Science Courses

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Conceptual Physics [Full Year]
Conceptual Physics is a full year survey course in physics based on an inquiry approach. In Conceptual Physics the emphasis is on insuring a qualitative understanding of the concepts of physics. Algebraic manipulations and detailed numerical analyses are avoided in favor of a more descriptive approach, and quantitative and process skills are developed at a pace consistent with the abilities of the students.

Physics 9 [Full Year]
This course is designed to give students an understanding of their physical world through laboratory experiences, language, activity modules, and graphs. While mathematical problem-solving is not emphasized, algebra skills are incorporated alongside the Algebra I curriculum. Many topics of classical physics are covered, ranging from discussion of motion, energy, and momentum, to electricity and magnetism. Every topic is related to everyday life; laboratories and activity modules are designed to provide practice in relating scientific concepts, representations, and models to real world phenomena. The goal of this course is to give students an appreciation for nature and technology as well as lay the foundation for future science courses through the development of scientific reasoning skills and laboratory procedures.

Physics Honors [Full Year]
This challenging, fast-paced course is designed for students who have successfully completed a rigorous college prepatory high school algebra I and geometry class. It covers the same basic curriculum as the standard physics course, in more depth and with more intensity. Additionally, the course is math based and includes aspects of trigonometry. Prerequisite: Successful completion or concurrent enrollment in Honors Algebra II.

Physics 10 & 11 [Full Year]
Intended for students entering Suffield as sophomores or juniors, this course has the same goals, philosophy, and methodology as Foundations of Physics 9. However, since the students will have already completed Algebra I, the course makes greater use of mathematical problem-solving and abstract reasoning.

Conceptual Chemistry [Full Year]
This course is a full survey course in chemistry, supported by regular laboratory activities. Topics include the nature of matter and the particles that make it up, the vocabulary of chemistry, and chemical reactions. In addition, the periodic table is studied as well as patterns of chemical activity. A major goal of the course is to develop an appreciation of the role chemists play in the world and why it is important to learn about chemistry. We will relate our topical studies to the big picture of scientific knowledge. This course moves at a slower pace and covers topics in less depth than chemistry.

Chemistry [Full Year]
Laboratory experiments in this course provide the basis for understanding the fundamental principles of chemistry. This approach is based on the philosophy that the laboratory should be a place where students make and record careful observations, seek a pattern in what is observed, and then explore why the pattern exists. Students are encouraged to discover for themselves ideas that will lead to the basic understandings involved in chemistry. This experimental emphasis is used to develop such major concepts as chemical equilibrium, rates and mechanisms of reactions, bonding, properties based on the geometry of molecules, and chemical systems defined in terms of the periodic table. Prerequisite: Physics, or permission of the department chair.

Chemistry Honors [Full Year]
Particularly ambitious and well-qualified students may elect the honors section, which covers more topics than the regular chemistry course and in greater depth. This would be an appropriate preparation for any student hoping to major in a scientific or technological area in college. Prerequisite: Permission of the department chair.

Biology [Full Year]
This course is taken after physics and chemistry. Students begin by mastering the tools of biological study, such as the use of microscopes, cell cultures, electrophoresis, and dissections. Topics studied include cellular and molecular biology, genetics, evolution, classification, zoology, botany, human anatomy and physiology, and ecology. Exposure to these topics is introductory; an in-depth study is devoted to cell biology as the basic unit of life. Students are also asked to consider the application of these topics to their lives and to the world around them. The course stresses the acquisition of study skills to be used within and beyond the study of biology. Students use a textbook, magazines and other library resources, watch videos, and utilize laser disks and computers to engage their studies. Laboratory work involves investigations that support class lectures and other work. Prerequisite: Previous courses in lab-based physics and chemistry.

Biology Honors [Full Year]
This course is taken after physics and chemistry. Students wishing to take this more intensive, honors-level course should have exhibited a strong interest in the study of science. The course will be a thorough introduction to biology with a greater focus on the molecular biochemistry of organisms, genetics, evolution, and human anatomy and physiology. These topics will be supported with laboratory exercises, videos, and current events literature. Students are also asked to consider the application of these topics to their lives and to the world around them. The course stresses the acquisition of study skills to be used within and beyond the study of biology. Students will be expected to take the SAT Subject Test in biology. Prerequisite: Successful completion of the introductory science sequence [physics, chemistry, biology], and permission of the department chair.