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WHS Science Department

Over four years, students may select from a wide variety of full year and semester science courses. Decisions on which courses you will take will depend on several factors: individual interest, future education plans, and academic background. You should plan the sequence of your courses with care. As a general rule, AP Science courses are taken after successfully completing Biology, Chemistry and Physics courses. One significant exception to this rule is those students who are planning to take AP Calculus AB or AP Calculus BC during their senior year. These students may elect to take AP Biology, AP Chemistry or AP Environmental Science during their junior year. The chart below indicates the kinds of choices available at each grade level. To determine whether you have developed the requisite skills for a course, read the appropriate course descriptions, speak with your current science teacher or talk with your school counselor. Science employs the language of mathematics to represent concepts in each of its science courses. Students must take their math abilities into consideration when selecting a science course. One year of a physical science and one year of a biological science is the state requirement for graduation. Actual courses scheduled for 2018 - 2019 depend on sufficient enrollment.

The Wilton School District is in the process of transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for our k-12 science program.

 

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Science Programs

Biology

SCI320: BIOLOGY

Grade: 9 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1 Prerequisite: Admission by recommendation only.

This course will emphasize laboratory work to foster students' innate curiosity, interest, and skill development. Course material will integrate the major themes of biology, unity of form and function, diversity of structure, and genetic continuity. The areas of study will include the microscope, cell study, microorganisms, plants and animals, heredity, and ecology.

Note: A student’s program may be differentiated in curriculum, instruction, and assessment based on their individual learning needs (Introductory Biology 1).


SCI322: BIOLOGY- 2

Grade: 9 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1 Prerequisite: None.

Recommendation: Successful completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra I.

This course requires good reading and verbal comprehension skills as abstract concepts are emphasized. Students will be encouraged to work independently and to synthesize, analyze, and apply different concepts to their work. The course will concentrate on those concepts and fundamental processes that pertain to living things in general. During the year, emphasis will be placed on such topics as biochemistry, heredity, molecular biology, evolution, ecology, and laboratory skills including computer data collection and analysis. Students demonstrating exceptional ability in Biology 2 may be recommended for an accelerated course in science for the following year.


SCI334: BIOLOGY- 3 (HONORS)

Grade: 9 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1Prerequisite: A cumulative average of an A in middle school science courses.

Recommendation: Concurrent enrollment in Geometry 3, Algebra II-2, or Algebra II-3.

Biology-3 is designed as the first course of an accelerated program in science. This is a rigorously-paced course in biology for students who have superior background in middle school science, reading comprehension, and mathematics. It includes in-depth study in biochemistry, Mendelian and molecular genetics, ecology and evolution, and current aspects of modern science and technology. Emphasis is placed on collection, analysis, and interpretation of quantitative data generated in experimental lab work. Computers are used throughout the course in a variety of different activities. Students are expected to work independently and pursue ideas beyond the curriculum content of the course.


Physical Science

SCI341: PHYSICAL SCIENCE

Grade: 10 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1 Prerequisite: Successful completion of Biology. Admission by recommendation only.

Recommendation: Concurrent enrollment in Algebra I or higher.

The course will emphasize laboratory work to foster students' innate curiosity, interest, and skill development. Topics include electricity, introductory chemistry, introductory physics and environmental science concepts - global climate change and brownfields. Students will be encouraged to work independently and to synthesize, analyze and apply different ideas to their work.

Note: A student’s program may be differentiated in curriculum, instruction, and assessment based on his/her individual learning needs (Introductory Physical Science).


SCI342: PHYSICAL SCIENCE-2

Grade: 10 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1 Prerequisite: Successful completion of Biology.

Recommendation: Concurrent enrollment in Algebra I-2 or higher.

Physical Science 2 is a college preparatory course for sophomores. The course topics include electricity, introductory chemistry, introductory physics and environmental science concepts – global climate change and brownfields. Students will be encouraged to work independently and to synthesize, analyze and apply different ideas to their work. The methods employed and the concepts covered in this course serve as a strong foundation for future work, especially in chemistry, physics, environmental science and geoscience.


Chemistry


Chemistry whiteboarding


SCI361: CHEMISTRY

Grade: 11-12 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1 Prerequisite: B or better in Physical Science.

Recommendation: Successful completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra II.

