The science curriculum at St. George’s is designed to help students develop an understanding of the methods and findings of science through meaningful experiences. Students learn major concepts of the life, physical, and earth sciences through interactive discussions, hands-on experiments, and explorations of the environments surrounding them. With the goal of producing scientifically literate citizens, the science curriculum is designed in accordance with the National Science Education Standards from the National Academies and Project 2061 from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Science is much more than facts, theories, laws, and information. The American Association for the Advancement of Science articulates a scientifically literate person as one “who is aware that science, mathematics, and technology are interdependent human enterprises with strengths and limitations; understands key concepts and principles of science; is familiar with the natural world and recognizes both its diversity and unity; and uses scientific knowledge and scientific ways of thinking for individual and social purposes.” This type of disposition is espoused by faculty in the St. George’s science department.
Department Chair: Mr. Mike Smothers, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sixth grade science seeks to guide students through the scientific process in ways by which they learn best: thinking, talking, and writing about what they do and discover. Opportunities for true scientific inquiry are designed to engender an understanding of what it means to think and behave like a scientist, while mastering an appropriate level of scientific concepts. Science in the sixth grade is “hands-on” and “minds-on.”
Topics explored this year include: great ideas in science (scientific method), the land around us, matter and energy, and life’s structure and function.
This course supports students’ intellectual and social-emotional growth through collaborative project-based learning, which fosters creative and critical thinking as well as executive function skills. Students practice healthy risk taking as they envision and develop innovative designs to solve problems. They work to build proficiency in their communication skills as they formulate questions, present ideas, give and receive feedback, and reflect on their learning. This course is developed in tandem with the 6th graders’ core classes, with all assignments designed to support and extend their overall learning experience.
Seventh grade science is a journey through three broad areas of science. The course begins by exploring ecology and the environment, followed by a study of astronomy. The course ends with a focus on the human body. Throughout this journey, students work on building skills in organization, technical writing, the scientific method, critical thinking, and working independently.
Prerequisite: by application only
Inquiry, Innovation and Invention allows students to learn the engineering design process, mainly through their work with the VEXIQ robotics system and a STEM research project. The class helps students build their communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills as they work in groups on engineering and robotics challenges. Additionally, students gain exposure to a variety of computer programming environments. Throughout the year, students have the opportunity to compete VEXIQ tournaments. Students may take this class for 2 years.
IPS students learn by doing. Because of a strong emphasis on lab work and analysis of experimental results, IPS serves as an introduction to other laboratory science courses at St. George’s. Students investigate the following topics in Introductory Physical Science: volume and mass, mass changes in closed systems, characteristic properties, and solubility. Students are also introduced to the basics of computer programming and its use in analyzing laboratory data during this course.
Corequisite or prerequisite: Algebra I
A major goal of Physics I is to help the students see physics as a part of everything they experience and to demystify the mathematical formulas scientists use to explain our world. In this course, students complete experiments that allow them to gain direct experience in the process of scientific modeling, helping them understand core physics concepts such as uniform motion, uniformly accelerated motion, Newton's Laws of Motion, conservation of energy, electric circuits, and electrostatics. Students learn to understand and explain physics concepts graphically, mathematically, diagrammatically, and verbally.
Prerequisite: Algebra I
See qualifications for advanced/AP courses.
Honors Physics I is designed for students with accelerated reasoning and mathematical aptitudes and well-developed study skills. Honors students are expected to exhibit tenacity in the pursuit of understanding. In this course, students will complete experiments that allow them to gain direct experience in the process of scientific modeling. Students learn to understand and explain physics concepts graphically, mathematically, diagrammatically, and verbally. Example topics include: uniform motion, uniformly accelerated motion, Newton's Laws of Motion, conservation of energy, electric circuits, electrostatics, and mechanical waves.
Corequisite or prerequisite: Geometry
This course is designed to expose students to a core foundation in chemistry, the study of the composition of matter. A combination of lecture, class discussion, and hands-on laboratory experiences equip students with scientific knowledge and skills which serve as the base for higher-level science courses. Concepts learned in chemistry include: matter and change, scientific measurement, atomic structure and the periodic table, chemical quantities, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, states of matter, thermochemistry, the behavior of gases, and bonding. Additionally, an emphasis is placed upon proficiency in the area of scientific reasoning (data/graph interpretation, scientific method/experimental design, evaluating scientific writing/viewpoints). These skills allow students to apply and build upon course topics in addition to preparing them for the many standardized tests to be taken during the upcoming years.
Enrollment in Honors Chemistry is determined by the science department and is based on a combination of standardized test scores, prior classroom performance, and overall demonstrated ability. Students enrolled in this course study the same topics as those enrolled in Chemistry, including a more in-depth study of nuclear chemistry, solutions, kinetics, and introductory organic chemistry. Added differences include the amount of quantitative work that is required, the pace of the curriculum, and the challenge of assigned problems.
Semesters: one (Fall)
This course introduces students to engineering and its various disciplines and demonstrates the importance of engineering design in many aspects of our daily lives. Students use computer tools, problem-solving strategies, and collaboration skills to complete various design projects.
