Science in High School

Scientifically literate individuals possess both a knowledge of facts and an understanding of concepts from a wide range of scientific disciplines. They should also have the opportunity to develop, through experimentation, the process skills that encourage and enable continuous learning and critical thinking. The goal is to develop scientifically literate individuals who understand and appreciate the interrelationships of science, technology, and society. All courses incorporate technology based laboratories (including graphical analysis software) and interactive resources.

All SAS ninth graders must enroll in a biology course. Tenth graders must enroll in a physical science course—usually chemistry. Nearly all SAS graduates complete three years of science, with most earning four or more science credits.

New high school students arriving from an “integrated science” program typically enroll in Biology, Accelerated Biology, or Chemistry if arriving in ninth or tenth grades. After completing two years of an integrated science program, Accelerated Biology, Accelerated Chemistry, or Physics are the typical choices.

Science Courses in 2018-19

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View Other High School Courses

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Course Descriptions

Biology

ID: 44005 Grade: 9-11 Length: Year
Credit: Life Science

Biology at SAS is a full-year, college-preparatory curriculum based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). As the course centers on the study of the living world, it is of special relevance and accessibility to students. Students will learn to use and improve their science processing skills in order to solve problems.

Laboratory and field based investigations will allow students to have first–hand experience with modern methods of analysis. There are five life science topics in high school as outlined by NGSS:

  1. Structure and Function,
  2. Inheritance and Variation of Traits,
  3. Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems,
  4. Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, and
  5. Natural Selection and Evolution.

The NGSS performance expectations for high school life sciences blend core ideas with science and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts to support students in developing usable knowledge that can be applied across the science disciplines.

Accelerated Biology

ID: 44008 Grade: 9-12 Length: Year
Credit: Life Science
Prerequisite: Approval from eighth grade science teacher is required to select this course in ninth grade.
Note: This course was previously named Molecular Biology. If a credit was earned in that course, you cannot retake it under this new name.

Accelerated Biology is a rigorous course that follows the Next Generation Science Standards, is taught at a faster pace, and requires more critical reading and daily work than Biology. This course will be of particular interest to those who are interested in pursuing a college major or career in scientific fields such as medicine, engineering, or the pure sciences.

There are five life science topics in high school as outlined by NGSS:

  1. Structure and Function,
  2. Inheritance and Variation of Traits,
  3. Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems,
  4. Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, and
  5. Natural Selection and Evolution.

The NGSS performance expectations for high school life sciences blend core ideas with science and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts to support students in developing usable knowledge that can be applied across the science disciplines. Laboratory and field based investigations will allow students to have first-hand experience with modern methods of analysis built around computer-based probeware. Students enrolling in this course should be able to read at or above grade level and should have demonstrated high levels of achievement in previous science courses. On students’ transcripts, this course is designated as being equivalent to an honors course.

Biotechnology

ID: 44016 Grade: 11-12 Length: Year
Credit: Life Science

Biotechnology is designed for students with at least one year of biological science, who are prepared for an in-depth study of the scientific foundations and technological applications of genomic and protein biotechnology. The course emphasizes laboratory techniques and exposes students to a variety of fields including microbiology, cell biology, genetics, bioinformatics, and bioengineering. Students need a solid understanding of DNA structure and replication, protein synthesis, and gene control mechanisms. It is an excellent course for students who are considering careers in any biological science field, such as genetics, biomedical engineering, or biomedical research.

Environmental Science

ID: 44022 Grade: 10-12 Length: Year
Credit: Life Science
Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Chemistry or Accelerated Chemistry is required to select this course in tenth grade.

Environmental Science is a study of the interrelationships between man, other living things and the environment. Students will study all of the components of our environment and their interactions, and will seek to understand man’s impact on the environment and discover ways by which we can minimize these impacts. Laboratory and field based investigations into some of these impacts will allow students to have first-hand experience with modern methods of environmental quality analysis built around computer-based probeware. This course is an applied science course in that it seeks to discover solutions to the most urgent problems facing human society today: the interrelated problems of population, resources, and pollution.

Forensic Science

ID: 44017 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester
Credit: Life Science
Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Chemistry or Accelerated Chemistry is required to select this course in tenth grade.

In this course students will learn the real science behind the various laboratory techniques used when analyzing physical evidence from a crime scene. Students will be exposed to various academic fields including photography, mathematics, medicine, and entomology. Laboratory skills combined with basic forensic science procedures will be applied to topics as diverse as: analyzing fingerprints, DNA, blood, shoe and tire evidence, hair and fiber evidence, autopsy, and time of death estimation using insects.

