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Science

The Science curriculum at Village Glen High School is underpinned by a commitment to making Science relevant and practical for all students. Courses are designed to help students become active problem-solvers.

In addition to learning scientific concepts, students are taught to think critically, understand science as a process, and to explore the nature of experimental design. By solving science problems, engaging both qualitative and quantitative analysis, and communicating about science in verbal and in written forms, students develop an appreciation of science as a process for investigating and discovering. Students in Biology and Chemistry courses gain valuable hands-on experience through the use of clever and sophisticated laboratory experiments that use advanced scientific instrumentation provided through Village Glen’s participation in the TOPS Program (Teachers + Occidental = Partnership in Science). Physical Science and Physics courses also offer opportunities for laboratory experimentation.

Ninth grade students begin high school science with Earth Science, which focuses on aspects of our planet such as the solid earth, water, and atmosphere or Biology, which focuses on the unique properties of living organisms.

Tenth and Eleventh grade students continue their scientific studies with Chemistry, which is designed as a general introduction to the properties and interaction of all forms of matter, and then Physics. (The latter course is for students who have an interest in physics and/or are planning on enrolling in a 4-year university program.)

All students enrolled in Science Courses are required to complete a Science Fair Project which helps students further develop their experimental and research skills. The Science Fair Project also encourages students to demonstrate creativity in science by allowing the student to choose their own topic.

Course Descriptions

Biology, 1 year lab science credit
This is a full year, laboratory science course focusing on the unique properties of living organisms. Students learn about genetics, the structure and biochemical processes of the cell, ecology, evolutionary trends within and among the various kingdoms, and human-systems physiology. The course teaches an appreciation for all living organisms and helps students make informed decisions regarding the biological issues that society faces.

Chemistry, 1 year physical lab science credit, prerequisite: 1 year of Biology
Chemistry is a full year course designed as a general introduction to the properties and interaction of all forms of matter. This course includes lecture, discussion, and integrated laboratory experiments designed to introduce students to the nature of matter. The major topics presented in this course are nomenclature, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, atomic structure, periodicity, bonding, phases of matter, equilibrium, thermodynamics, acid–base chemistry, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry. The course presents abstract concepts and emphasizes quantitative problem-solving skills.

Physics, 1 year science credit, prerequisites: 1 year of Biology, 1 year of Chemistry, 1 year of Algebra
This course provides an introduction to most of the major topics in physics. Topics covered include the study of mechanics: motion, forces, gravitation, momentum, and energy. Additionally, students learn about the properties of heat and matter, sound and light, electricity and magnetism, and atomic and nuclear physics. Mathematical problem solving is also a major part of the course.

Ecology, 1 year elective credit
This course is designed for students to gain a deeper understanding of the interactions between organisms and their environment, and the way in which these interactions determine the distribution and abundance of organisms. The course provides students the opportunity to further investigate life processes, ecosystems, biomes, populations, biodiversity, natural resources, energy, and the environment and human health.

A.P. Biology, 1-year college-prep biological lab science credit: prerequisites:  1 year of Biology, 1 year of Chemistry, 1 year of Anatomy/Physiology and 1 year of Algebra 2 are required with a grade of 80% (B) for each semester in these courses. Students may also enroll with teacher recommendation.

The Advanced Placement Biology curriculum is equivalent to a college course usually taken by biology majors during their first year of college. Students obtain weighted credit by successfully completing the AP Biology exam at the end of the course. The course differs significantly from a first year high school Biology course with respect to the kind of textbook used, the range and depth of topics covered, the kind of laboratory work done by students, and the time and effort required by the students. The primary emphasis of the course is on developing an understanding of concepts; a grasp of science as a process rather than as an accumulation of facts; personal experience in scientific inquiry; recognition of unifying themes that integrate the major topics of biology; and the application of biological knowledge and critical thinking to environmental and social concerns.

Anatomy/Physiology, 1-year college-prep lab science credit, prerequisites:  1 year of Biology, 1 year of Chemistry
Anatomy/Physiology is an advanced college-prep laboratory science.  This course emphasizes the study of the structure and function of the human body.  Students will gain exposure to many different styles of learning and develop skills that will help them be successful in college and/or in their future endeavors. Visual, kinesthetic, auditory and oral presentation will be developed.  Critical thinking and writing skills, as well as cooperative and inquiry based learning strategies that will be crucial for students in any professional setting will be utilized.

Integrated Science I, 1-year physical lab science, no prerequisites:
This course will be taught in accordance with the state and district standards and will meet the physical science laboratory requirement for 9th/10th graders.  Integrated Coordinated Science is a guided-inquiry project based course that works with students at all learning levels.  It is subdivided into 4 major components addressing content from the National Science Education Standards. Chemistry introduces the study of the properties of elements and their atomic structures as it relates to the periodic table.  Earth science allows students to access curriculum related to the earth’s geosphere and includes the study of volcanoes, plate tectonics and earthquakes.  Biology will address ecology and environmental issues.  Physics will provide an overview of the study of sound and light.  Wave motion, sound waves, light rays, and effects of changing ray direction with mirrors will be woven into collaboratively driven projects.

Psychology, 10 credits
Psychology provides an opportunity to study individual and social psychology and better understand how psychologists address human problems. The course will cover insights into behavior patterns and adjustments to social environments. The focus will also be on developing critical attitudes toward generalizations and stereotypes; respecting the challenges of establishing the truth of a proposition; and increasing awareness of the sensitivities, needs, and feelings of others.

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