Chemistry is designed to offer the same opportunities as a Chemistry-2 & Chemistry-3 but the material is covered in less depth and is less quantitative. The curriculum is further enhanced through web homework assignments from the University of Texas. Math skills should include multiplication and division of fractions and decimals, simple equations and percent calculation. The science department suggests successful completion of algebra and physical science. Students may make changes among the levels in the chemistry program during the first semester. The department requires that a discussion with the chemistry instructor should precede a change in level.


SCI362: CHEMISTRY-2

Grade: 10-12 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1 Prerequisite: B or better in Biology-2 and Physical Science-2.

Recommendation: Successful completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra II-2.

Chemistry 2 emphasizes the quantitative (mathematical) evaluation of data. Laboratory experiments are supplemented with discussion, lectures, and worksheets. Included are such topics as atomic structure, gas laws, and chemical systems. The curriculum is further enhanced through web homework assignments from the University of Texas. Students may make changes among levels in the chemistry program at any time during the first semester. The Science Department requires that a discussion with the chemistry instructor precede a change in level.


SCI363: CHEMISTRY-3 (HONORS)

Grade: 10-12 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1 Prerequisite: B or better in Biology-3.

Recommendation: Successful completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra II-3.

Chemistry 3 relies heavily on the student’s proven quantitative/mathematical reasoning skills. The teachers of this course expect students to have an aptitude for abstract reasoning. Laboratory experiments are supplemented with discussion, lectures, and worksheets. Included are such topics as atomic structure, gas laws, and chemical systems. The honors chemistry student is expected to assume a greater, independent role in the educational process. This is accomplished through supplemental enrichment packets, class presentation of laboratory experiments and homework assignments from the University of Texas website. Students may make changes among levels in the chemistry program at any time during the first semester. The Science Department requires that a discussion with the chemistry instructor precede a change in level.


Physics

PHYSICS COURSES

All WHS Physics courses (Physics 2, Physics 3 or AP Physics) are first-year courses which focus on the Mechanics curriculum. The choice of a Physics course is based on work ethic, comfort with advanced mathematical concepts and a student’s current science teacher’s recommendation. A student’s recommended math course along with his/her performance on the Physics Diagnostic Assessment will inform the level of Physics to be selected. There is no prerequisite Physics requirement to enroll in AP Physics.

SCI372: PHYSICS-2

Grade: 11-12 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1 Prerequisite: B or better in Biology-2 and Chemistry-2.

Recommendation: Concurrent enrollment in Precalculus 2. Student performance on the Physics Diagnostic Assessment will help inform the level of Physics to be selected.

This course will prepare students for a college-level physics course. Topics to be studied include Newton’s Law of Motion, Conservation of Energy, Momentum, Circular Motion, Gravity, Waves and Optics. Emphasis is placed upon analysis of student-collected data and communication of concepts developed. Students are expected to apply course knowledge to mathematically model everyday situations.


SCI373: PHYSICS-3 (HONORS)

Grade: 11-12 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1 Prerequisite: B or better in Biology-3 and Chemistry-3.

Recommendation: Successful completion or concurrent enrollment in Precalculus 3. Student performance on the Physics Diagnostic Assessment will help inform the level of Physics to be selected.

Physics-3 is designed as the third course in an accelerated program of science study beginning with Biology-3 and Chemistry-3. This course considers concepts similar to Physics 2 but require more rigorous analysis of laboratory activities by way of developing mathematical models to fit data. Students are expected to solve multi-step problems. All physics courses integrate internet resources and homework services as part of the curriculum. Students may also take this course for college credits from the University of Connecticut as part of its Early College Experience (ECE). Enrollment is optional.


AP Science

SCI335: ADVANCED PLACEMENT BIOLOGY (HONORS) Grade: 11-12 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1

Prerequisite: B or better in Biology-2 or higher, Chemistry-2 or higher, and Physics-2*.

Recommendation: B or better in Algebra II-2.

AP Biology is a fast-paced college-level course in biology that utilizes the curriculum set forth by the College Board. The course is laboratory based and computers are utilized in the collection and analysis of data. Strong emphasis is placed on conceptual understanding and problem solving skills. Students are also required to participate in a research project. The class meets 10 periods in an 8-day cycle including two double lab periods. Students are encouraged to take the AP Biology Examination which determines placement and/or credit at colleges and universities. Students may also take this course for college credits from the University of Connecticut as part of its Early College Experience (ECE). Enrollment is optional.

