Science Program & Faculty
Science, like art, involves process. Our courses emphasize both a hands-on and a minds-on approach to learning that applies to more than just science. Students practice skills necessary for success: observing, problem solving, and working cooperatively. They become more familiar with the natural world and aware of their role in it. Having a basic background in science also helps students be more informed consumers of current environmental, medical, and scientific news. Scientific literacy is important in an increasingly complex and technological world.
Requirements in Science
All students are required to take two years of a laboratory science (Biology, Chemistry or Accelerated Chemistry, Physics, Biology II, or Chemistry II). It is highly recommended that students enroll in courses from at least two different disciplines. It is also recommended that students take a lab science each year, for a total of at least three science credits.
Courses in Science
Biology is an introductory lab science course exploring life and living systems. Although the course may be organized into discrete units of study such as cell biology, genetics, evolution, energy, and ecology, the overall goal of the course is to impart upon students an appreciation for the techniques and methods scientists use to observe and describe the natural world.
Prerequisite for International students: Completion of ELL Intermediate
This science course offers students a basic introduction to the study of matter. Major topics covered include the classification of matter, atomic structure, bonding, and chemical reactions. Chemistry students will perform approximately 30 laboratory experiments during the semester. They will also have the opportunity to collect and analyze the data for at least one experiment they design and implement.
Prerequisite: Completion of Algebra 1
Recommendation: Completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2A
Accelerated Chemistry moves at a faster pace and uses a more mathematical approach than the traditional Chemistry course offered at Walnut Hill. Topics studied include matter and energy, atomic structure, bonding, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, and solutions. Students in this course will complete over 30 laboratory experiments. They will also have the opportunity to design, run, and collect and analyze the data for at least two open-ended experiments.
Prerequisite: Completion of Algebra 2A. It is recommended that students are comfortable with numerical calculations.
In Physics, students are introduced to fundamental physical concepts while facilitating development of reasoning skills required to apply these concepts. Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on “discovering” the laws of physics using a hands-on approach. Physics will also introduce various forms of science writing, and enrolled students should feel comfortable composing a lab report. Course materials may cover the basics of Newtonian mechanics, work, energy, electricity and magnetism, and wave phenomena (including sound and light).
Prerequisite: The concurrent enrollment or prior completion of Algebra 2A. It is recommended that students are comfortable with numerical calculations.
BIOLOGY II: ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY (SCIENCE ELECTIVE)
This elective expands the student’s knowledge and appreciation of the natural world through targeted focus on the human body. Using the scientific method, lab activities, and dissection, we cover the structure and function of major systems of the body. In addition to a college-level approach to traditional topics, students research and discuss current medical topics, disease processes, and disorders.
Prerequisites: Completion of Biology and Chemistry. This course is open to seniors and juniors by permission of the department.
BIOLOGY II: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE (SCIENCE ELECTIVE)
Environmental Science draws on students’ prior knowledge of biology and chemistry to build a more refined understanding of the world. Students will study the Earth and its systems including the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere, then focus on ecology, energy, cycles, natural resources, global change, and our environmental future to finish the semester. The course links scientific investigations of environmental processes to the social and political issues that depend upon gathering quality evidence to support public policies. Students will be expected to perform labs, write papers, present projects, and read articles for this class, as well as journal, collaborate, and discuss environmental issues.
Prerequisites: Completion of Biology and Chemistry.
CHEMISTRY II (SCIENCE ELECTIVE)
The goal of Chemistry II is to offer students the opportunity for further study in Chemistry, beyond what is typically covered in the first-year course. Students in this class will explore topics from both a mathematical and a theoretical approach. Students will have multiple opportunities to perform experiments and will learn how to produce a comprehensive laboratory report.
Prerequisites: Completion of Chemistry or Accelerated Chemistry and Algebra 2B. It is recommended that students are comfortable with numerical calculations. This course is open to seniors and juniors by permission of the department.
FOOD SCIENCE: LAB TO LANDFILL (SCIENCE ELECTIVE)
In Food Science, students explore the entire food cycle from the creation of food to its terminal state, building an understanding of how we perceive and interact with food as well as how it interacts with our bodies. The overall goal of the course is to empower students to be informed food consumers in both senses of the word - as buyers and as eaters.
This course is open to seniors and juniors by permission of the department.
SCIENCE SCIENCE REVOLUTION: DARWIN TO DESIGNER GENES (SCIENCE AND HISTORY ELECTIVE)
This year-long course lives at the intersection of science and history, and is often times a history of science. The course is organized into chronological units spanning the 1800s to the present day. Themes include how we have historically interacted with the natural world, who has and who has not been included in the study and stories of science, and how science has changed our environmental, social, political, and economic contexts over time. In studying well-worn narratives about who and how science has been conducted, we hope to move past these and illuminate and elevate the voices and ideas that have often been left by the wayside. Students will come to understand that these issues are not just ones of the past, but instead continue to influence our existence today. The texts we use to explore these topics will be varied and the assignments will encompass the norms of both a history and science class (i.e. papers, lab reports etc).
The class will provide two credits, one in history and one in science. This course is open to seniors and juniors by permission of the department.