 

 Biology (9th grade)

A college preparatory course involving laboratory and lecture designed to make students aware of the beauty and mystery of living things, and to understand their responsibilities for developing and maintaining the proper interdependent balance of nature. Among the topics covered are ‑ use of the microscope, understanding the nature and characteristics of life, the origin and evolution of life, the chemistry of life, the basic cell, energy interrelationships, plants, animals, ecology and genetics. Required of all 9th grade students.

 

AP Biology (12th grade)

AP Biology is an introductory college-level biology course. Students cultivate their understanding of biology through inquiry-based investigations, lectures and research projects as they explore the following topics: evolution, cellular processes — energy and communication, genetics, information transfer, ecology, and interactions. All topics in the Advanced Placement Biology curriculum guide will be covered. Each student is required to take the AP Biology Exam in the spring. Self-motivation and resourcefulness are the primary characteristics of successful AP Biology students.  Students will need to commit extensive study time to master the wide range of topics level of content detail, and critical thinking-analysis for the AP exam.

 

IB Biology Standard Level/Higher Level Year 1

IB Biology SL is a one-year course; it can also serve as the first year of the IB Biology HL course. Biology SL covers a range of topics including cells, biochemistry, genetics, human physiology, ecology, and evolution. In addition to studying these topics in depth, students will also learn about cultural, historical, and philosophical issues pertaining to biology. Assessment includes the IB Biology SL exam at the end of the year and completion of a student-designed experiment.

 

IB Biology Higher Level Year 2

IB Biology HL expands on the material from IB Biology SL; biochemistry, genetics, and evolution are studied in more detail, and the additional topics of animal physiology, plant physiology, and neurobiology and behavior. In addition to studying these topics in depth, students will also learn about cultural, historical, and philosophical issues pertaining to biology. Assessment includes the IB Biology HL exam at the end of the year and completion of a student-designed experiment. Prerequisite: IB Biology HL Year 1.

 

Genetics (l0th – 12th)

This course is designed for any student who has passed Biology and wishes to understand Genetics in greater depth, especially as it relates to human heredity, evolution, and bioethics. Included are many hands-on experiences and laboratory experiments.  Topics will include recombinant DNA, bioengineering, forensic genetics, hereditary diseases, and the role of genetics in agriculture.  Attention will be given to the latest developments in genetics.  Students will be expected to use the web to acquire up to date information.  Special attention will be given to the interface between current developments in genetics, the legal environment, and bioethics.  Students will take part in bioethics debates.  The role of nature and nurturing in human development will be explored.  Prerequisites: Biology passed with at least a grade of “B”.

 

Anatomy/Physiology (10th – 12th grades)

This course will introduce students to laboratory technique used in both anatomy and physiology. Systems will be studied from both a microscopic and gross anatomical approach; the cat will be the dissection animal. Concomitant with the anatomy, there will be lectures on each of the systems studied. Skills required for gross and microscopic identification, as well as the logic for understanding physiological relationships will be developed.  A nominal lab fee is required to cover the costs of supplies related to dissection.  Prerequisites: Biology, with a “B” or better.

 

Environmental Science (11th and 12th grades)

Students who are interested in environmental and ecological issues are invited to apply for this course. Air quality, water quality, and recycling will be studied. Also included will be public policy and law. There will be opportunities for social action and expression of legitimate concerns. Students will be expected to draw upon previous experiences in Biology and Chemistry so they can actively participate in the class. This course includes laboratory activities and outdoor field work.

 

AP Environmental Science (11th and 12th grades)

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 and/or preventing them (College Board). Although Environmental Science is interdisciplinary, there are several major unifying constructs, or themes, that are covered in the course. The course examines how natural systems change over time and space, how technology and population growth relate to environmental challenges, and how we plan for a sustainable future. The course involves laboratory and field investigations, lecture, discussion, analysis of primary research and data, independent research, and development of applied solutions as presented at Central’s Earth Day event. This course is an alternative (not a successor) to the regular Environmental Science:  you may only take one or the other, not both.

