Morristown-Beard Upper School Curriculum

Course Search 2019-2020

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Upper School Science Curriculum

The science faculty believes that science education should prepare students for a future that includes college, career, civic responsibility, and global guardianship. It is our goal to provide our students with the science background they will need to tackle the rigors of science courses in college; to develop a work ethic that will serve them well in the workspace; to learn to think critically and to analyze data in such a way that they will make responsible, informed decisions as young adults; and to develop an awareness that they are world citizens responsible for making decisions regarding natural resources, climate change, energy production, industry, and medical innovations, including advances in genetic technologies. implications.

The science curriculum includes a three-year sequence of courses designed to introduce students to the broad, basic areas and elements of science. They are offered in different, equally rigorous versions in order to enhance opportunities for student success (see course descriptions below). In addition to the core subjects of physics, chemistry and biology, qualified students may also take Environmental Science, science electives, and/or Advanced Placement courses.

Foundational Courses (see full course descriptions below)

Physics
Physics is the first of three lab science courses. The course helps to orient students toward all further study in the natural sciences. Mathematics required for the course will be taught in coordination with mathematics faculty as a way of helping students attain an understanding of the relation between math and science.

Chemistry
There are two entry-level chemistry courses, which most students will take in Grade 10: Chemistry and Quantitative Chemistry. Both courses involve math, but, Quantitative Chemistry is more reliant on the mathematical aspects of chemistry. Students in either chemistry course can earn honors based upon the quality of the work produced during the year (see "earned Honors" description below).

Biology
Biology, taken by most students in Grade 11, completes the three-year foundational sequence. As with Chemistry, students can take either of two courses: Biology or Experimental Biology. Both courses involve lab work, but Experimental Biology is more reliant on the design, construction and execution of lab experiments. As with Physics and Chemistry, Biology follows the Earned Honors model.

Earned Honors in Foundational Courses
Students in Physics (ninth grade), Chemistry or Biology may work to achieve Honors credit for the course by meeting a set of clearly defined criteria; click here for a full description of the process.


Physics

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites:

Required

Open to students in the following grades: 9

Full Year Course

This investigation-based course introduces basic physics concepts and give a foundation for further science courses. The major goals are to develop physical intuition, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills. Activities, demonstrations, laboratory experiences, and projects are integral parts of the course, helping students develop skills in organization, observation, data collection, reporting, and analysis. Topics include straight-line motion, projectile and circular motion, work and energy, waves, sound, light and color, and electricity and magnetism, along with possible special topics.

Chemistry

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites:

Required

Open to students in the following grades: 9, 10, 11

Full Year Course

Chemistry and Quantitative Chemistry introduce students to the fundamental ideas of chemistry—atomic theory, the Periodic Table, chemical equations, classes of reactions, and chemical calculations. Experiments and problems requiring independent decision-making are integral to the course. Quantitative Chemistry addresses this material with a greater emphasis on the mathematical aspects of chemistry.

Quantitative Chemistry

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites:

Open to students in the following grades: 10

Full Year Course

See description above.

Biology

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: required

Required

Open to students in the following grades: 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

This course touches on all areas of life sciences, from molecular interactions to interactions between organisms and the environment. Labs are a regular and important part of the course integrating the use of common tools and techniques, both classical (microscope) and modern (electronic), allowing students to study the form and function of living things. Lab work fosters critical thinking and problem solving.

Experimental Biology

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites:

Open to students in the following grades: 10, 11, 12

Full Year Course

Experimental Biology covers the same areas of knowledge as Biology, but places greater emphasis on the design, execution and interpretation of lab experiments, applying and synthesizing lab data and course concepts.

Advanced Courses and Full-Year Electives

Note on Advanced Placement and Advanced Studies courses: Traditional AP as well as faculty-designed Advanced Studies courses are equivalent in rigor and commitment to a course usually taken during the first year of college. Students may be expected to complete pre-course summer work, and should expect additional time commitments throughout the year. All AP students are required to take the Advanced Placement exam in May; no standardized test is required of Advanced Studies courses. Enrollment in all Advanced courses requires permission of the department chair.

Advanced Studies: Organic Chemistry

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Chemistry or Quantitative Chemistry and permission of instructor

Open to students in the following grades: 11, 12

Full Year Course

Organic chemistry, the study of carbon-based compounds, is one of the most important branches of chemistry, if not of all science. This importance is not surprising, given that 95% of all known molecules use carbon as their primary building block. Organic chemistry forms a basis for a deep conceptual understanding of the nature of the materials that comprise our world, including us as a carbon-based life form. In this year-long advanced course, students will study the structural details of prominent organic functional group classes and examine how spectroscopic methods can be used to elucidate molecular structure. Students will also explore the common chemical reactions of each functional group, closely analyze the step-by-step mechanisms of chemical transformation, and engage in retro-synthetic analysis to devise methods for preparing compounds of practical interest.

Advanced Placement Courses

AP Biology

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Chemistry, Honors Biology

Not required

Open to students in the following grades: 11, 12

Full Year Course

AP Biology is designed to be the equivalent of the general biology course usually taken during the first year of college. It covers the major topics of classification, evolution, genetics, cytology, molecular biology, biochemistry, ecology, cell physiology and plant and animal structure, developmental biology and physiology. Major experiments in genetics, cell and molecular biology, and animal and plant physiology are done throughout the year. This is a very demanding course, where students must have the ability and motivation to work independently.

