Science

COVID-19 and Remote Learning Information

Due to Covid-19 circumstances, most of a student’s course loads are divided between two semesters. During one semester, a course covers the equivalent of curriculum from a full fall term and a full spring term for a total of one year of instruction. 

A student receives 2.0 credits per course (equivalent to 1 year of instruction.)

 

By offering our courses on a semester basis, we are supporting deeper and more focused learning. We offer more personalized support, without sacrificing time allotted to the course. AP courses have the equivalent of twice the amount of time to engage in the content and skills compared to years past. 

 

When college admission representatives review a student’s transcript, they review it holistically and with attention to student progress from year to year. Colleges review the courses a student takes in the fall as well as the spring semester of their senior year. 

 

Alyssa Collins, Assistant Principal
 

The goal of the Science Department is to insure that our graduates are scientifically literate and prepared to face the important societal decisions that will await them. Critical thinking and writing are stressed across the curriculum, and technology is used to enhance the learning process. We offer our students a solid foundation in the Sciences and hope to create in them a desire to delve further into these subjects. Each of our students has the opportunity to study Biology, Earth Science, Chemistry and Physics.  Introductory courses are complemented by Astronomy, Organic Chemistry, Advanced Placement Biology, Advanced Placement Chemistry, Advanced Placement Environmental Science, Advanced Placement Physics and Advanced 

 

 
We encourage and support a wide array of extra-curricular Science activities. Our students participate in the NYC Metropolitan and New York State Science Olympiad, Brain Bee Competition, Columbia Science Honors Program and AMNH Research Program.
Sequencing (Flow of Science Courses)

Placement in most courses is dependent upon a student’s math and science level. In addition, it is recommended that a student take calculus concurrently with physics. Ninth grade students are programmed for The Living Environment: Biology, unless they have passed the Regents examination, in which case they will be programmed for either Earth Science or Chemistry, depending on the student’s math level.Sample Science Sequencing

Grade 9 Living Environment: Biology or Earth Science
Grade 10 Chemistry or Earth Science
Grade 11 Physics, AP Phyics 1, AP Chemistry,AP Biology or AP Psychology
Grade 12 AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics 1,AP Environmental or AP Psychology

Grading Policy

Category Percent
Homework 15%
Exams 50% (Fall) 1st semester final / (Spring) Regents grade – 10%
Classwork 25%
Labs 15%
Other Classwork 10%

Course Offerings

Regents Courses 

 

All science courses – which are described below –  culminate in a Regents Examination; students enrolled in Regents courses must take the examination. According to the State Education Department regulations, all students must successfully complete the laboratory component of the course in order to be admitted to the examination. In order to satisfy this requirement each student must:

  •     Complete at least 27 full laboratory periods (1200 minutes). 
  •   Complete and have on file a satisfactory written report for each laboratory experience. 
  •     Demonstrate proficiency in laboratory skills.

 

Students must satisfactorily complete and submit a report for a minimum of 15 full laboratory periods (600 minutes) per term to receive credit for a Regents course. *This requirement has been waived for the 2020-21 school year.

 

 

The Living Environment: Biology - Regents - Regents Living Environment is a rigorous class with a strong laboratory component. As such, students in this course must exhibit high levels of commitment, motivation, and academic maturity. Students are expected to work independently of the teacher, take initiative and responsibility for their learning, and meet high standards throughout the year in the classroom, laboratory, and in completion of homework assignments.

 

Homework - Students will be assigned homework consistently throughout the year.  Homework is meant to enhance student understanding through practice of common topics. Grades will be reduced based on lateness, completion and content accuracy.

 

Lab -  Living Environment classes meet in lab once a week. The laboratory component of the class is meant to expose students to common applications of the content as well as provide hands-on experience. Students are required to complete a minimum of 27 labs to be eligible to take the Regents exam, including four - NYSED mandated labs.

 

Content - In this required course, the following topics will be covered: scientific method, measurement, microscopy, organization and classification, molecular biology, Cell structure and function, animal and plant systems and maintenance, homeostasis, disease and immunity, genetic inheritance, mitosis and meiosis, human reproductive systems, protein synthesis, genetic engineering, evolution, and ecology. In addition, there will be several special field and research reports.

 

Earth Science - Regents - Earth Science is the study of our physical environment, which introduces students to the fields of Geology, Meteorology, Astronomy and Climate. In Geology, we will focus on bedrock, landscapes, earthquakes, plate tectonics and geologic history of New York State. For Meteorology, the main focus will be on weather variables and maps, in addition to severe weather conditions. In Astronomy, we will study the creation of the universe, characteristics of stars, and the solar system. In regard to Climate, students will study Climate Change, El Niño and La Niña, as well as planetary winds and moisture belts in the troposphere.

 

Lab - All the Key Ideas in the New York State Earth Science Core Curriculum will be presented. Laboratory activities related to these Key Ideas will prepare students for the lab practicum test in May. Students must complete 27 labs throughout the course, to be eligible to sit for the Regents exam in June. The New York State Regents Exam in Earth Science will conclude the course.

 

Chemistry - Regents - Regents Chemistry is a rigorous class with a strong laboratory component. As such, students in this course must exhibit high levels of commitment, motivation, and academic maturity. Students are expected to work independently of the teacher, take initiative and responsibility for their learning, and meet high standards throughout the year in the classroom, laboratory, and in completion of homework assignments.

