Academics

Science

The goal of the science department at Pope John Paul II High School is to provide students with conceptual framework, factual knowledge, and analytical skills necessary to deal with the rapidly changing fields in science.  While studying the sciences at Pope John Paul II High School the students will develop a basic knowledge of the general principles and theories of the discipline by focusing on key concepts in each subject area.  A critical foundation will be laid for future college course work and also for general knowledge needed to thrive in the scientifically driven society of today. 

Problem solving is a skill needed in every aspect of life.  This approach as well as other analytical skills will be developed in the science classroom through inquiry-based activities.  Students will experience the scientific method rather than simply memorize it.  They will be challenged to develop hypothesis and prove them rather than simply doing “cookbook” science.  While solving problems through experimentation, the students will develop skills using scientific equipment and technology.  For example, after posing a question, the students will search for background information using the Internet, make observations and then form a hypothesis.  Using scientific equipment such as a calculator, a calculator-based lab, and a probe, the students will collect data.  The data will then be imported into the computer for analysis.  A conclusion will be made and presented using Power Point or using a word processing program to generate a report.

It is also a goal of the science department for students to develop an appreciation and respect for the world in which they live.  Curiosity and creativity will be fostered using alternative teaching methods such as student presentations and independent investigations. Connections will be made to other disciplines and to societal issues so that science has meaning and purpose in the student’s lives.

The science curriculum requires the completion of three credits for graduation.  All students must complete physics, chemistry, and biology.  The curriculum is designed to meet all levels of student ability.  Advanced placement courses are available to all students.

 

CONCEPTUAL PHYSICS

Corequisite:  Must be enrolled in Algebra 1

Conceptual Physics (9) is the entry point into the JPII science curriculum.  The course content will focus on Newtonian Mechanics, wave applications and circuits.  Students in this course can expect a thorough conceptual exploration of physical concepts as well as a development of science skills needed to progress in the high school curriculum.  Students will develop their skills in problem solving, analysis, laboratory work, and mathematical reasoning.

 

CONCEPTUAL PHYSICS ADV

Corequisite:  Must also be enrolled in Algebra 1 Advanced or higher-level Advanced Math Courses.

In addition to studying the Conceptual Physics curriculum, the students will be required to conduct an independent research project on a topic in physics.  The students will conduct research, and then present their research in the form of a formal paper and a visual presentation. Additional time outside the class will be required for completing research, writing the paper, and preparing for the presentation.  The math covered in the advanced course will require more depth of understanding of algebra. Students in Conceptual Physics (9) Advanced must also be enrolled in Algebra I Advanced or higher-level Advanced math courses.

 

CHEMISTRY 1

(Open to Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors who have completed conceptual physics)

Chemistry is a course that explores the properties of substances and the changes that substances undergo. The student will investigate Atomic Structure, Matter and Energy, Interactions of Matter, Properties of Solutions, and Acids and Bases. The students’ experiences in chemistry will enable them to understand the role of chemistry in their lives by investigating substances that occur in nature, in living organisms, and those that are created by humans. Their study will include both qualitative and quantitative descriptions of matter and the changes that matter undergoes. The course includes not only lectures but also activities and laboratory experiences designed to increase understanding of difficult concepts.

 

CHEMISTRY 1 ADV

(Open to Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors who have completed conceptual physics)

In addition to studying the curriculum presented in Chemistry I, the students will be required to conduct an independent research project on a topic in chemistry.  The students will conduct research, and then present their research in a formal paper and a visual presentation. Additional time outside the class will be required for completing research, writing the paper, and preparing for the presentation.

 

BIOLOGY 1

(Open to Juniors and Seniors who have completed conceptual physics and chemistry)

Biology 1 is a course that introduces students to the world of living things. The students will explore basic life processes at the molecular, cellular, systemic, organismal, and ecological levels of organization within the biosphere. Evidence that supports biological evolution will be evaluated. Interdependence and interactions within the environment to include relationships, behavior, and population dynamics will be investigated. In addition cultural and historical scientific contributions of men and women and current and emerging technologies will be studied.

 

BIOLOGY 1 ADV

(Open to Juniors and Seniors who have completed conceptual physics and chemistry)

In addition to studying the curriculum presented in Biology I, the students will be required to conduct an independent research project on a topic in biology.  The students will conduct research, and then present their research in a formal paper and a visual presentation. Additional time outside the class will be required for completing research, writing the paper, and preparing for the presentation.

 

PHYSICS ADV

Prerequisites:  Students must successfully complete one year of Conceptual Physics, Biology and Chemistry. In addition students need to either be enrolled in, or have successfully completed, Pre-Calculus.  Though the course is a non-calculus course, enrollment in AB Calculus would be beneficial.  

(Open to Juniors Seniors)

The advanced physics class is a high-level, non-Calculus course.  Students will be required to conduct a research project on a topic in physics.  The chief focus of the course will be Newtonian Mechanics and Gravitation.  There will be occasionally vignettes on other areas of physics such as String / M-Theory, Black Holes, Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics.  These latter topics are “icing” on the cake and will not comprise the bulk of the course.  Completion of this course should enable students to read and interpret physical information, describe and explain the sequence of steps in a physical phenomenon or problem, use basic mathematical reasoning, and perform experiments.