*Note: Advanced Placement Biology should be selected by juniors only if Biology-3 and Chemistry-3 grades are B+ or better. In addition, this course should be considered by a junior only if the student plans to take Physics-3 or AP Physics as a senior. The decision to take AP Biology as a junior requires a consultation with the AP Biology teacher.


SCI353: ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE (HONORS) Grade: 11-12 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1

Prerequisite: B or better in Biology-2, Chemistry 2, and Physics-2*.

Recommendation: Successful completion of Algebra II-2.

A college-level course in Environmental Science. To meet College Board requirements, the class meets 10 periods in an 8-day cycle for additional lectures/discussions. The course includes an extensive laboratory and field work component. The course is designed to prepare students for the AP exam in May. Topics investigated include natural and human ecosystems, endangered wildlife, toxic waste disposal, world population growth, and other current issues. This course should be taken as a senior unless the student is planning to take AP Physics as a senior.

*Note: Advanced Placement Environmental Science should be selected by juniors only if Biology-3 and Chemistry-3 grades are B+ or better. In addition, this course should be considered by a junior only if the student plans to take AP Physics as a senior.


SCI366: ADVANCED PLACEMENT CHEMISTRY (HONORS)

Grade: 11-12 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1 Prerequisite: B or better in Biology-3 and Chemistry-3*.

Recommendation: Successful completion or concurrent enrollment in Precalculus 3or higher.

This is a college-level general chemistry course in which lab activities, problem solving, and concept development are emphasized. The course is designed to prepare students for the AP examination in May. It is recommended that this course should be taken immediately upon the completion of Chemistry-3.


*Note: Advanced Placement Chemistry should be taken immediately upon the completion of Chemistry-3. In addition, this course should be considered by a junior only if the student plans to take AP Physics as a senior. The decision to take AP Chemistry as a junior requires a consultation with the AP Chemistry teacher.


SCI374: ADVANCED PLACEMENT PHYSICS (HONORS)

Grade: 11-12 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1 Prerequisite: B or better in Biology-3 and Chemistry-3.

Recommendation: Successful completion or concurrent enrollment in AP Calculus AB or AP Calculus BC.

A college-level physics course that emphasizes problem solving. The course shall parallel introductory calculus courses developing a foundation in mechanics. The course is designed to prepare students for the AP Physics examination (Physics C-Mechanics) in May. All physics students will use Internet access as a part of their physics course. AP Physics meets 10 times in the 8-day cycle.



Electives

SCI345: GEOSCIENCE

Grade: 11-12 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1 Prerequisite: Successful completion of Physical Science or Chemistry.

Recommendation: Mastery of math skills including multiplication and division of fractions and decimals, simple equations, and percent calculations.

This course applies the fundamental principles of the physical sciences to studies in astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, and geology. Laboratory and class studies will include such topics as the evolution of the universe, distances in space, the solar system, earth measurements and motions, weather and climate, the oceans, geography, mapping, rocks and minerals, earthquakes and volcanoes, and plate tectonics.


SCI352: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Grade: 11-12 Duration: Full Year Credit: 1 Prerequisite: Successful completion of Biology and Physical Science.

Recommendation: None.

This course incorporates an extensive laboratory and field-work component. Utilizing the Norwalk River, Allen's Meadow, and the school pond as field study sites, the student uncovers many concepts in environmental science and ecology. Topics investigated include natural and human ecosystems, endangered wildlife, toxic waste disposal, world population growth, and other current issues. Generally, we focus on the movement of matter and energy through these diverse ecosystems. Additional opportunities exist for the student to participate in local research programs such as tracking the winter flounder population in Long Island Sound, monitoring the levels of fecal coliform bacteria in the Norwalk River, and other opportunities for fieldwork.

SEMESTER COURSES IN SCIENCE

Successful completion of two year-long courses in high school science is required before taking a semester course in science. Please note that semester courses are offered on an alternate year basis only. All courses include a double lab period.








SCI381: HUMAN BIOLOGY-2

Grade: 11-12 Duration: 1 Semester Credit: ½ Prerequisite: Successful completion (C or better) of Biology 2.

Recommendation: None.