Marine Biology

ID: 44021 Grade: 10-12 Length: Semester
Credit: Life Science
Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Chemistry or Accelerated Chemistry is required to select this course in tenth grade.

This introductory course will explore the fundamentals of oceanography, the biology and diversity of marine organisms, and the patterns and processes that guide the ecological dynamics in various marine communities. The course will give students a general background in the taxonomy of marine organisms as well as the specific adaptations these organisms have evolved to survive in the ocean. Students will also be introduced to various marine ecosystems and the organisms that inhabit them. Laboratory and field based investigations will allow students to have first–hand experience with modern methods of analysis built around computer–based probeware.

Anatomy and Physiology

ID: 44010 Grade: 10-12 Length: Semester
Credit: Life Science
Prerequisite: Biology or Accelerated Biology.

This course is designed for students interested in learning the important principles behind human movement, energetics, health, and disease. The course focuses on the form and function of the musculoskeletal system and how it is powered by the body’s metabolism. Prior knowledge of cell communication and physiology will be leveraged to gain a more thorough understanding of the integration of different body systems, while examining the impact of modern living on our physiology. Students will be asked to challenge their bodies with varied activities such as muscular strength and modified VO2 max tests to further understand how their body responds to applied stresses. Students are expected to devise and conduct a scientific research study during the course in lieu of a final exam.

Zoology

ID: 44013 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester
Credit: Life Science

Zoology is a lab–based course that emphasizes the principles of animal biology and an account of the major types and groups of animals from protozoans to vertebrates. The discussion of each animal type includes an account of its structure and bodily processes together with a summary of its habits and reproduction. Relations of animals to their natural environment and their importance to humans also receive consideration. The broader aspects of animal biology are studied; namely, anatomy, physiology (evolutionary relationships), and ecology.

AT Environmental Science and Field Research

ID: 44036 Grade: 10-12 Length: Year
Credit: Life Science
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of B+ or higher in Accelerated Biology plus concurrent enrollment in a chemistry class is required to select this course in tenth grade. Semester I grade of B or higher in Biology or Accelerated Biology, plus Semester I grade of B+ or higher in Chemistry or B or higher in Accelerated Chemistry are required to select this course in eleventh or twelfth grades.

This course offers an intensive, year-long inquiry into the integration of nature, society, economy, and wellness. Grounded in science, students in the class will explore a wide range of environmental issues both natural and human-made. It is designed for students who already have a solid grasp of biological and chemical sciences and can demonstrate a passion for examining solutions and alternatives for resolving, decreasing, and preventing environmental problems. The course will feature a variety of units to develop an understanding of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals through investigation of ecological services, the value of biodiversity and natural resources, and creative work toward the collaborative reduction of human ecological and carbon footprints.

Students will develop insights into global cultures in less and more economically developed societies and build empathy for myriad worldviews through role-playing and panel debates on hot-topic issues. Fieldwork investigations will take students out of the classroom into regional terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems to conduct field research culminating in a college-level co-authored paper. Science and engineering practices will be applied through collaborative lab work and analysis of environmental quality, to determine ecosystem integrity.

Students will be prepared to take the College Board AP Environmental Science exam. The AT portion of this course was collaboratively developed and endorsed by a tropical rainforest ecologist at Nanyang Technological University. The AT designation indicates a course is at the university level, putting it at or above the level of a traditional AP course. This course has a grade point weighting of 0.5.

AP Biology

ID: 44027 Grade: 11-12 Length: Year
Credit: Life Science
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of B or higher in Biology or Accelerated Biology, plus a Semester I grade of B+ or higher in Chemistry or B or higher in Accelerated Chemistry.

AP Biology is designed for students who are interested in higher studies in biological sciences, engineering, medicine, or related disciplines. This course will examine the four big biological ideas of Evolution, Energy, Information, and Interaction by looking at topics such as molecular and cellular biology, physiology of plants and animals, heredity, ecology, and evolution. While biological knowledge and concepts will be taught, students will approach the material from the perspective of science practices such as modeling, mathematical analysis, scientific questioning, experimental design and execution, data analysis and evaluation, and conceptual connections. Biological concepts will be examined through laboratory exercises that focus on inquiry and investigation. Throughout this course students will improve their capacities for problem solving and critical thinking, preparing them for further study in the biological sciences. Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

Physical Science

ID: 44006 Grade: 10-12 Length: Year
Credit: Physical Science
Prerequisite: Biology or Accelerated Biology

This course will provide students with a fundamental knowledge of physical science while developing an understanding of their importance to society. Essential concepts of chemistry and physics are introduced in an engaging inquiry approach; without emphasizing applications involving Math. The course is a broad–based course integrating, among other topics, health science, technology applications, earth science, and global issues; with the common thread being physical science. The course stresses analytical skills that are vital for any student to be successful in science; ultimately placing responsibility for learning on students themselves as they explore individually and in groups how physical science concepts apply to their everyday lives. In addition to traditional laboratory work, students will be involved in a variety of technology centered decision–making activities and projects.