AP Chemistry

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Algebra I, Advanced Algebra, Chemistry with Honors

Not required

Open to students in the following grades: 11, 12

Full Year Course

AP Chemistry is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first year of college. Students with strong problem-solving skills who have mastered the topics from their first year Chemistry may enroll. Students must be capable of independent learning and laboratory work. Structure and states of matter, reactions, and descriptive chemistry will be studied in depth. Laboratory experiments, often using data-collection devices and computer software, are integral parts of the course.

AP Physics C Mechanics/Electricity and Magnetism

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Physics Nine with Honors, completion of AP Calculus (A/B or B/C)

Not required

Open to students in the following grades: 12, as well as exceptional students in grade 11

Full Year Course

AP Physics is designed to be the equivalent of a calculus-based general physics course usually taken during the first year of college by science and engineering students. Students will be pursuing the Advanced Placement "C" (calculus-based) curriculum for mechanics (first semester) and electricity and magnetism (second semester). A review of ninth-grade physics is strongly recommended, as this background will be assumed. Laboratory experiments are an integral part of the course.

Science and Stewardship

Environmental Science

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Physics, Chemistry

Open to students in the following grades: 11, 12

Full Year Course

One of the most pressing challenges facing human society is the response to global climate change. The policy and political decisions required in this response depend intimately on our understanding of complex physical processes and systems. In this course we will investigate the interactions between human society and the Earth System with a special emphasis on global climate change as presented in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released by the United Nations. The focus of the course will be on case studies involving the formulation of policies in response to various pressures and threats that arise between societal and natural systems. Examples are: climate change and energy policy; the flooding of New Orleans and the implications for land use policy; volcanic and earth quake hazards and disaster response preparations; wild fires and the spread of suburbia to ever more remote regions.

Environmental Science will employ the Earned Honors model as described above

Semester Electives

These electives are normally reserved for Seniors and Juniors. Not all electives are offered every year. Students are asked to check whether an elective they wish to take will be offered in a given year.

Anatomy and Physiology (H)

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry; permission of instructor

Open to students in the following grades: 11, 12

Offered in the Fall and in the Spring

This Honors-level course includes coverage of medical terminology, basic biochemistry, cell and tissue structure and the 11 systems of the human body (integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, lymphatic, digestive, respiratory, urinary and reproductive). This course is recommended for students interested in a profession such as medicine, nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy, physical education or public health. Laboratory activities will include microscopic analysis of tissue specimens as well as several dissections to accompany the subject matter.

Advanced Physics (H)

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Physics and Advanced Algebra

Open to students in the following grades: 11, 12

Offered in the Fall and in the Spring

Students who have taken ninth-grade physics may pursue an additional, more in-depth study of physics in this honors-level course. Fall semester topics may include measurement, linear mechanics, rotational mechanics, digital logic, philosophy of science and scientific revolutions, and relativity. Spring semester topics may include electricity, magnetism, optics, engineering ethics and the impact of science on society, and modern physics. There is an emphasis on making connections to other disciplines (including some engineering-related material, for example) as well as connections outside science. The course consists of two semester classes, each at the honors level, which may be taken separately. Both semesters include laboratory work.

Forensic Science

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Chemistry and Biology, which may be taken concurrently

Open to students in the following grades: 12

Spring Semester

This course is for students interested in experiencing the thrills and tribulations of detective work. It will touch on all the different aspects of forensic science, starting with the laws that regulate it, followed by an overview of the types of evidence and the procedures carried out at a crime scene. Students will gather data with laboratory work and exercises, and employ critical thinking to determine "Who committed the crime?" and "How did they do it?" The emphasis of this course will be on problem solving and the use of scientific methods to solve a crime. Concepts from chemistry, zoology, anatomy, genetics, physics, medicine, mathematics and statistics, sociology, psychology, communication, and law will be included.

Genetics and Biotechnology (H)

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites: Biology or Experimental Biology

Not required

Open to students in the following grades: 11, 12

Fall Semester

The science of genetics is poised to take on an incredibly important role in future advancements in health, medicine, agriculture, and the environment. The aim of this Honors level course is to provide students with an overview of genetics and to allow them to learn and apply some of the basic laboratory techniques that are an essential part of this field. How do we know that DNA is the genetic material? What is the genome? How are genes expressed and regulated? How do genes mutate and how are they transmitted to the progeny? What is the societal impact of the science of genetics? The biotechnologies that have been developed as a consequence of this knowledge, such as cloning, genetic engineering, stem-cell research, DNA fingerprinting, genetic testing, in-vitro fertilization, DNA sequencing and amplification will be explored both in theory and with laboratory work. Emphasis will be given to hands-on investigations and experimentation, and students should be prepared to be actively involved in collecting data, making inferences, and performing in-depth quantitative analysis.

Sports Medicine (also listed under Wellness)

Instructor: Department Staff

Prerequisites:

Open to students in the following grades: 11, 12

Fall Semester

This course is designed for juniors and seniors who want to pursue a career in sports medicine or for students who have a general interest in the field of sports medicine. Topics such as basic anatomy, physiology, etiology of athletic injuries, treatment and rehabilitation options will be studied.