Search

Science Program & Faculty

Science, like art, involves process. The main goal of the school program is to develop the critical thinking skills needed to evaluate observations and form logical conclusions based on empirical evidence. Our curriculum focuses on experimentation and problem-solving over memorizing science facts. Courses emphasize both a hands-on and a minds-on approach to learning that applies to more than just science.

Requirements in Science

All students are required to take at least two years of laboratory science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Biology II, or Chemistry II), though it is recommended that students take a lab science each year, for a total of four high school science credits.

The typical sequence in science at Walnut Hill is Biology in 9th grade, Chemistry in 10th grade, Physics in 11th grade, and a science elective in 12th grade.

Courses in Science

BIOLOGY

Biology is an introductory lab science course exploring life and living systems. Students are encouraged to think and act scientifically as they strengthen and expand their knowledge of the natural world through their inquiries. Students study basic properties of organisms, populations and ecosystems through observation. Students improve their lab skills through investigations using lab equipment. They develop critical thinking skills when analyzing data.

This course is in the standard sequence for 9th graders. Prerequisite for International students: Completion of ELL Intermediate.

CHEMISTRY

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.

This course is in the standard science sequence and most often taken in grade 10. Prerequisite: Completion of Math 1 and completion or concurrent enrollment in Math 2 is recommended.

PHYSICS

This course introduces fundamental concepts in physics while developing in students the reasoning skills required to apply these concepts. 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).

This course is in the standard science sequence and most often taken in grade 11. Prerequisite: The concurrent enrollment or prior completion of Math 2.

CHEMISTRY 2 (SCIENCE ELECTIVE)

Chemistry 2 offers 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. The development and execution of experiments is central to the work of the course as is the composition of comprehensive laboratory reports.

Prerequisites: Completion of Chemistry and Math 2. It is recommended that students complete the standard sequence in science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) before electing this class.

BIOLOGY 2: ANATOMY (SCIENCE ELECTIVE)

In Anatomy, students study the human body through topics of anthropology, levels of structures, neurology, organ systems, human behavior, and the anatomy of art, all while thinking about the how and why the body is the way it is. This happens through a combination of project-based learning, class discussions, and laboratory work. Students gain and expand on their scientific research ability, analytical thinking, dissection skills, collaboration, scientific paper-writing, and effective communication.

Prerequisites: Completion of Biology and Chemistry. It is recommended that students complete the standard sequence in science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)before electing this class.

BIOLOGY 2: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE (SCIENCE ELECTIVE)

Environmental Science draws on students’ prior knowledge of biology and chemistry to build a refined understanding of the Earth and its systems including the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Additional topics include ecology, energy, cycles, natural resources, global change, and our environmental future. The course links key social, political, and policy issues to the science that informs them. 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. It is recommended that students complete the standard sequence in science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) before electing this class.

BIOLOGY 2: FOOD SCIENCE (SCIENCE ELECTIVE)

In Food Science, the goal is to learn the entire food cycle from its development to its terminal state. The class elaborates on the processes and resources required to feed the world from a commercial level to backyard gardens. Students explore topics of agriculture, agro-business, commercial food production, retail and marketing, ecology, environmental science, food chemistry, gastronomy, nutrition, and gardening. This happens through a combination of project-based learning, class discussions, and laboratory work. Students gain and expand on their scientific research ability, analytical thinking, hands-on skills, collaboration, scientific paper-writing, and effective communication.

Prerequisites: Completion of Biology and Chemistry. It is recommended that students complete the standard sequence in science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) before electing this class.

Science Faculty

Thomas Keenan

Thomas Keenan

Head of the Math & Science Dept., New Cottage Dorm Head
Randie Brisson

Randie Brisson

Science Faculty
Kathy Liu

Kathy Liu

Science Teacher
Nicholas Zanussi

Nicholas Zanussi

Fitness Center Coordinator, Fitness Center Coordinator