 

IB Environmental Science Standard Level

Students will study the science and social aspects of environmental and ecological issues such as food production, biodiversity, soil, atmosphere, and climate. We will examine public policy and law, ethics and societal changes as they relate to environmental challenges. ESS includes practical work, experimenting directly with environmental phenomena, examining real-world data, and contact with public officials and scientists who are involved in the field. There will also be opportunities for social action and the expression of legitimate concerns.  Students will be expected to draw upon previous experiences with science and social science so they can actively participate in the class. The overall intention is to assist the student to become comprehensively aware of the issues involved and the science behind solutions to environmental challenges. Students will be required to design and carry out an independent research project.   This course is an alternative (not a successor) to the regular Environmental Science:  you may only take one or the other, not both.  Prerequisites: “B” or better in Biology and Physics. Exam may be required. Instructor’s permission required.

 

Forensic Science Honors (11th-12th grades)

Forensic Science is the application of scientific methods to support the law enforcement community in the investigation, apprehension and prosecution or vindication of individuals involved in criminal activities.  The course will examine crime scenes, pathology, anthropology, serology controlled substance analysis, DNA analysis, trace evidence, firearm and toolmark examinations, latent prints, crime scene reconstruction, US case law, major cases, legal issues The course is appropriate for students interested in pursuing careers in law, forensic law, health and medicine.  Students will be required to conduct research, complete scientific lab reports, write essays, give oral presentations, visit museums and other science related facilities. The ability to write well is one of the most important skills to have in college, therefore writing will be a point of emphasis throughout the course.

 

Chemistry (11th grade)

A college preparatory, lab based course offering topics such as use of the metric system with quantitative relationships, matter and energy, classification of matter, formula writing, equations, quantitative gas relationships, atomic theory and structure, periodicity, bonding, analysis of solids and liquids, colligative properties of solutions, ionization, kinetics, thermodynamics, halogens, nitrogen and sulfur, some organic and some nuclear chemistry.  Participation in laboratory exercises is mandatory and will comprise a significant proportion of the final grade.

 

Chemistry Honors (11th grade)

This course is a college preparatory, lab based course that is similar to our Advanced Chemistry course, but will provide a more intensive coverage of the topics taught in Advanced Chemistry.  The purpose of the course is to give students general overview of Chemistry as it is reflected in SAT Chemistry Subject Test.

 

AP Chemistry (11th – 12th grades)

AP Chemistry is a two year, lab based course that is taught in one academic school year.  This course is designed for those students who desire to study more quantitative aspects of Chemistry. Laboratory experiments are complex and sometimes require a great deal of time to complete.  The course is designed to prepare students to take the AP exam in May of the academic year. The topics covered are stoichiometry, gas laws, chemical reactions, atomic structure, chemical bonding, liquid state, solid state, colligative properties, equilibrium, kinetics, thermodynamics, acid‑base theory, electrochemistry, oxidation‑reduction, and descriptive chemistry based on the Periodic Table.

 

IB Chemistry Higher Level (11th – 12th grades)

IB Chemistry HL is a two year course that is taught in one academic school year.  IB Chemistry is an experimental science that combines academic study with the acquisition of practical and investigational skills. Chemical principles underpin both the physical environment in which we live and all biological systems. Chemistry is often a prerequisite for many other courses in higher education, such as medicine, biological science and environmental science. Both theory and practical work should be undertaken by all students as they complement one another naturally, both in school and in the wider scientific community. The IB chemistry course allows students to develop a wide range of practical skills and to increase facility in the use of mathematics. It also allows students to develop interpersonal and information technology skills, which are essential to life in the 21st century. By studying chemistry students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. While the scientific method may take on a wide variety of forms, it is the emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work that characterizes the subject. Teachers provide students with opportunities to develop manipulative skills, design investigations, collect data, analyze results and evaluate and communicate their findings.  Prerequisite: B or better in both Biology and Physics.  Exam may be required. Instructor’s permission required.

