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Upper School Science

Built around experimentation and discovery, our science courses are dedicated to helping our students become socially engaged and scientifically literate citizens.

Hands-On Inquiry

Our science program is inquiry-based, encouraging lively discussions and observational studies. Students learn through hands-on projects, fieldwork, laboratory research, and experiments, challenging what they know and expanding their awareness and knowledge about the world around them. As they learn the role of science in the larger local and global community, they become prepared, socially engaged, and scientifically literate citizens.

Accordion

For ninth-graders, this laboratory course is a comprehensive introduction to the study of biology.

In this course, students may:

  • Study cell inheritance, the history of life, microbiology, plant and animal diversity, ecology, and human structure and function
  • Participate in a variety of labs, interactive activities, and projects

This laboratory course challenges students with its rigorous conceptual level. Molecular biology is the central theme that incorporates a focus on perspectives from the sub-disciplines of genetics, cell biology, systematics, ecology and evolution.

In this course, students may:

  • Study computer-based data acquisition and analysis technologies
  • Complete special projects and readings emphasizing the relationship between ethics, public policy, and biological issues

This laboratory course for sophomores covers basic mathematical principles used in the physical sciences with an emphasis on their applications in modern atomic theory, chemical composition, chemical reactions, and the behavior of gases.

In this course, students may:

  • Acquire skills with common laboratory techniques, including computer-based data acquisition, analysis, and report writing
  • Participate in inquiry-based learning

This mathematically rigorous course covers all the major chemical concepts.

In this course, students may:

  • Participate in laboratory work that emphasizes quantitative techniques and rely heavily on calculator- and computer-based technology
  • Challenge their problem-solving and critical thinking skills

For 11th- and 12th-graders, this course provides an introduction of the major topics of physics with an emphasis on the application of concepts involved.

In this course, students may:

  • Study a range of topics, including simple vibrations, light, sound, and electricity
  • Complete hands-on activities, competitions, and lab experiences 

A detailed study of dynamics, kinematics, sound waves, light waves, optics and optical phenomena, electricity and magnetism, this course uses mathematics to build familiarity with the concepts involved. This is a laboratory course.

Designed for 11th- and 12th-graders who would like to study the human body more thoroughly, this college-level course includes both lecture and laboratory experiences. Students learn a vast amount of technical vocabulary while also participating in dissections and other experiments.

In this course, students may:

  • Delve into systems of the body with special attention given to medically related problems
  • Participate in field trips, lab practicals, and dissections

This course is designed as a college-level introductory course, with emphasis on four major themes of biology—cellular and molecular processes, genetics, ecology, and evolution. 

In this course, students may:

  • Develop an appreciation for the study of life as well as its unifying principles and underlying mechanisms through a combination of classroom discussion, small group activities, and laboratory investigations
  • Develop critical thinking and data analysis skills through independent investigations

This is a rigorous, college-level course which covers all of the topics normally taught in first-year college chemistry. Laboratory work is done to augment the lecture/recitation part of the course. 

With a heavy emphasis in math, this course offers in-depth coverage of forces, energy, momentum conservation, translational and rotational kinematics, gravity and rotational motion, orbits, oscillations, electrostatics, and electric fields. Students also investigate conductors and dielectrics, the origins and effects of magnetic fields, electromagnetism, waves, thermodynamics, special relativity, and atomic physics.

Students in this course are introduced to the scientific study of behavior and mental processes of human beings and  other animals. 

In this course, students may: 

  • Survey the major subfields of psychology, including scientific research methods, ethical considerations in research with human and animal subjects, and the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal behavior
  • Complete one or more independent research projects

This course introduces students to plant tissue culturing, DNA, RNA, protein technologies, genetic diagnostics, fermentation technology, forensic science, and cloning.

In this course, students may:

  • Explore the topics of stem cells and bioethics, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and energy and environment management
  • Study food processing and bioethics
  • Gain insight into biotechnology career pathways and business applications

Macro Engineering will survey the field of engineering and engineering technology, providing an introduction to such engineering disciplines as civil, mechanical, and materials. This course will integrate math, science, technology, and writing as students learn the Engineering Design Process (Design, Build, Test, Evaluate, Redesign) to solve engineering problems and explore the impact technology has on society. The course will be primarily project-based. It will emphasize teamwork and oral and written communication, and require substantial participation by all students. 

Micro Engineering will survey the field of engineering and engineering technology, providing an introduction to such engineering disciplines as electrical, biomedical, chemical, and environmental. This course will integrate math, science, technology, and writing as students learn the Engineering Design Process (Design, Build, Test, Evaluate, Redesign) to solve engineering problems and explore the impact technology has on society. The course will be primarily project-based. It will emphasize teamwork and oral and written communication, and require substantial participation by all students.

This course is designed to be an interdisciplinary investigation into crucial environmental issues, combining the study of science, history, and culture. It is designed to be as hands-on and exploratory as possible, with a number of projects and field trips into the community.

In this course, students may:

  • Learn about how people think about the environment and have interacted with it throughout history
  • Learn how science informs the ways in which we interact with the environment
  • Learn the major environmental issues facing society today