SCIENCE CURRICULUM GUIDE
The honors courses are rigorous and require high levels of critical thinking, logical reasoning, and concept formation. In addition to learning factual information, students are expected to be well organized so that they can collect and interpret data, formulate conclusions, and apply their results appropriately. Honors courses include laboratory experiments, which require more abstract reasoning, and application of concepts than do the college preparatory science courses and consequently only those students who are prepared to meet these expectations should consider the higher-level courses.
Contemporary Biology Grades 9-12
6 Credits - Full Year
Contemporary Biology is intended as an alternative to college preparatory and honors courses. Although this course covers many of the topics traditionally found in a high school biology course, the emphasis is on the practical, using everyday experiences and examples throughout its presentation.
This course is intended for the student whose individual needs include strong, consistent reinforcement of knowledge areas as well as basic study skills such as reading, writing, note taking and test taking. This will be accomplished through numerous laboratory experiences, demonstrations, "hands- on” activities; computer assisted learning as well as a major project involving research.
Thus, Contemporary Biology is a course that will provide the individual student with numerous opportunities for success while studying relevant topics such as human anatomy and physiology, plant growth and reproduction, the relationships of living things to their environment and social issues regarding the environment. Motivation is achieved through a high-interest, practical, activity-oriented curriculum.
Biology Grade level: 9
Biology is the study of life on the planet Earth. This is a standard college preparatory life science course. Among the concepts covered in the course are the structures and functions of cells, the biochemical basis of life, the characteristics of various organisms, the classification of organisms, genetics (including molecular genetics) and heredity, evolution and ecological relationships. The unity and diversity of life are emphasized. Various biological processes such as photosynthesis, respiration, circulation, digestion and nervous response are investigated. Laboratory investigations include studies of cells using the microscope, the examination of live and preserved organisms, and the analysis of genetic problems.
Grade level: 9
This comprehensive and intensive course is specifically designed for the 9th grade student who not only has an interest in science, but also has already demonstrated previous high-level achievement in science and in writing. The basic topics are similar to the Biology course; however each area in this rigorous course is treated with more in-depth study along with more advanced laboratory work. In addition to developing laboratory techniques and interpreting data, the writing up of experiments is stressed. Students are scheduled for two extended periods for laboratory work. It is expected that students who enroll in this course will be proficient readers, well organized, capable of abstract reasoning, highly motivated, and recommended by their 8th grade teachers.
Grade level: 11, 12
7 Credits - Full Year
The Advanced Placement Biology course is a rigorous course for those students who have a background, ability and motivation to take a first-year college biology course. The syllabus is outlined in the CEEB Advanced Placement Course Description booklet. In-depth studies and experimentation will prepare students for the Advanced Placement Examination in order for them to qualify for college credit and/or placement. Extensive laboratory sessions are scheduled relating to topics covered in lecture and discussion periods are included. Major areas of study include molecular, cellular, organism, and populational biology.
Contemporary Chemistry is presented as an alternative to the approaches used in the college preparatory and honors courses. Information obtained in Contemporary Chemistry is designed for practical applications to life in modern society.
The course is highlighted by using numerous laboratory experiences, class activities and demonstrations rather than the traditional lecture. In addition, the student will be provided with opportunities to strengthen reading, writing, math, organizational and thinking skills using the study of chemistry as a vehicle. Lifelong careers are also suggested throughout the course.
Thus, Contemporary Chemistry is a course that “touches all bases” to provide the student with an alternative to traditional chemistry. Motivation is achieved through a high interest, practical, activity-centered approach combined with an effort to improve basic skills.
Grade level: 10-12
This Chemistry course serves as a comprehensive college preparatory course. The basic principles of conceptual and experimental Chemistry are emphasized, and topics of study will include the fundamentals of physical and chemical changes of matter, the theory behind chemical reactions and molecular bonding, and basic formula and equation writing. Students will develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills by applying abstract chemical concepts to extensive laboratory work. Students are also taught and encouraged to write cogent and analytical laboratory reports, thereby fostering the growth of their written communication skills.
Overall, the course provides students with a solid foundation for future science courses.
Honors Chemistry Prerequisite: Algebra I and Geometry
Co-requisite: Algebra II
This is a comprehensive and intensive course in experimental and conceptual chemistry. The work includes the history and methods of science and ranges over the nature of atoms, molecules, and reactions. Among the major topics are structure, nuclear chemistry, quantum chemistry, bonding, formula and equation writing, stoichiometry, change of state, thermo chemistry, solutions, kinetics, equilibrium, and electrochemistry. Understanding the periodic table, developing laboratory techniques, interpreting data, and writing up experiments are stressed. The extensive laboratory work ranges from investigating the fundamental laws of chemical change to the analytical chemistry of acid-base titration and the determination of reaction rates. Modes on instruction include lecture, laboratory, demonstration, group discussion, and student board work. It is expected that students who enroll in this course will be able readers and proficient in basic algebra.
