This introductory course uses a conceptual framework to study fundamental biological principles as well as the methods and techniques used to explore them. Major topics covered include evolution, biological diversity, homeostasis, cell biology, reproduction, heredity and DNA structure/function. Teachers emphasize an inquiry-based approach and small group learning practices. Biology counts as a biological science.
Introductory Physics - Mechanics [project based introductory physics] emphasizes the conceptual and mathematical aspects of one of humankind's most ambitious and beautiful endeavors. In doing so, this course explores the laws and principles underlying some of Nature's most closely guarded secrets. Topics studied include kinematics, Newton's Laws, momentum, energy, rotational motion, gravitation, astronomy, and projectile and satellite motion. One of the primary vehicles Introductory Physics Mechanics uses to facilitate its process of exploration and discovery are four major quarter-long projects: The Toothpick Bridge Project, The Sun Study Project, The Mousetrap Displacement Project, and The Mousetrap Speed Project.
Introductory Physics - Classical [math based introductory physics] is a lab-based introduction to physics with an emphasis on mathematical models. Using a series of fundamental labs, students establish the foundation of motion and forces. From there the principles of energy, momentum, projectiles, circular motion, and gravitation are explored in the first semester. In the second semester, students study electric forces and fields, basic DC circuits, magnetism, and optics. The course concludes with a self- directed student research project. In order to accommodate the breadth of topics to be covered, the class will move at a rapid pace and it is critical that students have both a strong interest in science and a strong mathematical background.
Chemistry is a course designed to cover the basic topics of introductory inorganic chemistry. Students will work cooperatively to design and implement experiments, analyze results, and communicate
findings. Throughout the course, a series of particle models of increasing complexity will be utilized to answer questions about how we view matter, how it behaves, and how energy is involved in the changes matter undergoes. The first semester focuses on the particle nature of matter, kinetic theory, and phases of matter. In the second semester, students learn about ways to describe matter, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, atomic structure, and chemical bonding. Lab work and problem-solving are integral components of the course.
Chemistry Honors covers many of the same topics as Chemistry but in greater depth. Special emphasis is placed on a rigorous mathematical examination of chemical principles. The first semester focuses on basic concepts of chemistry including the particle nature of chemistry, kinetic theory of particles, energy transfer between particles, and how particles combine to form different phases of matter. The second semester opens with chemical reactions, atomic structure, chemical bonding and molecular geometry. Applications of chemical concepts including stoichiometry, the quantitative nature of chemical equations, reaction kinetics, equilibrium, and acid-base chemistry will also be introduced. Throughout the year the course makes extensive use of laboratory investigations to develop the relationships between experiment and theory. There is a heavy emphasis on scientific writing.
This laboratory based course focuses on human anatomy and physiology. Emphasis is placed on the structure, function, and physiology of major body systems (skeletal, muscular, digestive, circulatory, respiratory, nervous, immune, endocrine, reproductive, and excretory) as well as behavior. Invertebrate and vertebrate animal models are used to demonstrate the complex mechanisms of the human body. These topics are coordinated with laboratory investigations including a strong emphasis on dissection, field trips, case studies, and special projects.
This course covers principles of geology and planetary geology. Geologic topics include the theory of plate tectonics and its utility in the explanation of earth’s crustal evolution. Topics covered in the course include volcanism and seismic activity, paleontology and paleogeology, geochemistry, and mineralogy. These topics will then be practically applied in a study of the geology of the Triangle area. Students will also learn of the origin, composition and structure of our solar system with an emphasis on the current exploration of Mars. The year culminates with the development of a “real science” project done within the guidelines of the Mars Student Imaging Project overseen by the Space Science Department at Arizona State University.
This course covers the first year college curriculum and prepares students to take the CEEB AP Biology exam. Emphasis is on developing the conceptual framework, knowledge, and analytical skills necessary to understand, and participate in, the modern field of biology. The curriculum includes the study of molecular, cellular, organismal, ecological, and evolutionary biology, presented in a variety of formats, including class discussions, readings, laboratory work, and lecture. Students interested in this course should be successful independent learners with a strong interest in the field of biology.
