Science

The mission of the Science Department is to inspire and challenge students to understand the complex interactions among living organisms, matter, and the energy of the universe within a Christian world view.

By investigating, thinking critically, analyzing, and problem solving, students will develop the skills needed to adapt to and prepare for the future.


Standard 1 Standard 2 Honors
9th Grade Biology Biology Biology Honors
10th Grade Biology
Environmental Science
Chemistry Chemistry Honors
11th Grade Chemistry
Environmental Science
Electives *
Physics
Environmental Science
Electives *
AP Biology
AP Chemistry
AP Physics
12th Grade Chemistry
Electives *
Physics
Environmental Science
Electives *
AP Biology
AP Chemistry
AP Physics

* Juniors and seniors may choose two one-semester electives to count as a full-year science course.

Course Descriptions

Biology


Biology is devoted to the study of living things and their processes. This course traces the organization of living things from the simple to the complex. Students first explore the chemistry of life and how matter and energy are related in the biosphere. This course then covers cell structure, genetics, and organ systems, and concludes with the interaction of living organisms with their environment. The diversity of life and theories of the origin of life are also discussed. Other topics include an in-depth investigation of plants, and the biology of bacteria and viruses. The lab portion of this class involves microscope skills, hands-on genetic investigations, dissection, and computer-based critical thinking activities.

(Lab Science; Full-Year Course)

Biology Honors


Biology is the science of living organisms and life processes, including the study of structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, and distribution of living organisms. This course is demanding, as more material is covered in depth. There are many hands-on activities, including computer-based labs, microscope work, and gel-electrophoresis investigations.

During this course, students are exposed to the following basic principles:

  • Chemical Foundations for Cells
  • Cell Structure and Function
  • Metabolism - Photosynthesis/Cell Respiration
  • Principles of Inheritance
  • Evolution and Diversity
  • Plant Structure and Function
  • Animal Structure and Function
  • Ecology and Behavior
Prerequisite: Must have approval of the department chair. (Lab Science; Full-Year Course)

Advanced Placement Biology


The Advanced Placement Biology course is designed to provide a solid foundation in introductory college-level biology. Science is a way of knowing, therefore, inquiry-based labs, instructional activities and the development of critical thinking skills are essential components of this course. Upon course completion, students will understand the importance of the integration of other sciences into the study of biology and the interaction of all components of the web of life, thus helping them become more responsible members of society by comprehending the biological issues that impact our world. 

The major topics covered during the year are:

  • Molecules and Cells: Chemistry of Life, Cells, and Cellular Energetics
  • Heredity and Evolution: Heredity, Molecular Genetics, and Evolutionary Biology
  • Organisms and Populations: Diversity of Organisms, Structure and Function of Plants and Animals, and Ecology
Prerequisite: Biology and Chemistry, one of which must be Honors level; must have approval of the department chair. (Lab Science; Full-Year Course)

Chemistry


Chemistry is the study of materials, their composition and structure, and the changes they undergo. Through extensive research and experimentation, students will gain experience in formulating ideas, discovering evidence to support those ideas, and practical applications of real-world concepts. Topics covered include: classification of matter, atomic structure, periodic properties, molecular structure, chemical bonding, and acids and bases. Chemistry involves working in the laboratory, where experimentation and observation serve to foster a more complete understanding of scientific concepts. Students will develop a manner of thinking and a means to approach a problem. By the end of the course, students will be expected to record lab data and transform their data into thorough lab reports.

Prerequisite: Biology and Algebra I. A graphing calculator is required for this course. (Lab Science; Full-Year Course)

Chemistry Honors


Chemistry Honors is the study of materials, their composition and structure, and the changes they undergo. Through extensive research and experimentation, students will gain experience in formulating ideas, discovering evidence to support those ideas, and practical applications of real-world concepts. Honors Chemistry focuses on concepts and mastery of the material, and pushes students to think independently beyond the obvious.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • Classification of Matter and Energy
  • Atomic and Molecular Structure
  • Chemical Reactions and Bonding
  • Kinetic Theory
  • Acids, Bases, and Salts
  • Oxidation and Reduction

In addition, chemistry involves working in the laboratory, where experimentation and observation serve to foster a more complete understanding of a scientific concept. Students will develop a manner of thinking and a means to approach a problem. By the end of the course, students will be expected to record lab data and transform their data into thorough lab reports.

Prerequisite: Biology and Algebra II; must have approval of the department chair. A graphing calculator is required for this course. (Lab Science; Full-Year Course)

Advanced Placement Chemistry


Advanced Placement Chemistry is designed to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of a one-year general chemistry college course. It differs from our Standard and Honors chemistry courses with respect to the kind of textbook(s) used; the range and depth of topics covered; the emphasis on chemical calculations and the mathematical formulation of principles; the nature and variety of laboratory work done by students, and the time and effort required of students. Additionally, this course helps students develop their ability to think clearly and to express their ideas orally and in writing, with clarity and logic. This course is structured around the six "big ideas" articulated in the AP Chemistry curriculum framework provided by the College Board:

  • Matter and its Structure
  • Characteristics, States, and Forces of Attraction That Give Matter its Properties
  • Chemical Reactions
  • Rates of Chemical Reactions
  • Thermodynamics
  • Equilibrium

Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry, one of which must be Honors level; must have approval of the department chair. A graphing calculator is required for this course. (Lab Science; Full-Year Course)

Physics


Physics is a year-long laboratory course designed both as an introductory to the basic principles of physics and as preparation for continued study in this area. In this course, which focuses on the conceptual application of the principles of physics, students will explore various phenomena in hands-on activities and laboratory experiments with an emphasis on qualitative rather than quantitative analyses. Students will complete a semester project in groups, as well as an individual research project on a student-selected topic with a subsequent presentation to the class.

Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry (Lab Science; Full-Year Course)

Physics Honors


In this year-long course, students will explore various phenomena through hands-on activities and laboratory experiments. Emphasis will be placed on qualitative as well as quantitative analysis of acquired data and its graphical representation. Students who wish to enroll in this course should have an interest in science and will have demonstrated the ability to think critically, as well as strong math skills in their previous science and math classes. Topics covered include: mechanics; fluid mechanics; thermal physics; electrostatics and electrodynamics; magnetism; wave motion, and optics.

Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry (Honors preferable); Honors Pre-Calculus (concurrently enrolled or completed); Must have a department chair approval. A graphing calculator is required for this course. (Lab Science; Full-Year Course)

Advanced Placement Physics 1


Advanced Placement Physics 1 is the equivalent of a first-semester college course in algebra-based physics and covers Newtonian mechanics (including rotational dynamics and angular momentum); work, energy, and power, and mechanical waves and sound. It will also introduce electric circuits.

Students who wish to enroll in this course should be proficient in math (algebra and trigonometry) and have an interest in science. In this rigorous course, students will conduct hands-on, college level laboratory experiments, during which they will learn to work with sensing devices, gather and manipulate data, and present it in quantitative and graphical form. Students are required to account for their experimental findings, and identify the differences between theoretical calculations and their actual experimental data. They must also calculate percentile of error and explain its potential sources. Students will record their laboratory experiments in a portfolio, which they are encouraged to keep as proof of scientific laboratory experience in order to obtain college credit for the course. Special emphasis is made on integrating inquiry and conceptual reasoning.

Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry, one of which must be Honors level; Honors Pre-Calculus (concurrently enrolled or completed); must have approval of the department chair. A graphing calculator is required for this course. (Lab Science; Full-Year Course)

Environmental Science


Environmental Science is the interdisciplinary study of how humans affect and interact with the living and non-living environment. Topics covered during the first semester include: environmental sustainability; ecosystems; biodiversity; population growth; species interactions; biomes; endangered species; forests; fisheries; public lands, and pesticides. In the second semester, the course shifts focus to major environmental issues such as: water resources and management; water and air pollution; geologic resources; climate change; toxicology; solid and hazardous waste, and environmental economics. Students will develop a better understanding of the ecological principles that govern our planet, and will be able to make informed decisions concerning the use of Earth’s resources. Students will conduct lab investigations that are relevant to the course material.

Prerequisite: Biology. (Lab Science; Full-Year Course)

Science Electives (Grades 11 & 12)


Anatomy & Physiology I

This one-semester course is primarily presented according to body systems, and focuses on the body working together to promote homeostasis. Mastery of key concepts is encouraged with interactive animations and hands-on activities. This class covers organic molecules, cells and tissues., then further examines the physiology and anatomy of the integumentary, nervous, skeletal, and endocrine systems. Labs include biochemical assays, hands-on dissections, histology, and computer-based probe technology. Students with a high level of interest in Anatomy are encouraged to continue by taking Anatomy and Physiology II.

Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry (Lab Science; Semester Course)

Anatomy & Physiology II

Anatomy & Physiology II is a one-semester course and completes the comprehensive study begun in Anatomy I by covering the remaining systems: muscles, respiratory, cardiology and blood, lymphatic, digestion, urinary, sensory, and reproduction. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of principles of anatomy and physiology and their interrelationships. Labs include hands-on dissections, histology, and computer based probe technology.

Prerequisites: Biology, Chemistry, and Anatomy & Physiology I (Lab Science; Semester Course)

Astronomy

Astronomy is a one-semester course that studies the study of the heavens - the realm extending from beyond the Earth’s atmosphere to the most distant reaches of the universe. This course will explore the diversity and immensity of the planets, stars, and galaxies. The more traditional chapters included in this one-semester course cover The Cycles of the Sky, The Rise of Astronomy, Gravity and Motion, Light and Atoms, The Earth, The Moon, and a Survey of Solar Systems. Critical thinking components will evaluate the origin of the universe and its future.

Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry (Lab Science; Semester Course)

Forensic Science

In this one-semester course, students will explore the interrelationships between all areas of study by combing topics from math, chemistry, biology, physics, psychology, and earth science. It uses what is actually happening in the community, country, and the world as its classroom and lab. Students will be asked to read, research, hypothesize, interview, compute, and use deductive reasoning to propose crime solutions. Topics covered include: interrogation and reporting; lab techniques; arson and fire investigations; explosions; body systems; autopsy, and entomology. If time allows, cyber-crimes and advanced DNA analysis will be explored.

Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry (Lab Science; Semester Course)

Marine Science

This one-semester course incorporates a variety of sciences to help students understand the makeup of the oceans - from the chemical make-up to the life within. This hands-on and interactive class will investigate the ecosystems, salt/freshwater interactions, and ocean-human interaction. This course will be divided into four units:

  • Part I: History, Origins, Geology, Chemical Makeup, Tides/Waves
  • Part II: Microorganisms to Marine Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals
  • Part III: How Do Parts I and II Coexist and Exhibit Interdependence?
  • Part IV: Resources, Ecology, Conservation

Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry (Lab Science; Semester Course)

Physics and Engineering with Robots


This one-semester course allows students to explore the interrelationships between math, physics, coding, and engineering as they collaboratively design, build, and test robots to complete specific tasks as part of a game. Students will be introduced to aspects of the engineering design process and use critical thinking and creative problem solving skills to develop a successful design. As part of the building process, students will gain theoretical and hands-on skills in the mechanical, electrical, and software aspects of robot design and construction. In addition, students will learn about and participate in the technical documentation process. By the end of the semester, students will have a deeper understanding of physics and engineering, as well as a working robot!

Prerequisite: None (Open to Grade Levels 9-12; Lab Science; One-Semester Course)


Department Guidelines for AP Course Placement

AP Biology


Juniors:
 Must have completed both Biology and Chemistry (one of which must be an honors course).

  • Overall science average - 87%
  • Biology and Chemistry teacher recommendation is required.
  • Department chair approval is required.
  • A student who has a strong desire to take AP Biology but who has not taken an honors course may apply for admittance (required application) as long as they have a 93% cumulative science average. The biology teacher, chemistry teacher and department chair will review the application and also apply the rubric used for placement into the honors science courses.       
Seniors: Must have completed both Biology and Chemistry and at least one honors or AP science course.

  • Overall science average - 87%
  • Biology and Chemistry teacher recommendation is required.
  • Department chair approval is required.  
  • A student who has a strong desire to take AP Biology but who has not taken an honors course may apply for admittance (required application) as long as they have a 93% cumulative science average. The biology teacher, chemistry teacher and department chair will review the application and also apply the rubric used for placement into the honors science courses.   
Transfer students: Students transferring to Wesleyan at the beginning of their junior or senior year must meet the above criteria and pass an entrance exam into the course.

AP Chemistry


Juniors: 
Must have completed both Biology and Chemistry (one of which must be an honors course).
  • Overall science average - 87%
  • Chemistry teacher recommendation is required.
  • Department chair approval is required.
  • A student who has a strong desire to take AP Chemistry but who has not taken an honors course may apply for admittance (required application) as long as they have a 93% cumulative science average. The chemistry teacher and department chair will review the application and also apply the rubric used for placement into the honors science courses.     
Seniors: Must have completed both Biology and Chemistry and at least one honors or AP science course.

  • Overall science average - 87% 
  • Chemistry teacher recommendation is required.
  • Department chair approval is required.
  • A student who has a strong desire to take AP Chemistry but who has not taken an honors course may apply for admittance (required application) as long as they have a 93% cumulative science average. The chemistry teacher and department chair will review the application and also apply the rubric used for placement into the honors science courses.   
Transfer students: Students transferring to Wesleyan at the beginning of their junior or senior year must meet the above criteria and pass an entrance exam into the course.  

 

Math prerequisite for AP Chemistry:

  • Junior/Senior: completion of Algebra I, Algebra II, 7 Geometry. The student must be enrolled in either Honors Pre-Calculus or standard Pre-Calculus.
  • Overall math average of 85%.

AP Physics


Juniors: 
Must have completed both Biology and Chemistry (one of which must be an honors course).

  • Overall science average - 87%
  • Chemistry teacher recommendation is required.  
  • Math (Honors Algebra/Honors Geometry) teacher recommendation is required.
  • The student should be enrolled in Honors Pre-Calculus concurrently.
  • Department chair approval is required.  
  • A student who has a strong desire to take AP Physics but who has not taken an honors course may apply for admittance (required application) as long as they have a 93% cumulative science average. The physics teacher and department chair will review the application and also apply the rubric used for placement into the honors science courses.       
Seniors: Must have completed both Biology and Chemistry and at least one honors or AP science course.

  • Overall science average - 87% 
  • Chemistry teacher recommendation is required.
  • Math (Honors Pre-Calculus) teacher recommendation is required. 
  • Department chair approval is required.  
  • A student who has a strong desire to take AP Physics but who has not taken an honors course may apply for admittance (required application) as long as they have a 93% cumulative science average. The physics teacher and department chair will review the application and also apply the rubric used for placement into the honors science courses.   
Transfer students: Students transferring to Wesleyan at the beginning of their junior or senior year must meet the above criteria and pass an entrance exam into the course.  

 

Math prerequisite for AP Physics:

  • Junior/Senior: The student must be enrolled in or completed Honors Pre-Calculus with an average of 87%. 
  • Overall math average of 87%.