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Curriculum » Science


Earth Science Grade Level 8

Prerequisite(s): None

Description: Earth Science studies geological history, landforms around the globe, the nature of the sea and air, and the newest discoveries about our universe. The course gives students an opportunity to relate to their everyday world through the study of topics such as: fundamentals of geology, oceanography, meteorology, and astronomy; Earth’s minerals and rocks; Earth’s interior; plate tectonics; earthquakes; volcanoes; the movements of continents; geology and the fossil record; oceans and the atmosphere; and the solar system and universe.

Physical Science Grade Level 9

Prerequisite(s): 8th grade Science or Earth Science

Description: This course offers an introduction to chemistry and physics. By the end of the course, the student will be able to: measure physical properties of matter; use the metric system; name and write chemical symbols and formulas; identify subatomic particles; classify elements; draw Bohr models; balance chemical equations; differentiate between mass and weight, speed and velocity; demonstrate Newton’s three laws of motion; and describe motion.

Biology Grade Level 10

Prerequisite(s): Physical Science and Earth Science or 8th Grade Science

Description: Biology is an introduction to the different levels and organization of life. In this course, students will study concepts such as: cell function and organization; cell reproduction and genetics; evolution & natural selection; characteristics of the six kingdoms of life; flow of matter & energy through ecosystems; the human body; and organism behavior.

Chemistry Grade Level 11

Prerequisite(s): Physical Science, Biology, Algebra 1, Geometry

Description: In this course, the student will study substances, their structure, composition, properties, and transformations. Course topics include: Modern Atomic Theory, chemical bonding, classification of chemical reactions, stoichiometry, solution chemistry, the gas laws, and enthalpy. The laboratory component emphasizes techniques and experiments to illustrate and reinforce the concepts discussed in the classroom. Chemistry is recommended to all college-prep students as an introduction to a college-level format and to enhance higher order thinking skills with emphasis on reading comprehension and mathematics application.

Chemistry Grade Level 12

Prerequisite(s): Physical Science, Biology, Algebra 1, Geometry

The course includes the study of force, motion, work, energy, machines, fluids, magnetism, electricity, electronics, radiation, sound and light. This is a laboratory-based course, which will deal with application of the natural laws and with problem solving. Honors Physics is a recommended pre-requisite for any student needing to schedule physics in college. Physics is also recommended to all college-prep students as an introduction to a college-level format and to enhance higher order thinking skills with emphasis on reading comprehension and mathematics application. Students must have completed or be enrolled in Pre-Calculus.

Environmental Science Grade Level 12

Prerequisite(s): Physical Science, Biology and Chemistry

Description: In this course students build environmental awareness while learning protection strategies by studying ecological systems and their interactions, management of the earth's resources and how personal choices and responsible actions impact the environment. The course focuses on conservation and protection of natural resources, environmental education and communication, and research.

With the ever-increasing need for innovators, problem finders, and designers of materials, pharmaceuticals, and even new fuels, comes the need for individuals skilled in the science practices and knowledgeable about chemistry. The AP Chemistry course provides students with training for such knowledge and skills through guided inquiry labs, a focused curriculum on content relevant to today's problems, and an exam that assesses students' mental models of the particulate nature of matter instead of memorization of rules to understand chemistry.

AP Chemistry and College Credit or Placement

The AP Chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first college year. The goal is that students will take the AP Exam to receive college credit or placement at the student’s college of choice. Students may be able to undertake second-year work in the chemistry sequence at their institution or take courses for which general chemistry is a prerequisite. For other students, this course fulfills the laboratory science requirement and frees time for other courses.

Lab Notebooks and College Credit

Colleges may require students to present their laboratory materials from AP science courses before granting college credit for laboratory, so students are encouraged to retain their laboratory notebooks, reports, and other materials.

Big Ideas and Science Practices

The course centers around six big ideas and seven science practices:

Big Ideas Science Practices
1. Structure of Matter 1. Drawing, explaining, and interpreting representations
2. Bonding and Intermolecular Forces 2. Using mathematics and logical routines appropriately
3. Chemical Reactions 3. Asking and refining scientific questions
4. Kinetics 4. Designing and implementing data collection strategies
5. Thermodynamics 5. Analyzing and evaluating data
6. Chemical Equilibrium 6. Making predictions and justifying claims with evidence
  7. Connecting chemistry concepts across the big ideas.

Students who take the AP Chemistry course, designed with this curriculum framework as its foundation will develop a deep understanding of the concepts within the big ideas through the application of the science practices in the required laboratory component of the course. Students must complete a minimum of 16, hands-on lab investigations to support the learning objectives in the curriculum framework. At least six of the lab investigations must be guided inquiry-based labs. The result will be readiness for the study of advanced topics in subsequent college courses — a goal of every AP course.

Read more about the AP Chemistry course