This course covers the standard first year college chemistry curriculum and prepares students for the CEEB AP Chemistry examination. The syllabus includes a more sophisticated treatment of many of the topics studied in Chemistry Honors. Additional topics include thermodynamics, advanced molecular geometry, molecular orbital theory, quantitative kinetics, buffers, weak acid and polyprotic acid titrations, and electrochemistry. The laboratory program emphasizes experiments of longer duration, greater student independence, and the use of more sophisticated scientific instrumentation.
The equivalent of a one-semester college level course, AP Environmental Science is designed to equip students with the scientific knowledge and methodology required to understand interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and artificial, to assess the risk associated with these problems, and to examine the feasibilities for alternative environmental remediation. The course is interdisciplinary and students’ prior knowledge of earth, biological and physical science will be combined with elements of economic theory and political science. All students will be expected to take the AP Environmental examination in May.
AP Physics is a calculus based, conceptually and mathematically in-depth follow-up to both Physics 1 courses. The emphasis of this course is on developing the vast array of problem solving skills and abilities needed by learners who aspire to develop their character in areas such as empathy, kindness, integrity, responsibility, courage, curiosity, engagement, authenticity, joy, balance, creativity, drive, resilience, generosity, and last, but certainly not least...wisdom. This is accomplished through an in-depth study of mechanics. This course will also offer instruction in introductory principles of astronomy. Students will be prepared to take the AP Physics Level C Mechanics Examination.
Principles of Engineering introduces students to the National Academy of Engineers Grand Challenges of Engineering themes: health, security, sustainability, and the joy of living. Applying the engineering design process, students will have a project-based introduction to various fields of engineering including mechanical, biomedical, electrical, environmental, and civil engineering. Through collaborative and innovative design projects, students will become engineers as they apply knowledge and creativity to generate solutions to problems in order to help people in society.
From the seven plagues of Egypt to the emergence of super-bugs like HIV, Ebola, MRSA, and even tuberculosis, mankind has made war against the unseen. We will explore the history of disease, follow in the footsteps of public health providers as they hunt for the cause of epidemics and look for mechanisms to contain, cure and/or prevent their spread.
This course will center on the issues that confront individuals in making decisions involving life and
death. These issues will be studied from the perspective of ethics, law and biology. The course will begin by establishing the principles of moral ethics involving life, the value of life, quality of life, rights of individuals, and the good of society. Students will examine philosophical, legal and biological aspects of these life questions. These basic principles will serve as a foundation for analyzing case studies and understanding how judgments of ethics and law are made. Various online references, Supreme Court decisions and case studies will serve as resources for the course.
In Introduction to Robotics, students will be introduced to theoretical and practical engineering and programming skills while preparing for the challenge of interscholastic competition. Students study computer programming and principles of mechanical engineering, design artificial intelligence behaviors, and build basic robots.
In this course, we will cover the topics of electrostatics, electrical materials, electric circuits and electromagnetism. This will be a heavily mathematical course involving calculus and significant amounts of independent work and hands-on laboratory time. After completing this course, students will be prepared to take the AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism exam.
Forensics is truly a field that integrates all the scientific disciplines. This particular course will focus on the science of solving crimes through case studies (imagined or real) and transform our laboratory into a crime lab. You will survey topics such as ballistics, fingerprinting, DNA analysis, entomology (bugs!) and a variety of techniques used to identify unknown substances. Be prepared to read novels and watch shows such as Bones and CSI so that we can compare real life and fiction.
We are surrounded by plants; we are dependent on plants for the food we eat and the air we
breathe. However, high school curricula largely ignore these vital organisms, how they are structured, and how they function. We will delve into the macroscopic and microscopic world of plants and unveil the mysteries of growth, reproduction, and simple beauty of these critical organisms. The course will focus largely on laboratory and field work, in addition to mechanisms for propagation of these critical resources.
In Robotics II, students will build on concepts covered in Intro to Robotics and further apply new knowledge acquired of electrical materials, electric circuits, electromagnetism, computer science and mechanics. The aim of this course is to further students' application of skills and knowledge learned in physics, math, and computer science courses while gaining an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of engineering and technology as well as possible STEM career paths. Through collaborative group projects, students will continue to develop their skills of applying creativity and knowledge to develop more complex solutions to socially relevant problems.