 

Introduction to Food Processing Science (10th – 12th) *half year course

Food science is the study of the physical, biological, and chemical makeup of food. This course is designed for students who have passed Biology. The course will examine the history of food development, and the culinary considerations that need to be made when preparing different types of food by studying food at a molecular level. Students will also learn essential food safety skills and food preparation skills in the kitchen. Topics include milk and dairy products, confectioneries, egg-based dishes, fruits and vegetables, doughs, meats, seafood, molecular gastronomy techniques, and food pairing. Students will have the opportunity to cook food in the classroom and improve their culinary skills.

 

Organic Chemistry Honors (11th and 12th grades)

This is a second year advanced chemistry course that is taught on a college level of instruction. Although organic chemistry does not involve mathematics, it does deal with three-dimensional space and a thorough understanding of bonding, atomic structure, kinetics and acid/base chemistry (from Chemistry or AP Chemistry). The topics covered include aldehydes, amines, alcohols, aromatics, esters, ethers, stereochemistry, mechanisms and structured activity. No laboratory experiments are planned, but there will be demonstrations involving some of the reactions studied in the course.

 

Pharmacology Honors (12th grade)

Pharmacology is a subject that integrates knowledge of biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, physiology and chemistry to study the relationship between biological processes and therapeutic agents. Pharmacologists investigate the effects and mechanism of action of drugs and chemical agents with living organisms. The areas of pharmacology are many and diverse, and include the therapeutic and toxicological actions of drugs on humans, animals and microorganisms, the influence of chemicals upon the environment and biological ecosystems, and the use of drugs as research tools for the elucidation of molecular and biochemical mechanisms (Adapted from UCSB).

The course material will focus on the basic principles of biochemistry, biophysics and physiology related to drug action and interaction, distribution, metabolism and toxicity. Students will study many aspects of pharmacology including the science of medication actions, sources, chemical properties, classification, uses, therapeutic effect, side-effects, adverse effects, and routes of administration. The course emphasizes the history of pharmacy, pharmacy law and ethics, pharmacy terminology, symbols, dosage forms, and the 100 most frequently prescribed drugs. The course is best suited for students who want to become a certified pharmacy technician, pharmacist, dental technician, dentist, nursing assistant, medical assistant, registered nurse, psychologist, physician, toxicologists or research scientist (biochemist, chemist, biologist, geneticist, toxicologists, neuroscientist, etc.). To pursue a career in the health science industry, students should learn to reason, think critically, make decisions, solve problems, and communicate effectively. Students should recognize that quality healthcare depends on the ability to work well with others. The health science industry is comprised of diagnostic, therapeutic, health informatics, support services, and biotechnology research and development systems that function individually and collaboratively to provide comprehensive healthcare. Students are expected to apply the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a health science career through further education and employment. Professional integrity in the health science industry is dependent on acceptance of ethical and legal responsibilities. Students are expected to employ their ethical and legal responsibilities and limitations and understand the implications of their actions.

 

Physics (10th grade)

A college preparatory course incorporating topics such as measurement, mechanics, kinematics, dynamics, vibration and waves, heat, electricity, light and atomic theory. Laboratory work is offered in all of these areas. Successful problem‑solving in the course presumes experience in geometrical constructs and some trigonometric functions.

 

Physics Honors (10th grade)

An advanced level algebra based college preparatory physics course. The purpose of the course is to give students general overview of Physics as it is reflected in SAT Physics Subject Test. The course is designed for students who plans future studies in any science fields except Physics and Engineering. The first half of Honors Physics delves into kinematics and dynamics with greater depth and rigor than the standard Physics course. The second half of Honors Physics surveys a wide range of physics topics, including wave mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, light and optics, and modern physics topics, to prepare students for the SAT Physics Subject Test.  Lab activities are integral part of the course.

