Science AP & Elective Courses

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AP Biology [Full Year]
Students should have a strong interest in pursuing biology in college. AP Biology is designed to develop a  deep understanding of broad topics in biology. The approach places a greater emphasis on the biochemistry of living organisms, supported  by a strong laboratory component. One of the requirements for the AP exam is that students be familiar with twelve specific laboratory  topics. Throughout the year, students will complete these laboratory exercises as they correlate to the topics being studied. AP Biology uses a college text in order to best prepare the students for the AP exam. To complete the course, every student is required to take the AP exam. Prerequisite: Successful completion of the introductory science sequence [physics, chemistry], and permission of the department chair.

AP Chemistry [Full Year]
The material covered in this course is equivalent to an introductory college chemistry course in which concepts, principles, theories, and problem-solving are studied in depth. To complete the course, every student is required to take the AP exam. Prerequisite: Successful completion of the introductory science sequence [physics, chemistry, biology], and permission of the department chair.

AP Physics C: Mechanics [Full Year]
This is a full year calculus based course that follows the physics curriculum as prescribed by the College Board. One half of the curriculum is classical mechanics; the other half is electricity and magnetism. It is designed to help students successfully complete the AP exam in May. The program mirrors a typical first year, college-level physics course taken as part of a physical science or engineering major. A student considering enrolling should have a strong background in mathematics and be interested in science. To complete the course, every student is required to take the AP exam. Prerequisite: Successful completion of the introductory science sequence [physics, chemistry, biology], successful completion or concurrent enrollment in AP Calculus, and permission of the department chair.

AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism [Full Year]
This is a full year calculus based course that follows the physics curriculum as prescribed by the College Board. To complete the course, every student is required to take the AP exam. Prerequisite: Successful completion of the introductory science sequence [physics, chemistry, biology], successful completion of an introductory calculus course, AP Physics I, and permission of the department chair. This course is offered every other year.

Advanced Anatomy & Physiology honors [Full Year]
This course examines the structure and function of human body systems, including the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous, hormonal, circulatory, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, and urinary systems. Topics in pathology and sports medicine will be addressed to further understand the relationship between structure and function of these systems when things go awry as well as methods we can use to help the human body function optimally. Additionally, we will examine how the body is constantly regulating its internal environment; the ceaseless process of homeostasis will be the theme that weaves through the entire course. The cooperation of the individual organ systems that compose the human body will be discussed to understand how cooperation is crucial to maintain the health of the body as a whole. Finally, we will learn the basic vocabulary that allows us to speak about the body in a way that is understood by scientists and those involved in all aspects of health-care. All aspects of the course will be reinforced by laboratory work. As this is a hands on course, laboratory work includes dissections, modeling of specific physiological function, classical histology, ELISA diagnostics, and cell culture. Prerequisite: Chemistry, Biology.

Biotechnology Honors [Full Year]
This investigative course explores the application of genetic manipulation to the fields of medicine and agriculture. Students will explore how the cell accesses, uses, and maintains genetic information and how these mechanisms can be altered for commercial purposes. This is a hands-on course in which students will work collaboratively to become proficient in the laboratory techniques necessary for DNA extraction and analysis, gel electrophoresis, transformation, chromatography, PCR [polymerase chain reaction], and cloning. Through labs and discussions, topics will include cloning, forensic investigation, nanotechnology, DNA barcoding, cancer genetics, gene therapy, genetically modified organisms, DNA fingerprinting, “jumping genes”, RNAi, microRNA, and the recently discovered CRISPR technology. Prerequisite: Chemistry, Biology.

Engineering Problem Solving [Full Year]
This course is designed to introduce students to the real-world applications of engineering, and the problem-solving techniques used by engineers in the field. It is divided into three separate sections, covering a wide variety of engineering disciplines. Computational Problem Solving: Students will learn various data-presentation and interpretation techniques, and learn how to use Microsoft Excel’s built-in programming language to solve engineering problems. Laboratory Measurements: Through hands-on laboratory activities, students will be introduced to real-world systems, and the measurements taken by engineers to analyze them. Field Measurements: Students will be exposed to large-scale field measurements, and get the opportunity to experience real engineering field work. This course will give students a head start if they are thinking about pursuing an engineering degree. They will end the year with a great understanding of engineering systems, measurement techniques, and data acquisition and presentation. Prerequisite: Precalculus.

Environmental Science Honors [Full Year]
This course is designed 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 includes chemistry, earth science, and biology, as well as history, economics, and politics in making decisions about the environment. As such, the course will explore the following main themes: the environment and society, human population growth and its consequences, renewable and nonrenewable natural resources and energy, waste management, and sustainable solutions. The course emphasizes an understanding of systems and processes, and making connections between various topics, rather than short-term memorization of facts. Students will be asked to integrate information from a number of contexts into a reasoned analysis, analogous to a scientist’s approach of devising and implementing solutions to real-world problems. Laboratory and field investigations will support class and guest lectures, and discussion. Prerequisite: Successful completion of the introductory science sequence [physics, chemistry, biology], and permission of the department chair.

Forensic Science [Full Year]
Forensic science is a lab-based, hands-on course in which students will learn forensic methods for solving crimes. The course will focus on the collection and analysis of crime scene evidence and the exploration of lab analysis techniques. Areas of study will include blood typing and blood splatter analysis, toxicology, fingerprinting, entomology, and ballistics. Students will carry out a variety of lab analysis techniques, including gel electrophoresis, hair and fiber analysis, macromolecule testing, forensic examination of soil, and forensic dissection. We will analyze mock crime scenes and real case studies and study the field of forensic psychology.

Marine Science [Full Year]
This course serves as an introduction to several different aspects of marine science including, but not limited to, oceanography, marine invertebrate and vertebrate zoology incorporating physiological adaptations to the marine environment, and key marine ecosystems such as the intertidal zone and coral reefs. Students will begin by understanding the chemistry of the ocean and the unique problems marine species face as well as how they have adapted to thrive in such an exceptional environment. Building upon that foundation, topics will cover specific ecosystems and the biotic and abiotic factors within them that make them fascinating. Dissections will allow a hands-on experience in learning and comparing the anatomy of various marine species while laboratory and online inquiry exercises will give students a chance to apply content to practice. Current issues such as ocean pollution, overfishing, and effects of climate change will also be highlighted and discussed throughout the year, giving students another opportunity to see science in action and improve their scientific literacy. Prerequisite: Successful completion of introductory sciences [physics, chemistry, biology].

Research Methods Honors [Full Year]
The purpose of Research Methods is to introduce students to scientific research. Combining statistics, experimental design, and scientific writing, Research Methods will prepare students for scientific research as a career. The first term of the course will explore experimental design as students learn how to conduct meaningful studies. Through the use of class studies we will look at placebo effects, double blind studies, and control groups. The second term of the course will focus on writing scientific papers and using statistics as a method of proof. Students will be expected to use their learning from the first two terms in the course to carry out their own research projects in the third term. Each team of students will conduct research, receive biweekly feedback from the rest of the class with presentations, and write a final scientific publication on their research.