 

Homework - Students will be assigned homework consistently throughout the year. Homework is meant to enhance student understanding through practice of common topics. Grades will be reduced based on lateness, completion and content accuracy.

 

Lab - Chemistry classes meet in lab once a week. The laboratory component of the class is meant to expose students to common applications of the content as well as provide hands-on experience. Students are required to complete a minimum of 27 labs to be eligible to take the Regents exam. 

 

Content - The following is a sequence of unit topics covered in Regents Chemistry: Matter and Measurement, Energy and Gas Laws, Atomic Concepts, The Periodic Table, Chemical Bonding and Intermolecular Forces, Moles and Stoichiometry, Kinetics and Equilibrium, Solutions, Acids and Bases, Kinetics and Equilibrium, Electrochemistry, Nuclear Chemistry, Organic Chemistry

 

Physics - Regents

This is an introductory course on Physics. The Regents Physics course will meet for 45 minutes every day. Lab work is integral to the understanding of the concepts in this course and lab time is required to be eligible to take the Regents Exam at the end of the year. At the end of the course, students will take the NYS Regents Exam in Physics, which will test their knowledge of both the concepts taught in the classroom and their use of the correct formulas.

 

Homework - Students will be assigned homework consistently throughout the year.  Homework is meant to enhance student understanding through practice of common topics. Grades will be reduced based on lateness, completion and content accuracy.

 

Lab - Physics classes meet in lab once a week. The laboratory component of the class is meant to expose students to common applications of the content as well as provide hands-on experience. Students are required to complete a minimum of 27 labs to be eligible to take the Regents exam. 

 

Content - The topics covered are:

Forces

Momentum

Kinematics

Energy, Work and Power

Electrostatics and Circuits 

Waves and Sound

Light and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Modern Physics

 

BioEthics (not a Regents bearing course. Open to Juniors and Seniors who have completed LE, Chem)

The study of bioethics incorporates ethical questions that are at the heart of medicine, law, biology and public policy. Bioethics is the marriage between medicine and technology, which force us to confront policies that have the potential to transform humanity for the better or to generate devastating consequences. Some (but not all) of the many questions we will grapple with this year include: 1) When we don’t have enough ventilators for all how do we decide how to allocate these life saving devices to some? 2) In what circumstances would it be ethical to request a physician’s aid in dying? 3) How do we decide when it is time to remove a vegetative patient from life support? 4) What does it mean to be a person? 5) Who should decide the sex of a child if their sex is ambiguous? 6) Should human benefits outweigh animal harms in experimentation? In this course we will apply moral theories, principles and values to debate these ethical issues. We will interact with others by analyzing case studies, sharing ideas, engaging in debates and acquiring creative problem solving. Most importantly, we will learn how to argue using multiple perspectives of an issue and not just our own.

 

Advanced Placement Courses

Biology, Advanced Placement - The Advanced Placement biology course is designed to be the equivalent of a college introductory biology course usually taken by biology majors during their first year. After showing themselves to be qualified on the Advanced Placement Examination, some students, as college freshmen, are permitted to undertake upper-level courses in biology or register for other courses for which biology is a prerequisite. Other students may have fulfilled the laboratory science requirement or a pre-professional requirement and will be able to undertake other courses.

 

Chemistry, Advanced Placement - AP Chemistry is designed to be the equivalent of a college-level General Chemistry course. It is a very rigorous class with a strong laboratory component. As such, students in this course must exhibit high levels of commitment, motivation, and academic maturity. Students are expected to work independently of the teacher, take initiative and responsibility for their learning, and meet high standards throughout the year in the classroom, laboratory, and in completion of written assignments. The College Board makes the following statement regarding student commitment: “It is assumed that the student will spend at least five hours a week in unsupervised individual study.” 

 

Environmental Science, Advanced Placement - This  Advanced  Placement  Environmental  Science  course  helps  to  create  informed  citizens  by  discussing  the  fragility  and resilience of our planet.  The curriculum covers a wide array of disciplines from pure sciences like biology, ecology, chemistry,  physics,  and  geology  to  social  sciences like  geography, anthropology, economics and political science. AP  Environmental  Science  will  challenge  your  academic  ability  and  critical  thinking.  This  course  will  explore  the  furthest  reaches  of  the  Earth  to  your  own  backyard.  You  will understand the interconnectedness of life on the planet and the important role humans play on Earth.

 

Topics   in   this   course   will   include   Earth   systems   and   resources, the living world, population, land and water use, energy  resources  and  consumption,  pollution,  and  global  change. There will also be labs and projects. Students will hear  from  a  diverse  selection  of  guest  speakers  covering  many areas of environmental science and will be encouraged to attend lectures outside of school. Students will also attend an extended day environmental guided trip where they will participate in activities  that supplement topics covered in the classroom. 

 

Physics 1, Advanced Placement -  AP Physics 1 is an algebra-based, introductory college level physics course that explores topics such as Newtonian mechanics (including rotational motion); work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sound; and introductory, simple circuits. Through inquiry-based learning, students will develop scientific critical thinking and reasoning skills.

 

Psychology, Advanced Placement - Advanced Placement Psychology is a college level course intended for highly motivated students. The topics covered will include history; research and statistics; the biological basis of behavior; psychological development through the life span; states of consciousness; sensation and perception; learning; cognition; intelligence; motivation and emotion; stress and health; personality; abnormal psychology; the treatment of psychological disorders; and social psychology.

 

(rev. 3.15.21)