Science

Teachers

  • Stacie Anastasio
  • Phyllis Arnold P'12 '14
  • Gretchen Faras
  • Jon Freer
  • Sarah Lanzetta
  • Cari Nelson (Department Head)
  • Dan Perez
  • Jordan Reed

 

Curriculum

The Science curriculum at Solebury School provides students with diverse and challenging opportunities to explore the world of Science. Our Upper School required courses of Conceptual Physics, taken in the 9th or 10th grade, and Biology, taken in the 11th grade, teach students to think like scientists. In these classes, students develop their critical thinking skills through analysis, problem-solving, observation and experimentation. In addition, these courses give students a basic understanding of our physical universe, and of human beings as physical, biological and psychological beings, so that they can make informed decisions about society and themselves.

As with many of the programs at Solebury, the Science curriculum allows students to follow their own individual interests as they choose courses beyond the graduation requirements. It also allows for flexibility within the core sequence of classes. For students interested in a rigorous academic track, our Honors Science sequence takes a “Physics First” approach in which students take Honors Conceptual Physics, Honors Chemistry and Honors Biology. During the General level sequence, students will take Conceptual Physics in the 9th grade, but for those needing more math support in their freshman year, we have Chemistry in the Community as an option. This is a conceptual chemistry class, with minimal math demands, designed for 9th graders. Many taking “ChemComm” as 9th graders will take Conceptual Physics in the 10th grade, followed by General Biology. Most students taking Conceptual Physics in the 9th grade will take General Chemistry in the 10th grade, followed by General Biology in grade 11. However, it is possible to take ChemComm in the 10th grade for those wanting or needing a less demanding chemistry class. Elective options include AP Chemistry, Honors Environmental Science, Anatomy and Physiology, Robotics and various trimester electives that change regularly in order to provide Solebury students with an incredibly diverse choice of classes. Past elective courses have included Forensic Science, Genetics, Climatology, Physiology of Exercise and Nutrition, and Field Natural History.

If you have any questions about Solebury School’s Science Department, please contact department chair Cari Nelson at cnelson@solebury.org.

 

2019-2020
 

YEARLONG COURSES

Chemistry in the Community: “ChemComm” is a conceptual course that introduces students to the foundational topics and basic mathematical concepts of chemistry. It is structured around community and environmental issues related to chemistry, putting chemistry into the context of students’ everyday lives. Students will gain skills in scientific inquiry, problem solving, and laboratory techniques, setting them up for success not only in future chemistry courses but also for any future science course they take. ChemComm is intended for 9th and 10th graders. 6 credits Textbook: Living by Chemistry by the Angelica Stacy (ISBN: 978-1464142314 )

Conceptual Physics: Conceptual Physics is a hands-on introduction to the basic concepts of matter and energy requiring no more than elementary algebra familiar to ninth graders. It will emphasize experiments and group work. Students are also introduced to the fundamentals involved in writing lab reports. Required. Conceptual Physics is intended for 9th and 10th graders. 6 credits Textbook: Prentice Hall Conceptual Physics by Paul Hewitt (ISBN-10: 9780131663015)

Honors Physics: Honors Physics is an honors-level physics course designed for the 9th or 10th grade student who excels in math and wishes to better understand the world around them. This class will cover more material than Conceptual Physics; including gravity, heat, optics, nuclear physics, and an introduction to electromagnetism. Laboratory experiments and group activities/discussions are an 25 intrinsic component of the class. Prerequisite: Must have completed Algebra 1 and Geometry (ideally, honors classes) and earned no less than a B+ in each class. Honors Physics is intended for 9th and 10th graders. Honors, 6 credits Textbook: Glencoe Physics Principles and Problems (ISBN-10: 0078807212)

General Chemistry: Chemistry engages students with topics concerning matter and how matter changes. We begin the course discussing the scientific method, atomic theory, the arrangement of the Periodic Table of Elements, and chemical nomenclature. Next the focus is on chemical reactions and their representation in chemical equations. We develop the tools, such as stoichiometry, to analyze and understand chemical reactions both qualitatively and quantitatively, and practice these skills in the laboratory. Finally, we study the behavior of solids, liquids and gases and when time allows we introduce nuclear energy and biochemistry in preparation for Biology. A traditional lecture format is used in this class, with supplemental demonstrations, group work, lab experiments and discussions when appropriate. Throughout the course problem-solving skills are emphasized and fostered along with writing lab reports. Prerequisites: Conceptual Physics and Algebra I. Chemistry is intended for 10th graders. 6 credits Textbook: Holt, Modern Chemistry (ISBN-10: 0547586639)

