Science

Living in a highly technological society requires that all students have some background in the sciences. Thus the major objectives of the Science Department are:
  • To create an interest in and help students understand a body of useful scientific knowledge of the organic and inorganic worlds.
  • To train the students in the scientific approach, critical thought, and the use of inductive and deductive reasoning to solve problems.
  • To give the student sufficient background in a specific science to continue study at a higher level.
  • To help the student prepare for SAT subject tests and Advanced Placement examinations in science.
  • To develop skills in scientific writing.

Science Courses

Physics

This first laboratory science course covers all the principle topics in Physics, with an emphasis on conceptual understanding as well as problem solving. Labs and demonstrations play a central role in the course, with much learning taking place through doing and discussion. Extensive use is made of technology. Computers are used routinely for data collection, data analysis, simulation exercises, research, and practice tests. Topics studied include mechanics, properties of matter, waves and optics, and electricity and magnetism. This course serves as a foundation for further study in all the sciences, including Chemistry and Biology.

Chemistry

Designed with the belief that science is best learned through first-hand experience and discussion with peers, this course uses a theme-based curriculum designed to ground the study of chemistry in the natural world and everyday life. Guided inquiry promotes scientific reasoning, critical thinking and a greater understanding of concepts. The course consists of six possible units – Alchemy, Smells, Weather, Toxins, Fire, Show Time – each organized around a specific body of chemistry content that students can relate to common life examples. The ultimate goal is to lead students to think like scientists and understand the nature of scientific discovery. The course promotes the development of the skills and scientific literacy that students need to become citizens who can make informed decisions about their health, the environment, energy use, nutrition and safety.

Biology

This course emphasizes an analytical approach to the study of Biology. Classes involve at least one lab per week and culminate with a year-end, independent investigation. Development of critical thinking and independent learning prepares students for college-level lab sciences. Major topics include ecology, cell biology, genetics (Mendelian and molecular), biotechnology, evolution, human physiology, and plant and animal classification.

AP Biology

This advanced placement course is designed for the student who wishes to specialize in Biology. It presupposes one year of Biology and one year of Chemistry. The course is equivalent to a first-year college course in Biology, and course materials used are college-level texts, laboratory manuals, and supplementary readings in periodicals and paperbacks. All students take the Advanced Placement examination which may lead to credit and/or advanced placement in college. The course is laboratory-oriented, with two periods of laboratory and four of recitation. Content includes the characteristics, variants and organization of life, metabolism, responsiveness and coordination, reproduction, evolution, and ecology. Some of the areas covered in the laboratory include work with the centrifuge and the living cell, enzymes and the biochemistry of living organisms, genetics and evolution, and biotechnology equipment for running polymerase chain reactions and electrophoresis.

AP Chemistry

This Advanced Placement course covers topics introduced in Honors Chemistry in greater depth, and is the equivalent of a first-year college Chemistry course. As such, students study college texts and laboratory experiments, and gain valuable preparation for any further science courses. All students take the Advanced Placement Chemistry Examination, which may lead to college credit and/or advanced placement. Topics covered include atomic and molecular structure, chemical equilibria, chemical kinetics, thermodynamics and electrochemistry. Laboratory work is a key component of this course.

AP Environmental Science

This college-level course provides a framework for understanding the complex interactions between the physical environment and human populations globally and locally, longterm and short-term. The fast-paced, demanding class covers topics including ecology, population growth, chemistry of the atmosphere, water quality, energy resources, agricultural productivity, biodiversity and environmental ethics. Self-motivated and curious students will find opportunities for independent research and projects in addition to the laboratory work required in the class. All students take the Advanced Placement Environmental Science Examination.

AP Physics

This course is designed for the student wishing to specialize in a physical science or any of the engineering disciplines including civil, mechanical, electrical or biomedical engineering. All students take the Advanced Placement Physics C-Mechanics Examination. Students explore topics in the six following content areas: kinematics, Newton’s laws of motion, work, power and energy systems, circular motion and rotation, oscillations, and gravitation. The course focuses on the application of introductory differential and integral calculus to solve problems related to the topics above. The course utilizes guided inquiry and student-centered learning to foster the development of critical-thinking skills through problem- solving and independent lab work.