Advanced Placement Chemistry Prerequisites: Biology, Honors
Co-requisites: Honors Pre-calculus
Grade level: 11-12
The AP Chemistry course is essentially a first-year college chemistry course designed to prepare the student for the Advanced Placement Examination. The content includes the items specified in the CEEB Advanced Placement Course Descriptions booklet. Specifically, the course involves review and elaboration of principles encountered in chemistry and physics especially in the area of atomic structure, bonding, equilibrium, and kinetics, thermodynamics and electrochemistry. Students are expected to spend at least six hours a week in textbook study, problem solving and laboratory reports outside of class.
Physics & Concepts Prerequisites: Biology, Chemistry
Co-requisite: Algebra II
Grade level: 11-12
Physics & Concepts is a laboratory-based physics course that is writing intensive. Standard topics in mechanics, thermodynamics, waves, optics, electricity, magnetism, and modern physics will be covered. The course will require some use of algebra and geometry but the emphasis will be on written descriptions of the physics of everyday phenomena.
This is a college preparatory course in physics, which is designed to interest and benefit all students. The student explores topics such as space, time, motion, energy, light, waves, sound, electricity and modern physics by means of a variety of activities. Included are laboratory experiments, numerous demonstrations, and computer-aided experiments.
Honors Physics Co-requisite: Honors Pre-Calculus or Calculus
Honors Physics is a rigorous math-oriented course in physics, which is designed for students who have a high aptitude in mathematics and plan to go on in engineering or science. Students who plan to take the Physics Achievement Test should take this course. It includes the study of vectors, kinematics, dynamics, equilibrium, circular motion, energy, momentum, mechanical properties of matter, fluids, harmonic motion, waves, thermal properties of matter, electricity, magnetism, electromagnetic induction, light, optics, sound, relativity, and particles and waves. The student explores these topics through a variety of activities, which include laboratory experiments, numerous demonstrations, and computer assisted experiments. The use of the graphing calculator is extensive.
Advanced Placement Physics Prerequisite: Physics (with permission of instructor) or Honors Physics Calculus
Grade Level 12
AP Physics will follow the standard outline of the college level AP Physics B curriculum specified in the CEEB Advanced Placement Course Description booklet. Topics in mechanics, thermodynamics, waves, optics, electricity, magnetism, and modern physics will be rigorously discussed with emphasis on problem solving skills. Students must be well prepared in mathematics including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. The course will include intensive application of mathematics to solve problems. Some calculus-based solutions of physics problems will be discussed so that the more advanced students may consider taking the Mechanics section of the AP Physics C exam.
Earth/Space Science is the study of the materials, which compose the planet Earth, the processes that alter those materials, and the features and processes found in the universe outside our world. The course is divided into four main sections: geology, astronomy, meteorology, and oceanography. The physics topics of motion, forces and energy will be infused, where applicable, throughout the course. Geologic studies include the study of the structure of the Earth, minerals and rocks, volcanic activity, the measurement of geologic time, erosion, shoreline features, earthquakes, mountain formation, plate tectonics, and ancient life. Astronomy considers the nature and formation of the solar system, stars, and galaxies. Meteorology deals with the composition, structure, and behavior of the atmosphere. Various weather phenomena are considered and worldwide weather patterns are studied. Oceanographic studies include investigations of the structure, chemistry, and behavior of the world’s oceans. Ocean currents and the sea floor are studied. Laboratory work includes the use of minerals, rocks, fossils, several kinds of maps, stereoscopic aerial photographs of the Earth’s surface, earthquake records, weather satellite images and maps, star charts, and a telescope for viewing extra-terrestrial features.
Contemporary Earth/Space Science is presented as an alternative to the more rigorous course of study offered in Earth/Space Science. Although, as with the Earth/Space Science course, topics of study are borrowed from the fields of geology, astronomy, meteorology, and oceanography, there is less emphasis on theory and more emphasis on the practical aspects of Earth Sciences. There is also less emphasis on mathematical concepts. The physics topics of motion, forces and energy will be infused, where applicable, throughout the course. An activity-centered approach is used which includes numerous demonstrations, laboratory and other hands-on activities, and a range of audio-visual experiences.
This course is intended for students whose needs include regular reinforcement of the work covered as well as help with basic study skills such as reading, writing, organization, reasoning, note-taking, and test-taking.
Human Anatomy & Physiology Prerequisites: Any Biology course
and any Chemistry course
Grades: 11 and 12
6 Credits – Full Year
Human Anatomy and Physiology is a college preparatory course designed for the junior or senior student with a genuine interest in the biological sciences, or a strong interest in a possible career choice for which a background in Anatomy and Physiology might be of value. The course will be targeted at the general level student at Mountain Lakes, so that, with appropriate effort, most of our students could successfully complete the course.
Human Anatomy and Physiology will be a survey of human systems, their functions, and mechanisms of action. Emphasis will be placed on integration of systems, homeostatic mechanisms, and failures of those mechanisms that lead to disease. Laboratory activities will be an integral part of the course, and will include dissections, mechanical, and chemical activities, as well as cardiovascular and pulmonary activities related to exercise and fitness. Topics covered will include a review of cell biology, the integument, muscle anatomy and physiology, the nervous system, the senses, the cardiovascular system, the excretory system, hormonal control physiology, the reproductive systems, and human development.