Honors Chemistry: This is the honors version of the general chemistry class (above) and is a prerequisite for taking AP Chemistry at Solebury. It is intended to be a detailed introduction to academic and laboratory skills for students who plan to take science courses in college. In addition to the topics listed for regular chemistry, this class will explore such areas as chemical equilibrium, kinetics, thermodynamics, electrochemistry, and an introduction to more specific branches of chemistry, such as organic chemistry, biochemistry, and nuclear chemistry. There are more demands in this course compared to the general chemistry class and this class will move at a rapid pace. There are labs throughout the year where students engage with and apply the concepts. Prerequisites: honors physics or departmental recommendation or permission of instructor. This course may be taken concurrently with algebra II & trig with permission of instructor. Honors Chemistry is intended for 10th graders. Honors, 6 credits Textbook: Zumdahl, Introductory Chemistry: An Introduction (ISBN-10: 1439049408)

AP Chemistry: This course is meant to be taken as a second year of chemistry after taking honors chemistry. It is equivalent to a college level general chemistry course which provides rigorous study in four major areas: atoms and elements, structure and properties of matter, chemical reactions and reaction rates, and descriptive chemistry. Lab activities are emphasized during class time in order to demonstrate chemical concepts, and students must be highly motivated to independently complete reading and review problems outside of class in order to maintain the rigorous pace of the AP schedule. Class will focus on modern examples of chemical applications and multiple trips are planned to enhance the learning process. Students will demonstrate a basic understanding of, and ability to apply mathematical solutions to classic questions in descriptive and analytical chemistry. At the end of the year, students will take the Advanced Placement Exam for college credit. Prerequisites: Honors Chemistry or permission of the instructor. AP, This course is intended for 11th and 12th graders. 6 credits Textbook: Trivedichemistry.com (products- AP Chemistry) (flash drive e-textbook purchase is required for this class, Mac or PC versions available, sorry no chromebook version)

General Biology: Biology is a laboratory science course that covers the study of living things and allows students to explore a variety of concepts. Biology focuses on the study of life by examining the fundamental concepts of cellular biology, genetics, ecology, evolution and classification. The scientific process and laboratory skills are emphasized along with biology’s connection to other scientific disciplines. Topics that are covered include biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, evolution, classification of organisms and ecology. In addition, students learn scientific writing skills and improve their skills in lab experiments. Required. Biology is intended for 11th graders. 6 credits Textbook: Miller Levine, Biology (ISBN-10: 0133235742) 26

Honors Biology: Honors Biology is a laboratory-based course that is designed to familiarize the student with the major concepts of biological science, scientific inquiry, interdependence of organisms, the cell, matter, energy, organization of living systems, molecular basis of heredity, and biological evolution. This course provides numerous opportunities for students to develop science laboratory skills, critical thinking, and an appreciation for the nature of science through inquiry-based learning experiences. Investigative, hands-on activities that address the variety of topics associated with high school biology are an integral part of this course. Honors Biology is designed for the highly motivated student with a strong interest in the field of science. Prerequisites: Honors Chemistry or departmental recommendation. Honors. Biology is intended for 11th graders. 6 credits Textbook: Campbell, Biology (ISBN-10: 9780805366242)

Honors Environmental Science: An introduction to interrelationships among the natural environment, humans, and the human environment, including the biological, social, economic, technological, and political aspects of current environmental challenges. This course focuses on building the scientific framework necessary to understand environmental issues. It explores the structure, function, and dynamics of ecosystems, interactions between living and physical systems, and how human enterprise affects natural systems. It also examines current issues regarding human impacts on environmental quality, including global warming, air and water pollution, agriculture, overpopulation, energy, and urbanization. This class fulfills a global studies program credit. Prerequisites: Honors Chemistry, Honors Biology or departmental recommendation. Global, Honors, 6 credits No textbook required

