Science Department Courses

 

Modern Biology – RAI
Offered to grades: 10, 11, 12
Length: 2 TERMS
Category: Elective
Prerequisite: None

Biology is fundamental to all of the life sciences.  This course is a survey of biological topics intended to give students a solid background in life science.  The basic unit of life, the cell, its internal structure and function are emphasized during the first term.  The basic concepts of genetics and its implications are discussed.  All forms of life are studied with the interdependence of living organisms stressed.  Each unit uses lab activities to supplement other classroom procedures.

The student will:

  • Be able to explain why diversity is necessary for the survival of life
  • Be able to explain the interdependence of living organism
  • Describe the structure and functions of the systems in multicellular organisms

Honors Biology – RAI
Offered to grade: 10
Length: 2 TERMS
Category: Elective
Prerequisite: None

Honors Biology is intended for students seeking a science or health field career and /or planning to take AP Biology. Scientific methodology, biochemistry, the processes of the cell including cell division, genetics, photosynthesis and cellular respiration are emphasized. Evolution is the unifying theme in biology and will be presented as such throughout the course. All forms of life are studied with emphasis placed on structure, function, and evolutionary trends.

The student will:

  • Explain the structure and function of cells, cycling of matter, and connection between cellular reproduction, genetics, and the diversity of life.
  • Identify and describe the significance of evolution throughout the course  
  • Demonstrate understanding of research by designing and conducting experiments of alternate variables
  • Describe the chemical reactions involved in cell functions 
  • Learn to write in a scientific style and read scientific text/literature.
  • Analyze data and draw conclusions/propose solutions based on that data
  • Work independently and in small groups to further their learning
  • Be self-motivated and take responsibility for their learning
  • Utilize time management skills in order to succeed in this fast-paced course

Chemistry I – RAI
Offered to grades: 10, 11, 12
Length: 2 TERMS
Category: Elective
Prerequisite: Successful completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra II

This course is designed to prepare juniors and seniors interested in science.  The course covers the principles of inorganic chemistry.  The main areas covered are properties of atoms, chemical bonding and principles of chemical reactions.  Quantum theory is presented in terms of its relationship to atomic structure.  The course also includes an introduction to thermodynamics, reaction rate and chemical equilibrium, volumetric analysis, acid base chemistry and electrochemistry.  Laboratory experiences will allow the student to study and apply the concepts studied.

The student will:

  • Know the structure of an atom and be able to predict how it will react with other atoms
  • Understand the conservation of matter in physical and chemical change
  • Know that forces exist between and within atoms
  • Know the structure of an atom and be able to predict how it will react with other atoms
  • Understand how elements are arranged in the periodic table according to similar properties and that this arrangement shows repeating patterns
  • Know that substances react chemically in characteristic ways with other substances to form new substances with different properties

Human Anatomy – RAI
Offered to grades: 11, 12
Length: 2 TERMS
Category: Elective
Prerequisite: Biology – Recommended: Chemistry

A systematic approach to physiology and anatomy is followed in which each major system of the body is studied separately.   The integumentary system, skeletal system, muscular system is emphasized during the first term.  The study of the motion of the human body (Kinesiology) will be the focus during the skeletal and muscular systems.  The Nervous System, endocrine system, cardiovascular system, lymphatic system, respiratory system, digestive system, urinary system, and reproductive system will be discussed throughout the second term.  The anatomy of the system is studied first, followed by the physiology of the system.  Finally, the pathology and disorders associated with each system are investigated. Labs supplement the class work.

The student will:

  • Itemize the structures of a cell and the functions they perform
  • Be able to explain cell differentiation and the importance of cell specialization
  • Perform accurate scientific investigations and effectively communicate those results
  • Be able to describe the structure and function of the systems in the human organism
  • Describe how the structure and function of the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems interact to provide movement

AP Biology – RAI
Offered to grades: 11, 12
Length: 2 TERMS
Category: Elective
Prerequisite: Biology or Honors Biology and Chemistry (Honors Biology is strongly recommended) Recommended B or Higher

Dual Credit (DMACC) course

This course is a college freshman level course offered at WHS.  A college text is used and a quarter of class time will be spent in the lab.  Evolutionary themes are incorporated into each unit as it is the foundation of modern biological models and thought.  Topics covered in-depth will include:  evolution, metabolism, photosynthesis and respiration, biotechnology, plant and animal form and function and ecology.

The student will:

  • Use collected data to solve biological problems
  • Design and conduct their own experiments
  • Learn to write in a scientific style
  • Use photosynthesis and respiration as a means of explaining energy transfer in living systems
  • Describe how the structure of the cell and its components fit their function
  • Use techniques of modern biotechnology to transform an organism
  • Describe the mechanisms of evolution
  • Relate structures to functions in the systems of plants and animals

Astronomy – RAI
Offered to grades: 10, 11, 12
Length: 1 Term
Category: Elective
Prerequisite: None

Astronomy focuses on the scientific development of the various theories regarding the universe.  The motion and life cycle of celestial objects are examined.