Chemistry

ID: 44014 Grade: 10-12 Length: Year
Credit: Physical Science
Prerequisite: Biology or Physical Science, plus completion of Algebra I or higher level Math course.

This course models the fundamental laws of chemistry, kinetic molecular theory, and atomic structure to make qualitative and quantitative representations and predictions about chemical processes. The first semester addresses student misconceptions of the particle model of matter in specific relation to conservation laws, the behaviour of gases, and energy transfer. The second semester builds on these concepts and focuses on quantifying chemical reactions using masses, gases and solutions. The year concludes as we look deeper into acids, bases, and equilibrium. The course encourages problem–solving, inquiry, and communication with an emphasis on graphs, diagrams, written explanations, and calculations.

Accelerated Chemistry

ID: 44023 Grade: 10-12 Length: Year
Credit: Physical Science
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of B+ or higher in Biology, plus completion of Geometry or higher level math course; or a Semester I grade of B or better in Accelerated Biology, plus completion of Geometry or higher level Math course.

Accelerated Chemistry is an introductory chemistry course designed for above–average students, in particular those who intend to pursue further science courses leading to a science–related career. It is a rigorous course in which students are expected to be able to read and comprehend technical material at or above grade level. The course presents contemporary ideas of chemistry based heavily on laboratory experiences done by both traditional methods and by the use of laptop–based probeware. Energy, stoichiometry, periodicity, chemical bonding and molecular geometry, chemical thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, equilibrium, and quantum mechanics are all examined. On transcripts, this course is designated as being equivalent to an honors course.

AP Chemistry

ID: 44031 Grade: 10-12 Length: Year
Credit: Physical Science
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of A or higher in Chemistry, plus either current teacher recommendation or Semester 2 grade of A or higher in Chemistry; or Semester I grade of B or higher in Accelerated Chemistry.

AP Chemistry is a rigorous, college-level course specifically intended for students who plan higher studies in science, engineering, or medicine. Topics studied include atoms and forces, kinetics, equilibrium, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, and periodicity, electrochemistry, and gaseous behavior. Laboratory work involves careful measurements and applications of theory to explain and/or predict the behavior of chemical systems. Laboratory work will include both traditional and probeware–based experiences. The subject matter in this course is presented with an emphasis on both chemical calculations and the conceptual foundation of chemical principles, so a strong mathematics background is imperative. Students will be expected to demonstrate the ability to read and comprehend sophisticated material from college level textbooks and journals and to summarize concepts. Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

AP Chemistry (Self-Paced)

ID: 44024 Grade: 11-12 Length: Year
Credit: Physical Science
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of A or higher in Chemistry, plus either current teacher recommendation or Semester 2 grade of A or higher in Chemistry; or Semester I grade of B or higher in Accelerated Chemistry

This self-paced AP Chemistry covers the same content as the more traditional AP Chemistry course (44031), but students have the flexibility to move faster than the normal pace of the class. Students may take assessments before the normal due date but may not fall behind. Students who sign up for this course will benefit from the flexibility to plan the timing of assessments themselves but should be self–directed and strong independent learners.

Physics

ID: 44015 Grade: 10-12 Length: Year
Credit: Physical Science
Prerequisite: Algebra II or higher Math course

Physics is a math-oriented, problem-solving, laboratory-based approach to physics. It is designed for the student who intends to pursue further science courses. Through laboratory experiences and problem-solving activities, this course will treat each major area of physics in some detail, including mechanics, waves and light, and electricity. Students will use creative problem solving and technology to gather, analyze, and present data and conclusions about the physical world around them.

Engineering and Space Technology

ID: 44038 Grade: 10-12 Length: Year
Credit: Physical Science
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of B or higher in Accelerated Chemistry; or Semester I grade of B+ of higher in Chemistry; or current science teacher recommendation.
Note:This course is highly student–led. Students will be required to apply for enrollment so that we can balance the needed skill sets for our team. Experience in physics, computer science, leadership, or engineering are beneficial though not necessary to apply.

In this course, students will design and engineer an experiment that will run aboard the International Space Station. The environment of the ISS—a combination of microgravity and periods of high radiation exposure—presents a unique opportunity for students to further scientific understanding. Students will research science in a project-based environment, tying together fields and skills such as electrical engineering, computer science, materials engineering, finance, design, strategic networking, and more. The end product will contribute to scientifically significant research related to space. With a number of constraints, including size and energy use, students will think critically and work creatively to imagine, design, and build their experiment. The course is highly student-led, and requires investment in the process of design and learning by doing. Students can expect to work collaboratively and intensively and should be highly motivated in the sciences.