Students build their creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills by working in teams to complete projects while focusing on the steps of the engineering design process and design thinking. Many of the projects include the use of robotics, allowing the students to incorporate computer programming into their design solutions. Students who have not taken Introduction to Computer Programming may need to complete a short summer assignment to learn basic programming concepts.
Biology I is an overview of the study of life. It guides students to an understanding of the unifying structures and functions of life and the processes that have engendered such vast diversity. The fall semester focuses on the fundamental principles of ecology, the relationship between matter and energy in ecosystems, and the structure and function of cells. In the spring semester, students move to the intracellular levels, investigating the selective pressures that have organized and unified life, leading to a study of genetics and how those principles guide and allow for the evolution of organisms.
Prerequisite: Chemistry or Honors Chemistry
Enrollment in Honors Biology is determined by the science department and is based on a combination of chemistry teacher recommendation, prior classroom performance, and overall demonstrated ability. Students enrolled in this course study the same topics as those enrolled in Biology, including a more in-depth study of molecular genetics, cellular biology, biochemistry, and the big ideas associated with the AP Biology curriculum. Added differences include the amount of quantitative work that is required, the pace of the curriculum, and an emphasis on independent study and the science practices that follow the concept outline of the AP Biology framework.
Semesters: one (Fall)
Astronomy students are introduced to the study of the universe. Students will study topics including the night sky; the origins and history of astronomy; the Earth and the system of planets orbiting the sun; the sun and other stars; and questions about how life originated on this planet and the likelihood of life on other planets.
Note: Physics I is not a prerequisite for this course.
Advanced Physics is for students who did not take Physics I or would like an additional physics course. In this course, students complete experiments that allow them to gain direct experience in the process of scientific modeling. Students learn to understand and explain physics concepts graphically, mathematically, diagrammatically, and verbally. Example topics include: uniform motion, uniformly accelerated motion, Newton's Laws of Motion, conservation of energy, electric circuits, electrostatics, and mechanical waves.
Corequisite or prerequisite: Biology I or AP Biology
The goal of this course is to enable students to master the scientific principles, concepts, and lab practices needed to understand the connected nature of the natural world. In doing so, they interact with and physically identify a basic array of environmental factors in their natural setting; identify and evaluate environmental problems both natural and human-made; assess natural and man-made environmental problems, as well as the relative risks associated with these problems; and examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. To achieve this goal, students engage in project-based assessments and multiple lab periods, take notes on in-class lectures, participate in classroom discussion, and spend much time in the field investigating their physical surroundings.
The AP Environmental Science course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science, through which students engage with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world. The course requires that students identify and analyze natural and human-made environmental problems, evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Environmental Science is interdisciplinary, embracing topics from geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental science, chemistry, and geography.
Prerequisites: Chemistry and Biology I
AP Biology is designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester college biology course. Students who earn a qualifying score on the AP exam may earn up to eight hours of college credit. AP Biology differs significantly from a traditional high school biology course due to text content, depth of material covered, lab work, and time and effort required to achieve mastery in the subject area. The primary emphasis in the course is to develop a conceptual understanding of biology. Essential to this conceptual understanding are a grasp of science as process; personal experience in scientific inquiry; recognition of the unifying themes that integrate the major topics of biology; and application of biological knowledge and critical thinking to environmental and social concerns. All students enrolled in this course must take the AP exam in May.
Prerequisite: A course in chemistry and an Algebra II course
This course is designed to prepare students for the AP Chemistry examination in May and is taught with the understanding that students can abide by a college level workload. Topics include atomic theory, stoichiometry, gas laws, electron structure and properties, chemical bonding, molecular geometry, intermolecular forces, solutions and colligative properties, thermochemistry, chemical kinetics, equilibrium, acids and bases, electrochemistry and nuclear chemistry. Considerable emphasis is placed on analysis of data and ideas, along with interpretation of laboratory work.
Corequisite or prerequisite: AP Calculus AB or AP Calculus BC. Students in other mathematics courses may enroll with approval of both the mathematics and science departments.
AP Physics C-Mechanics is the first course in the calculus-based advanced placement physics sequence. Students gain an in-depth understanding of the physics of Newtonian mechanics appropriate to study in chemistry, physics, or engineering. Guided inquiry and student-centered learning are used to develop students’ critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem-solving skills. The students design experiments to observe and measure real phenomena; organize, display, and critically analyze data; determine uncertainties in measurement; draw inferences from observations and data; and effectively communicate results in a technical format. All students enrolled in this course must take the AP exam in May.
Prerequisite: Biology I or AP Biology
Human Anatomy and Physiology teaches students about the intricacies of the body. Students study each organ system with an eye toward how the structure determines function and how homeostasis is maintained in ever-changing internal and external environments. They also research different anatomical and physiological abnormalities and provide in-depth analyses of all the organ systems through lecture and lab practicals, including the creation of models and completion of dissections.
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