The student will:

  • Know the history for the development of modern astronomy
  • Know the structure of the different types of telescopes used by astronomers
  • Know the properties of the electromagnetic spectrum
  • Know characteristics and movement patterns of the objects in our Solar System
  • Know how the regular and predictable motions of the Earth and Moon explain phenomena on Earth
  • Know characteristics of the Sun and understands process of stellar evolution
  • Recognize that the universe is made of thousands of galaxies
  • Know that man has explored space and continues to explore space

AP Physics I – RAI
Offered to grades: 10, 11, 12
Length: 2 TERMS
Category: Elective
Prerequisite: Algebra II – Current Enrollment in Trigonometry is recommended

Students explore principles of Newtonian mechanics (including rotational motion); work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sound; and introductory, simple circuits. The course is based on six Big Ideas, which encompass core scientific principles, theories, and processes that cut across traditional boundaries and provide a broad way of thinking about the physical world. 

The following are big ideas:

  •  Objects and systems have properties such as mass and charge.
  • Systems may have internal structure.
  • Fields existing in space can be used to explain interactions.
  • The interactions of an object with other objects can be described by forces.
  • Interactions between systems can result in changes in those systems.
  • Changes that occur as a result of interactions are constrained by conservation laws.
  • Waves can transfer energy and momentum from one location to another without the permanent transfer of mass and serve as a mathematical model for the description of other phenomena.

AP Physics II – RAI
Offered to grades: 11, 12
Length: 2 TERMS
Category: Elective
Prerequisite: AP Physics I – Co-requisite: Pre-Calculus

Students establish lines of evidence and use them to develop and refine testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena.  Focusing on these disciplinary practices enables teachers to use the principles of scientific inquiry to promote a more engaging and rigorous experience for AP Physics students.

Such practices require that students:

  • Use representations and models to communicate scientific phenomena and solve scientific problems;
  • Use mathematics appropriately;
  • Engage in scientific questioning to extend thinking or to guide investigations within the context of the AP course;
  • Plan and implement data collection strategies in relation to a particular scientific question;
  • Perform data analysis and evaluation of evidence;
  • Work with scientific explanations and theories; and connect and relate knowledge across various scales, concepts, and representations in and across domains.

Geology – RAI
Offered to grades: 10, 11, 12
Length: 1 Term
Category: Elective
Prerequisite: None

Geology is an introduction to the processes (internal and external) that shape the surface of the Earth.  Its central curriculum themes include a study of the solid portions of our earth; its crust, the forces that make and shape it, its rocky composition, the natural resources it provides, and the significant role the solid earth plays in shaping the nature and diversity of life on this planet.

The student will:

  • Understand the driving forces behind for continental drift
  • Understand the structure and composition of Earth’s layers
  • Know that rocks, rock layers, and fossils determine the age of the Earth
  • Illustrate the processes involved in the water cycle
  • Know the composition and structure of the Earth’s atmosphere
  • Understand the processes of the rock cycle 
  • Understand the roles of weather and erosion in Earth’s composition

Environmental Ecology – RAI
Offered to grades: 10, 11, 12
Length: 1 Term
Category: Elective
Prerequisite: None

Environmental Ecology is a course that is designed to introduce students to major ecological concepts and the environmental problems that affect the world in which we live. There is an urgent need for environmental education. This course provides one way in which students can become aware of the interactions of people and their environment. The curriculum focuses on concepts that are real-life issues. It promotes awareness and understanding of practical every day problems that affect our lives

This course will introduce environmental processes and the influence of human activities upon them. Topics include environmental sustainability, ecology, population growth, natural resources, and a focus on current environmental problems from scientific, social, political, and economic perspectives. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of environmental interrelationships and of contemporary environmental issues.

The student will:

  • Discuss current environmental issues with an understanding of the basic ecological concepts involved.
  • Develop a worldview related to an understanding of current environmental issues and how global problems affect us locally.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of core ecological principles, and define scientific principles and concepts as related to environmental studies and sustainability.
  • Understand that small fluctuations in the environment can produce dramatic effects in the earth system.
  • Illustrate how humans modify ecosystems as a result of population growth, technology, and consumption.
  • Utilize the scientific method of learning to formulate and revise environmental sciences concepts, models and predictions.

AP Chemistry – RAI
Offered to grades: 11, 12
Length: 2 TERMS
Category: Elective
Prerequisite: Chemistry I, Algebra II 

AP Chemistry is designed to be the equivalent of a first-year college chemistry course.  A college text is used and a variety of college-level experiments will be done in the laboratory.  Topics such as the structure of matter, kinetic theory of gases, chemical equilibria, chemical kinetics and thermodynamics are presented in considerable depth.  The course should contribute to the development of the student’s ability to think clearly and to express ideas orally and in writing, with clarity and logic, when dealing with chemical problems.  This will prepare the student to take the AP Chemistry exam given in the spring.

The student will:

  • The chemical elements are the building blocks of matter, which can be understood in terms of the arrangements of atoms.
  • Chemical and physical properties of materials can be explained by the structure and the arrangement of atoms, ions, or molecules and the forces between them.
  • Changes in matter involve the rearrangement and/or reorganization of atoms and/or the transfer of electrons.
  • Rates of chemical reactions are determined by details of the molecular collisions.
  • The laws of thermodynamics describe the essential role of energy and explain and predict the direction of changes in matter.
  • Bonds or attractions that can be formed can be broken.  These two processes are in constant competition, sensitive to initial conditions and external forces or changes.

 


Department Faculty

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