This course will enable students to learn about selected topics in human anatomy and physiology. Topics incorporate a conceptual understanding of homeostasis and structure/function of humans and include: cytology, human digestion, circulation and gas exchange, the nervous system, and the immune system. Emphasis will be placed on laboratory activities.


SCI382: HUMAN BIOLOGY-3 (HONORS)

Grade: 11-12 Duration: 1 Semester Credit: ½ Prerequisite: Successful completion of Honors Biology (C or better) or at least a B+ in Biology 2.

Recommendation: None.

This course will enable students to learn about selected topics in human anatomy and physiology. Topics incorporate a conceptual understanding of homeostasis and structure/function of humans and include: cytology, human digestion, circulation and gas exchange, the nervous system and the immune system. Emphasis will be placed on laboratory activities.

Students who wish to take the Human Biology class as an honors course will be expected to complete extensions presented in laboratory work, supplemental reading assignments, and additional questions on tests. This additional work will provide students with more depth, enrichment, and mathematical challenges in the field of human physiology.


SCI389: GENETICS-2 (Not offered 2018 - 2019)

Grade: 11-12 Duration: 1 Semester Credit: ½ Prerequisite: Successful completion (C or better) of Biology 2.

Recommendation: Strong algebraic skills.

This course will enable the student to investigate in-depth the broad field of inheritance. Mendelian genetics, DNA structure and function, mutations, human genetics, gene mapping, gene regulation and recombinant DNA will be covered during this semester course. Laboratory activities include karyotyping, gel electrophoresis and gene splicing.


SCI390: GENETICS-3 (HONORS) (Not offered 2018 - 2019)

Grade: 11-12 Duration: 1 Semester Credit: ½ Prerequisite: Successful completion of Honors Biology (C or better) or at least a B+ in Biology 2.

Recommendation: Strong algebraic skills.

This course will enable the student to investigate in-depth the broad field of inheritance. Mendelian genetics, DNA structure and function, mutations, human genetics, gene mapping, gene regulation, and recombinant DNA will be covered during this semester course. Laboratory activities include karyotyping, gel electrophoresis, and gene splicing.

Students who wish to take the Genetics class as an honors course will be expected to complete extensions presented in laboratory work, supplemental reading assignments and additional questions on tests. This additional work will provide students with more depth, enrichment, and mathematical challenges in the field of genetics. Prerequisite: Successful completion of two year-long courses in high school science including biology and strong math skills


SCI391: ANIMAL BEHAVIOR (Not offered 2018 - 2019)

Grade: 11-12 Duration: 1 Semester Credit: ½ Prerequisite: Successful completion of two year-long high school science courses, including Biology.

Recommendation: None.

The behavior of a variety of different animals will be studied with emphasis placed on such topics as the evolution of behavior, instinctive vs. learned behavior, communication, social behavior, and population dynamics. The students will apply field and laboratory methods to investigate lecture topics. Students will select areas of special interest for individual projects. This course has not been approved to meet NCAA eligibility requirements.


SCI387: FORENSIC SCIENCE

Grade: 11-12 Duration: 1 Semester Credit: ½ Prerequisite: Successful completion of Biology.

Recommendation: None.

Forensic science centers about the practical application of scientific literacy. Students will observe the many ways knowledge of many disciplines apply to matters of law. Students will witness first-hand the application of these disciplines as they perform laboratory experiments, learn about real-life criminal investigations, Also, students will participate in inquiry-based activities that will enable them to understand the nature of evidence such as DNA, forgery, chemical analysis of compounds, stain identification, ballistics, etc.

In addition to a highly intensive science portion, the students will learn aspects of crime scene investigation, preservation of evidence, criminal profiling, and legal issues surrounding these investigations. This course is recommended to those students who are considering a career in law, law enforcement, laboratory science or psychology.


SCI383: BIOETHICS

Grade: 11-12 Duration: 1 Semester Credit: ½ Prerequisite: Successful completion of two year-long high school science courses, including Biology.

Recommendation: None.

Bioethics is a course for any student interested in the impact of biotechnology on society. Students will be encouraged to make evidence-based decisions as well as explore their own ideas regarding moral dilemma. Students will consequently study methodologies used by philosophers and scientists for solving moral quandaries, develop a process for moral inquiry, and apply this process to case studies. Assessments include position papers and class presentations related to key issues in Bioethics. This course has not been approved to meet NCAA eligibility requirements.