Anatomy and Physiology I

An introduction to human anatomy and exercise physiology, this course surveys the structure and function of the major systems of the human body and how they are related to attain maximum physiological potential. Laboratory work and dissections plus student presentations (on diseases and disorders) and hands-on activities are an integral part of this course. Anatomy I focuses on the language of anatomy, homeostasis, and the muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems.

Anatomy and Physiology II

An introduction to human anatomy and exercise physiology, this course surveys the structure and function of the major systems of the human body and how they are integrated with each other to attain maximum physiological potential. An integral part of this class includes case studies, forensics labs, and student presentations. The final project of the course is completion of a cat dissection. Anatomy II focuses on the cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, immune and excretory systems. Prior enrollment in Anatomy I is not a prerequisite. However, students who enroll in Anatomy II without Anatomy I are asked to complete an assignment prior to the beginning of the semester.

Honors Anatomy And Physiology

This full-year course surveys the structure and function of the major systems of the human body including skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, immune, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, and excretory. Laboratory work and dissections plus student presentations and projects are an integral part of this course. Students also have an opportunity to learn more about careers in medicine and health professions through partnerships with surgeons who work in the Merrimack Valley and Boston.

Environmental Science I

The biosphere, our home, is a unique place providing humans not only with what we need to survive, but also delivering destructive forces which humans are unable to control. This course is designed to understand the natural world and our relationship to it. Students will examine the role and impact of humans in the world. Environmental Sciences draws on natural and applied sciences such as chemistry, engineering, and biology, while also exploring the social sciences and humanities such as economics, literature, and anthropology. First semester focuses on ecology, evolution and biodiversity, human populations and environmental economics.

Environmental Science II

The biosphere, our home, is a unique place providing humans not only with what we need to survive, but also delivering destructive forces which humans are unable to control. This course is designed to understand the natural world and our relationship to it. Second semester focuses on water and food resources, conventional energy, alternative energy, and pollution. Prior enrollment in Environmental Science I is not a prerequisite. However, students who enroll in Environmental Science II without Environmental Science I are asked to complete an assignment before the beginning of the semester.

Honors Environmental Science

This full-year course examines the biosphere, our home. It is a unique place providing us not only with what we need to survive but also delivering destructive forces which humans are unable to control. This course is designed to understand the natural world and our relationship to it. Students will examine the role and impact of humans in the world. Environmental Sciences draws on natural and applied sciences such as chemistry, engineering, and biology while also exploring the social sciences and humanities such as economics, literature, and anthropology. Environmental problems are incredibly complicated. Each problem offers its complexity, and any solution involves trade-offs, and no response will present an ultimate solution. This course encourages students to engage with tough problems and work to think creatively. (NOT OFFERED IN 2019-2020)

Robotics

This course is designed to introduce the student to the field of engineering and technical problem solving. Students work in teams while applying scientific principles in designing, constructing and operating efficient and economical structures and systems. Projects involve data acquisition systems, remote sensing, field monitoring and robotics among others. In addition to projects, students may be involved in contests or competitions outside of the classroom. Topics covered include basic electronics, analog and digital communications, binary logic, input-output devices, computer programming, materials engineering, structural design and cost-benefit analysis.

Royce Independent Research Project

Students may propose projects at or away from the School under the supervision of a member of the department. Expenses for such projects are financed by the generous support of the Robert Royce Fund.

Science Faculty

Mary Jo Carabatsos

Dean of Teaching and Learning, Science Teacher

Chris Davis

Science Teacher

Peter Federico

Faculty Intern

Laura Hajdukiewicz

Science Teacher, Student Activities Coordinator

Randall Hesse

Chair of Science Department, Science Teacher

Leo Lafond

Science Teacher

Elena Mandzhukova

Science Teacher

Peter Moccia

Science Teacher

Justine Rooney

Science Teacher