Science

COVID-19 and Remote Learning Information

Due to Covid-19 circumstances, most of a student’s course loads are divided between two semesters. During one semester, a course covers the equivalent of curriculum from a full fall term and a full spring term for a total of one year of instruction. 

A student receives 2.0 credits per course (equivalent to 1 year of instruction.)

 

By offering our courses on a semester basis, we are supporting deeper and more focused learning. We offer more personalized support, without sacrificing time allotted to the course. AP courses have the equivalent of twice the amount of time to engage in the content and skills compared to years past. 

 

When college admission representatives review a student’s transcript, they review it holistically and with attention to student progress from year to year. Colleges review the courses a student takes in the fall as well as the spring semester of their senior year. 

 

Alyssa Collins, Assistant Principal
 
The goal of the Science Department is to insure that our graduates are scientifically literate and prepared to face the important societal decisions that will await them. Critical thinking and writing are stressed across the curriculum, and technology is used to enhance the learning process. We offer our students a solid foundation in the Sciences and hope to create in them a desire to delve further into these subjects. Each of our students has the opportunity to study Biology, Earth Science, Chemistry and Physics. Introductory courses are complemented by Astronomy, Organic Chemistry, Advanced Placement Biology, Advanced Placement Chemistry, Advanced Placement Environmental Science, Advanced Placement Physics and Advanced Placement Psychology.
 
 
We encourage and support a wide array of extra-curricular Science activities. Our students participate in the NYC Metropolitan and New York State Science Olympiad, Brain Bee Competition, Columbia Science Honors Program and AMNH Research Program.
Sequencing (Flow of Science Courses)

Placement in most courses is dependent upon a student’s math and science level. In addition, it is recommended that a student take calculus concurrently with physics. Ninth grade students are programmed for The Living Environment: Biology, unless they have passed the Regents examination, in which case they will be programmed for either Earth Science or Chemistry, depending on the student’s math level.Sample Science Sequencing

Grade 9 Living Environment: Biology or Earth Science
Grade 10 Chemistry or Earth Science
Grade 11 Physics, AP Phyics 1, AP Chemistry,AP Biology or AP Psychology
Grade 12 AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics 1,AP Environmental or AP Psychology

Grading Policy

Category Percent
Homework 15%
Exams 50% (Fall) 1st semester final / (Spring) Regents grade – 10%
Classwork 25%
Labs 15%
Other Classwork 10%

Science Labs

It can be confusing to understand how science labs are tracked in PupilPath and reported on transcripts. The Science Department has put together some helpful explanations to hopefully ease some of the confusion.

Science Labs in Pupil Path:

Generally, students will have 14 – 15 labs per semester in a Regents science course. The number of labs reported in PupilPath refers to the number of labs your child has completed as of the date recorded in Skedula.

While the number of labs show as failing grade in PupilPath, please know that this does not mean your child is failing the lab portion of the course. We are unable to change how PupilPath interprets this number.

Typically, a student must have 13 labs at the semester to be on track, and 27 labs in June to meet the lab requirement.

Labs are not recorded in Skedula for AP classes.

Science Labs on your Child’s Transcript:

On the official transcript (not PupilPath,) Lab grades show as numeric grades that are not averaged into a student’s GPA.

Large schools — like ours — use a numeric lab grade to ensure that the student has enough labs to be eligible to sit for the appropriate Science Regents Exam. We’ve tried other methods of record keeping, but this seems to be the best of all options.

Colleges want to see that there is a lab attached to the course, and they are not worried by the number shown — generally, the same Admissions Representative reads an entire area (like New York City/New York State) and so they are familiar with the various ways schools track labs.

If your child is a lower classman and needs a transcript for a program they are applying, an official transcript should be requested to ensure that the lab grades appear as a numerical grade and not a failing grade.

Science Labs Make Ups

There are specific lab requirements, both in content and in required number of minutes. If a student misses a lab, the student is expected to make up the lab according to the Make Up Schedule.

All labs begin at 4:15 PM, sharp.
Only 1 lab can be made up per session.
Living Environment Lab Room 545 Chemistry Lab Room 525
Earth Science & Physics Lab Room 515

Course Offerings

Regents Courses

All science courses – which are described below — culminate in a Regents Examination; students enrolled in Regents courses must take the examination. According to the State Education Department regulations, all students must successfully complete the laboratory component of the course in order to be admitted to the examination. In order to satisfy this requirement each student must:

    • Complete at least 30 full laboratory periods (1200 minutes).
    • Complete and have on file a satisfactory written report for each laboratory experience.
    • Demonstrate proficiency in laboratory skills.