Human Anatomy and Physiology: This course will concentrate on the Anatomy and Physiology of the human organism. Topics will include basic anatomical directional terms and taking an in-depth look at each system. Throughout the year, several dissections of organs will be performed and an end of the year dissection of a fetal pig. In addition, there will be one field trip to the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians and Pharmacy. There is a heavy emphasis upon vocabulary in this course and rote information will be assigned to students with the expectation that they will learn much of it on their own. Grades will be determined by a series of tests, quizzes, and lab work. There are also two non-fiction books that we will be reading throughout the year called Complications, and Sick Girl. Prerequisites: C+ or better in Biology or taken concurrently with Biology. Anatomy and Physiology is intended for 11th and 12th graders. 6 credits No textbook required, Non-fiction books required- Complications (ISBN-10: 0312421702) , Sick Girl (0-8021-4387-3)

Robotics: This year-long elective class will apply STEM principles and basic programming fundamentals to create electromechanical systems for engineering demonstrations and participation in outside robotics competitions. This student driven class will provide time and resources to accommodate multiple design iterations and continuous design improvements on individual projects as well as systems for competition. The fall trimester will emphasize programming fundamentals using Lego Mindstorms EV3 Robotics kits, while the Winter and Spring trimesters will focus on the design, build, and testing of robotic assemblies using various programming languages to accommodate both novice and experienced programmers. Occasional field trips and Saturday morning required event participation (approximately once per trimester) are a core component of this class. Students must be enrolled for the entire year in order to receive credit for the class and fully participate in the team based competition tasks with only 2 exceptions: 1) A student who has taken the summer "Introduction to Robotics" class is welcome to join for the Winter plus Spring trimesters, and 2) Once a student has completed the yearlong course, they are welcome to enroll in the Spring trimester of the course in future years in order to participate in the competition more than once. The intention of this course is to minimize outside of class homework through in-class project participation, but rigorous project requirements especially in the spring trimester 27 will require occasional homework tasks. Prerequisite: Engineering I, or permission of the instructor. 6 credits No Textbook Required

 

FALL TRIMESTER COURSES

Computer Science Principles: Computer Science Principles is a new course for 2019 which will cover programming fundamentals along with many computer science topics including the Internet, Big Data and Privacy, and Programming and Algorithms. No programming experience is required, and students are welcome to join for any trimester as schedules permit or to enroll in all three trimesters, since a variety of activities and learning topics will allow for a full-year course experience. No pre-requisites or prior knowledge is required, just bring your curiosity! 1 credit No Textbook Required (A digital text resource will be provided)

Engineering I: Introduction to Engineering: This class is designed to be an educational and entertaining single trimester introduction to applied STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) concepts. Using basic aviation concepts as a foundation for design, group and project based learning will be emphasized in this course with curriculum designed to introduce students to basic engineering design concepts and project management fundamentals necessary to plan and build a project while adhering to an anticipated schedule. Modern skills and technology used to assemble basic projects will be introduced with a focus on design using computers and access to the school’s 3D printer and makerspace materials. The technical aspects of coding and computer programming are not emphasized in this course, although students with a more technical background are welcome to contribute additional levels of engineered complexity to their group projects. Prerequisite: None. Introduction to Engineering is intended for 9th and 10th graders. 2 credits. No Textbook Required

Forensics: This course is intended to be an opportunity for students to apply various aspects of previous science classes to the collection and interpretation of physical evidence. The lectures and in-class labs will include a variety of methods of crime scene investigation including inspecting a crime scene, blood spatter analysis, DNA fingerprinting, toxicology, entomology, hair and fiber analysis, fingerprint analysis and other relevant methods of evidence collection. Case studies will also be used to gain a greater appreciation for how forensic investigation is used in the solving of crimes. Coursework includes lectures, hands-on lab activities, research papers, and presentations. Prerequisites: None. Forensics is intended for 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. 2 credits No Textbook required

 

WINTER TRIMESTER COURSES

Computer Science Principles: Computer Science Principles is a new course for 2019 which will cover programming fundamentals along with many computer science topics including the Internet, Big Data and Privacy, and Programming and Algorithms. No programming experience is required, and students are welcome to join for any trimester as schedules permit or to enroll in all three trimesters, since a variety of activities and learning topics will allow for a full-year course experience. No pre-requisites or prior knowledge is required, just bring your curiosity! 1 credit No Textbook Required (A digital text resource will be provided)

Engineering II: Advanced 3D printing: This class will work with the applied STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) concepts from the Engineering I class and use them to demonstrate projects for practical use. The emphasis of the class will be on the design of projects which 28 reinforce mechanical design skills while incorporating advanced technology including 3D printing and programmable circuit design. Students will learn to independently operate and maintain a 3D printer as well as exploring in detail the variables associated with 3D modeling and slicing for 3D prints. Group and individual final projects will be expected at the end of the trimester, including an opportunity to participate in a regional engineering competition. Prerequisite: Engineering I. 2 credits No Textbook Required

Health: This course provides an opportunity for students to learn about fitness, nutrition, drug use and abuse, lifestyle choices, sexually transmitted diseases, environmental health issues, birth control and other topics surrounding a person's physical and psychological well-being. This course is intended for 9th and 10th grade students. 1 credit Books will be loaned out on the first day of class.