 

ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

Prerequisites: Students must have successfully completed conceptual physics, chemistry, and biology

(Open to Seniors)

In this introductory human anatomy and physiology course, students journey into the fascinating world of the human body to discover the intricate machinery that makes the body work, relating the functional anatomy and physical geography of organs and organ systems to the physiological functions which they perform.  Students will also explore the delicate web of interaction among body systems, the importance of maintaining homeostatic balance within this web, and the medical implications of disturbing this balance.  Specific topics of study will include the integumentary system, musculoskeletal anatomy, the physiology of the nervous system and muscle contraction, the cardiovascular system, the immune system, digestion and excretion, and reproduction and development.  The study of anatomy and physiology prepares students for a variety of pursuits such as health care, sports, and fitness careers, as well as for taking an active part in their own health and wellness. The course will include numerous dissections and lab activities.

 

BIOLOGY AP

Note:  All Advanced Placement courses are lab intensive and will require the students to perform begin an independent research project over the summer and finish it during the first semester.

Prerequisites:  Students must have successfully completed one year of Advanced Conceptual Physics and one year of Advanced Chemistry. This may be taken to fulfill the biology requirement. Students also will be required to perform substantial amounts of quantitative analysis throughout the course.  Therefore, students must either be enrolled in, or have successfully completed, Algebra II. Teacher recommendation is also required.

(Open to Seniors)

The AP Biology class is designed to be the equivalent of a college introductory biology course taken by biology majors during their first year over two semesters. Students qualified by the exam may earn up to eight hours of college credit. This class is lab intensive covering not only the 12 required AP Biology labs but additional labs to reinforce the curriculum. Students enrolling in Advanced Placement Biology lecture must also be enrolled in Advanced Placement Biology Lab. The two main goals of AP biology are to help students develop a conceptual framework for modern biology and gain an appreciation of science as a process.  Concepts covered during the course are molecules and cells, heredity and evolution, and organisms and populations.  The units of study will apply the basic understanding of biology developed in Biology I to conceptual topics.

 

CHEMISTRY AP

Note:  All Advanced Placement courses are lab intensive and will require the students to perform begin an independent research project over the summer and finish it during the first semester.

Prerequisite:  Satisfactory completion of Advanced Conceptual Physics and Advanced Chemistry I or by permission of instructor.

(Open to Juniors and Seniors)

Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry is designed to be an equivalent course to and meet the objectives of the general chemistry course taken during the freshman year of college.  The course will build on the fundamentals learned in Advanced Chemistry I, extending into a more in-depth study of acid-base chemistry, equilibrium, thermodynamics, electrochemistry and organic chemistry through lecture discussion and laboratory experiments. Successful completion of the course will thoroughly prepare the student for the Advanced Placement Test in Chemistry.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AP

Note All Advanced Placement courses are lab intensive and will require the students to perform begin an independent research project over the summer and finish it during the first semester.

Prerequisites:  Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the AP Environmental Science course, students must have successfully completed concptual physics, chemistry, and biology..  Students also will be required to perform substantial amounts of quantitative analysis throughout the course.  Therefore, students must either be enrolled in, or have successfully completed, Algebra II.

(Open to Seniors)

The AP Environmental Science course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science.  It is intended to enable students to undertake a more advanced study of topics in environmental science or to fulfill a basic requirement for a laboratory science as a first-year college student.  As such, AP Environmental Science is designed as a rigorous laboratory science course that stresses scientific principles and analysis.  In both breadth and level of detail, the content of the course reflects what is found in most introductory college courses in environmental science. Topics of study include ecological and geological processes, human populations, energy use and pollution.

 

PHYSICS C AP

Note:  All Advanced Placement courses are lab intensive and will require the students to perform begin an independent research project over the summer and finish it during the first semester.

Prerequisites:  Students must have successfully completed Advanced Conceptual Physics, Advanced Chemistry, and Advanced Biology . Some students may take in AP Physics in their junior year and then Advanced Biology in their senior year with permission. Students must be enrolled in AP Calculus BC.  Teacher recommendation is also required.

(Open to Seniors)

The AP Physics C class is designed to be equivalent to a college introductory mechanics class usually taken during the first semester of college.  Students qualified by the AP C Mechanics exam are usually given credit for the course or allowed to take other classes at their universities.  Completion of this course should enable the students to read and interpret physical information, describe and explain the sequence of steps in a physical phenomenon or problem, use basic mathematical reasoning, and perform experiments.

 

Scholars Research Program – Science

Prerequisites: Students must have successfully completed Advanced Conceptual Physics, Advanced Chemistry, and Advanced Biology. Students are encouraged to also be enrolled in an AP Science course. Teacher recommendation is also required.

(Open to Seniors)

The Scholars Research Program in Science will allow students to conduct an in-depth research project and present his or her findings using a variety of media at local, district, regional, state and/or national competitions and/or presentations. Two major components of the course are a technical report including sections for literature search, design, procedures, analysis of data, experimental results, conclusions, and future directions, and an audio-visual presentation that is appropriate to the nature of the research and the type of audience. The following major areas will be investigated: Ethical Practices, Critical Thinking Skills, Scientific Inquiry, Analyzing and Evaluating Data, Communicating Scientific Results.   These projects may be completed in coordination with concurrent AP science classes or external research groups such as university laboratories.

 

ACADEMIC EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES IN SCIENCE

SCIENCE OLYMPIAD TEAM

The Science Olympiad Team explores all areas of science.  The team will compete at the regional competition in the spring term.  Events includes building, lab, and academic events such as Wright Stuff where students build an airplane propelled by energy from a rubber band, Forensics where students analyze evidence from a crime scene, and Disease Detective where students determine the cause of an epidemic.  There are over twenty events from which to choose.