Students must satisfactorily complete and submit a report for a minimum of 15 full laboratory periods (600 minutes) per term to receive credit for a Regents course.

The Living Environment: Biology – In this required course, the following topics will be covered: measurement, scientific method, research design, microscopy, organization and classification, molecular biology, animal and plant maintenance, homeostasis, disease and immunity, genetic inheritance, mitosis and meiosis, protein synthesis, genetic engineering, human reproductive systems, evolution, and ecology. In addition, there will be several special field and research reports.

Earth Science – The following topics will be covered: earth dimensions, celestial motion, interaction between matter and energy, heat and gravity, interpreting and constructing maps (contour and profile) plate tectonics, age of the earth, origin of the solar system, seasons and insulation, weathering and erosion, minerals and rocks, landscapes, climate, and meteorology.

Chemistry – The following topics will be covered: the interaction between matter and energy, atomic structure, bonding, periodic trends, stoichiometry, solutions, kinetics and equilibrium, organic chemistry, nuclear energy, acid-base chemistry, and redox reactions.

Physics – The following topics will be covered: forms of energy, interaction between energy and matter resulting in change of motion, light, electricity, sound, magnetism, predicting velocities based on energy conservation.

Advanced Placement Courses

Biology, Advanced Placement – This college-level course is an in-depth study of all major areas of Biology with an emphasis on molecular mechanics, geared to the preparation for the AP exam. The course is taught through lecture, active classroom discussion, and laboratory projects. Students are tested on each unit and are graded on outlines they prepare of major topic areas. The student must read and master the material in a college-level text and review book that is required as outside reading. Students perform dissections and other laboratory exercises. Pre-requisite: Living Environment, Chemistry and Algebra 2 and Trigonometry. This is a double-period class that meets every day. Students must commit to completing the entire year and taking the AP examination.

Chemistry, Advanced Placement – The college-level course encompasses stoichiometry, matter, atomic structure, bonding, solution chemistry, periodicity, kinetics, equilibrium, acids and bases, redox, and electrochemistry. Students must be highly motivated and expect to engage in recitation and laboratory lessons. This course also includes frequent class exams, midterm, final exam, class participation and comprehensive laboratory reports. Pre-requisite: Regents Chemistry and Algebra 2 and Trigonometry. This is a one-year course that meets for a double period daily. Students must commit to completing the entire year and taking the AP examination.

Environmental Science, Advanced Placement – The goal of the AP Environmental Science course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them. This course is interdisciplinary. A wide variety of topics from different areas are covered. Field trips, field studies and lab work are included. Students must commit to completing the entire year and taking the AP examination.

Physics 1, Advanced Placement – AP Physics 1 is an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course that explores topics such as Newtonian mechanics (including rotational motion); work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sound; and introductory, simple circuits. Through inquiry based learning, students will develop scientific critical thinking and reasoning skills.

Psychology, Advanced Placement – The AP Psychology course is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology. They also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice.

Elective Courses

Astronomy – Astronomy is a full-year elective course for Seniors which introduces students to the history, methods, and current advances in the field of astronomy. Astronomy is an interdisciplinary science, including elements of physics, chemistry, earth science, and biology. Topics covered include: archaeastronomy, Geocentric and Heliocentric models of the solar system, Keplerian and Galiliean astronomy, gravity (Newtonian, special and general relativity), the origin and history of the universe, stellar formation and evolution, cosmology, and astrobiology. This course is open to Seniors only. This credit bearing elective course does not fulfill the NYS graduation requirement.

Organic Chemistry – Organic Chemistry is designed for those students who have completed Regents Chemistry and possess a basic understanding of chemical principles. This course provides a good introduction to Organic Chemistry. It is an excellent foundation course for advanced biology and chemistry courses and is geared to those students who are planning to be chemistry, pharmacy or pre-med majors in college. The first term of Organic Chemistry is devoted to the study of hydrocarbon compounds. The primary emphasis of the course will be on the nomenclature, properties, and reaction mechanisms of alkanes and alkenes. The second term of Organic Chemistry focuses on Aromaticity, Electrophilic and Nucleophilic reactions and their mechanisms. Stereoisomerism will be covered in depth. If time allows we will study Spectrophotometry. This course meets the College and Career Readiness standards and receives CUNY credit.

Pre-Requisites: Regents Biology and Chemistry; Physics may be taken as a co-requisite. Students who have completed Biology then Physics must have an overall average of 80 or greater. Students who will be taking this course concurrently with Physics must have received a grade of 90% or greater in Chemistry I and have an average of 80% or greater. Restrictions: This course is currently open only to Seniors.