Moral Conflicts: Throughout the trimester we will explore challenging moral issues around the globe that have a strong hold in the scientific community. There will be a mix of reading assignments, debates, research projects, and presentations. Some topics that will be covered include the death penalty, eugenics, and physician assisted suicide. This class is co-taught with a history teacher and a science teacher, and fulfills a global studies program credit. Prerequisite: none. Global. Moral Conflicts is intended for 11th and 12th graders. 2 credits No Textbook Required

Science of Movement and Exercise: This trimester course will concentrate on the movement of the human body during physical activity. You will have the opportunity to learn the basics of biomechanics, kinesiology, and exercise science. Topics will include anatomical direction, kinematics and kinetics, identifying forces on the body (acceleration, momentum, speed, power, energy), analyzing sport skills and identifying proper movement patterns, biomechanics of strength training, and different types of energy systems used while exercising. This course is intended to be hands on with a lot of movement. We will be going to the weight room frequently and will some days exercise to understand the concepts we are learning. There is a heavy emphasis upon vocabulary in this course and it will be assigned to students with the expectation that they will learn much of it on their own. Grades will be determined by a series of quizzes, homework, and lab work. Prerequisite: Biology or concurrent with Biology. This course is intended for 11th and 12th grade students. 2 credits No Textbook Required

 

SPRING TRIMESTER COURSES

Astronomy: The Solar System: Exploring Our Cosmic Neighborhood: "The Solar System" is an elective science course. The foundation for the course will be the history of astronomy, and the evolution of mankind’s understanding of the stars and planets. Students will begin the trimester investigating the Earth-Moon system, followed by "The Solar System," and finally moving on to stars and galaxies. While this course will offer merely a glimpse of all that there is to learn in the field of astronomy, students should leave the course with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue their interest further if they choose. In addition to the topics covered in this course, students will learn how to use telescopes and other observational techniques. Students will be expected to participate in several evenings of observations on campus, and will be expected to attend at least one field trip to an astronomy-based site off-campus. A basic understanding of physics, and both geometry and trigonometry, is useful for students who wish to take this course. Prerequisite: Biology or taking Biology concurrently. This course is intended for 11th and 12th grade students. 2 credits No Textbook Required

Computer Science Principles: Computer Science Principles is a new course for 2019 which will cover programming fundamentals along with many computer science topics including the Internet, Big Data and Privacy, and Programming and Algorithms. No programming experience is required, and students are welcome to join for any trimester as schedules permit or to enroll in all three trimesters, since a variety of activities and learning topics will allow for a full-year course experience. No pre-requisites or prior knowledge is required, just bring your curiosity! 1 credit No Textbook Required (A digital text resource will be provided)

Engineering II: Virtual Reality: This class will work with the applied STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) concepts from the Engineering I class and use them to design games and projects in the emerging popular medium of Virtual Reality. After an introduction to the field of Virtual Reality programming including history and recent developments in the technology, the students will be able to explore the HTC Vive VR system and related design applications to create their own projects. Prerequisite: Engineering I. 2 credits No Textbook Required

Health: This course provides an opportunity for students to learn about fitness, nutrition, drug use and abuse, lifestyle choices, sexually transmitted diseases, environmental health issues, birth control and other topics surrounding a person's physical and psychological well-being. This course is intended for 9th and 10th grade students. 1 credit Books will be loaned out on the first day of class.

Microbiology: Students will be exposed to identification of microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, etc.) using microscopes and basic microbiology lab techniques. We will explore the beneficial and harmful effects that microorganisms have in our world today. There will be labs incorporated into class time. Class will include lecture, lab, research, and projects. Prerequisite: none. Microbiology is intended for 10th, 11th and 12th graders. 2 credits Books will be handed out on the first day of class.