AT Computational Physics

ID: 44050 Grade: 10-12 Length: Year
Credit: Physical Science
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of A in Algebra II; or completion of Algebra II/Trig or higher level Math course.
Note: This course offers students options to pursue possible university credit.

This is an introductory college-level course in physics that will also incorporate coding using vPython and mathematical modeling using Excel. The first three quarters of the year will be dedicated to learning the introductory concepts ideas of classical mechanics as well as an introduction to coding. Students will learn physics theory, perform experiments and compare their experimental results to the data predicted via modeling. The last quarter of the year is dedicated to an individualized, student-initiated and designed advanced project using and applying the physics and computer generated data. The AT designation indicates a course is at university level, putting it at or above the level of a traditional AP course. The course requires rigorous study and emphasizes in-depth research. Like an AP course, this course has an additional grade point weighting of 0.5 for its duration.

Students taking this course may choose to sit the AP Physics 1 exam in May. Should students choose to do so, they will need to self–study one unit and independently prepare for the AP exam.

In addition, the content of this course meets the criteria for a Syracuse University physics course (SUPA PHY 101). Therefore, AT Computational Physics students may elect to earn Syracuse University credit by concurrently enrolling in SUPA PHY 101. Students must enroll in the Syracuse University system at the beginning of AT Computational Physics and successfully complete the applicable assessments in order to earn the Syracuse University credit. Please note that there is a cost per Syracuse University credit hour that families must pay if students choose to concurrently enroll. For further information, please see the SUPA website (http://supa.syr.edu). To determine whether participation in this program is a fit for your long-term goals, please speak with your counselor.

AP Physics 1

ID: 44032 Grade: 12 Length: Year
Credit: Physical Science
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of A in Algebra II; or completion of Algebra II/Trig or higher level Math course.
Note: In 2018–19, the course will be offered for the final time and is available only to seniors. Beginning in 2019–20, SAS will no longer offer AP Physics 1.

AP Physics 1 is an introductory algebra–based physics course that gives students an exposure to Newton’s laws (kinematics, dynamics, uniform circular motion, gravity, rotation, oscillations), conservation laws (momentum, energy, work), mechanical waves (traveling waves, sound), electrostatics, and electric circuits. Additionally the course will include further topics such as electromagnetism to better prepare students who plan on taking AP Physics C in the following year. There will more time for hands-on explorations of physics content and inquiry labs. Investigations will require students to ask questions, make observations and predictions, design experiments, analyze data, and construct arguments in a collaborative setting. The course is based on six Big Ideas, which encompasses core scientific principles, theories, and processes that cut across traditional boundaries and provide a broad way of thinking about the physical world.

AP Physics 2

ID: 44033 Grade: 11-12 Length: Year
Credit: Physical Science
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of B or higher in AP Physics 1 or AT Computational Physics; or Semester I grade of B+ or higher in Physics, plus completion of Chemistry, completion of Accelerated Chemistry, or concurrent enrollment in Accelerated Chemistry.

AP Physics 2 is equivalent to a second–semester college course in algebra–based physics. The course covers fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, waves and optics, and modern (atomic, nuclear and quantum) physics. Similar to Physics, AT Computational Physics, AP Physics 1, this course will allow students to achieve an in–depth understanding of the above additional topics using hands–on explorations of physics content and inquiry–based instructional strategies. In AP Physics 2, they will build on their existing understandings by using multiple representations of physical processes, solving multi–step problems, and designing investigations.

The course is based on six Big Ideas, which encompasses core scientific principles, theories, and processes that cut across traditional boundaries and provide a broad way of thinking about the physical world. Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

AP Physics C

ID: 44030 Grade: 11-12 Length: Year
Credit: Physical Science
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of B or higher in AP Physics 1 or AT Computational Physics; or Semester I grade of B+ or higher in Physics, plus completion or concurrent enrollment in AP Calculus AB or AP Calculus BC.

AP Physics C is a rigorous calculus-based physics course for those students planning on higher studies in science or engineering. It is equivalent to an introductory college-level physics course for science majors. The first semester covers the following topics in Newtonian mechanics: the laws of motion, energy, momentum, oscillations, and gravitation. Topics in the second semester include electricity and magnetism: electrostatics (including Gauss’s Law), electric circuits, magnetostatics (including Ampere’s Law) and electromagnetism (including Faraday’s Law) and Maxwell’s equations. Students who are successful in this course are prepared to sit for both portions of the AP Physics C examination. Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.