 

AP Physics 1 (10th grade)

An advanced placement course that provides an in depth look at mechanics and electricity as well as an extensive laboratory work on the topics above.  The objective of this course is to prepare students for the AP Physics 1 exam.

 

AP Physics 2 (11th and 12th grades)

An advanced placement course that provides an in depth look at fluids, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, optics, and atomic and nuclear physics, as well as a laboratory work on the topics above. The objective of this course is to prepare students for the AP Physics 2 exam.

 

AP Physics C (12th grade)

An advanced placement course that provides rigorous study of Mechanics and Electromagnetism at the second year college physics level. Calculus and Advanced Algebra are used as the major mathematics tools. The objective of this course is to prepare students for the AP Physics C exams and future studies of Physics or Engineering. Prerequisites: Students must have an A or B in AP Physics 1, 2, or Honors Physics and Mathematics, as well as a passing score on the required entrance exam. Students must also obtain a recommendation from their Physics teacher.

 

Astronomy Honors (12th grade)

An introduction to Astronomy and Astrophysics using a standard college text by Michael A. Seeds.  Topics will include: the stars and their evolution, our galaxy and other galaxies, the solar system, planets and their moons, life on other planets.  Students will learn methods of astronomical research and astronomical instruments, complete laboratory exercises using astronomical equipment and computer simulations.

 

Engineering (11th-12th)

Engineering introduces students to the field of mechanical engineering by extending and applying the mechanics skills and concepts they have learned in Physics, and learning new skills specific to engineering. Topics include engineering drawing, static structures, mechanics of materials, and mechanism kinematics. Coursework requires analytic and quantitative thinking. Students are expected to be proficient in algebra and right triangle trigonometry, as these math skills will be applied extensively throughout the course. The course is ideal for students who enjoy Math and Physics, and are considering collegiate study in an engineering field. Course is open to 10th graders with permission of instructor.

 

Modern Physics Honors (11th and 12th grade)

A continuation of and an expansion upon the traditional physics course, Modern Physics will expose students to more of the interesting and advanced concepts covered in a typical college course. This class is an ideal choice for students who want to learn more about physics but did not have the chance to take AP Physics 1. Topics will include rotational motion, thermo and fluid dynamics, the link between electricity and magnetism, as well as three-dimensional engineering analysis.   Prerequisites: A grade of B or better in Physics and Algebra II/Pre-Calculus OR permission from the instructor, Mr. Giacomini in room 100 is required.

 

Robotics (10th–12th)

The Robotics class is a way for students to add a level of academic rigor to their participation on the RoboLancers robotics team. Students undertake an intensive team-based design project to produce a functional robot to compete against other teams in the FIRST Robotics Competition. Students may specialize in mechanical design, fabrication, programming, electrical systems, or business management. Students set goals for personal learning and growth, and report on their progress toward those goals at regular intervals throughout the year. The course meets after school nine hours a week, and additional weekend hours are required throughout the school year. Prerequisite: successful completion of one year as a RoboLancers team member and permission of instructor.

 

Advanced Science Research (l0th‑12th grades)

This course is intended for students who are self-motivated, curious, interested in pursuing independent research to pursue their own testable questions or engineering goals to build on existing content knowledge. Students must have previous experience in research through science fairs, summer programs, or internships. The emphasis will be on developing more sophisticated research skills (questioning, designing protocols, collecting and analyzing data, presenting outcomes, collaboration). Students will pursue placements in research settings at universities or hospitals. At these locations, students will experience first-hand what it is like to work alongside professional scientists with advanced technology in “state of the art” laboratories. All students are required to present their research at PA. Jr. Academy of Science (PJAS) regional fair and the Carver Science Fair. Entrance is contingent upon an application demonstrating a research focus, skills, and interview. This is a 7th period course so that students may leave for their laboratory placements.