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Academics

Science


 

Future Scientists
Future Scientists

The science department is committed to fostering evidence-based thinkers through a hands-on approach to the scientific method. Students at La Salle are engaged in experiments, both physically in the laboratory and virtually with simulations, with a 90-minute class once a week. During their remaining class periods, our young men are challenged to go beyond the simple memorization of scientific facts and theories and are asked to analyze and draw new conclusions based on their own observations. All students will take Biology and Chemistry at either the college prep, advanced or honors levels. After these first two science credits are earned, they have the freedom to engage in classes including, but not limited to: physics, astronomy, engineering and marine science. No matter the science courses that a student at La Salle chooses to take, he will be given numerous opportunities for inquiry-based learning, allowing him to draw his own conclusions and drive his own education. 

Biology (ACP) (Grade 9)

This course will examine life from the micro level of the cell to the macro level organisms and ecosystems.  Students will study cells, which are the basic unit of life.  Students will continue their understanding of the cell with understanding how DNA controls cellular function and the basic unit of heredity.  Using knowledge of heredity, students will explore the modern theory of evolution which provides a natural explanation for the diversity of life on Earth.  Students will study ecology, including levels of organization in the ecosystem and predator/prey relationships.  

 

Prerequisite:  None Full-year course – 1 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Explain how cells work using the chemistry of water and carbon based molecules.
  • Explain the cell cycle and connect this knowledge to the functions of cells.
  • Apply knowledge of the cell cycle to the synthesis of new DNA molecules.
  • Connect the knowledge of DNA to genes and heredity.
  • Connect the knowledge of heredity in order to predict the outcomes of genetic crosses.
  • Analyze genotypes and phenotypes.
  • Apply gene expression to the process of evolution through natural selection. 
  • Predict changes in an ecosystem through the understanding of evolution. 

 

Anchor Text: 

  • Holt McDougal Biology (2012 Stephen Nowicki)

Biology (HP) (Grade 9)

This course will examine life from the micro level of the cell to the macro level organisms and ecosystems.  Students will study cells, which are the basic unit of life. Students will gain an understanding of how cells function to maintain themselves and to produce new cells.  Students will continue their understanding of the cell with understanding how DNA controls cellular function and the basic unit of heredity.  Using knowledge of heredity, students will explore the modern theory of evolution which provides a natural explanation for the diversity of life on Earth.  Students will study ecology, including levels of organization in the ecosystem, predator/prey relationships, trophic levels and the effects of physical/chemical constraints on all biological relationships and systems.  This is a rigorous course designed to prepare students for advanced science courses.

 

Prerequisite:  Recommendation Full-year course – 1 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Explain how cells work through the identification of organelles and their functions.
  • Connect the knowledge of the cell cycle to the function of cells, including mitosis, meiosis and binary fission.  
  • Analyze the synthesis of new DNA molecules including mRNA, tRNA, rRna and amino acids.
  • Connect the role of DNA to the concepts of genes and heredity.
  • Predict the outcomes of genetic crosses using monohybrid and dihybrid Punnett Squares.
  • Analyze genotypic and phenotypic ratios generated from the construction of a genetic cross. 
  • Apply gene expression to the process of evolution through natural selection.
  • Explain how populations change over time.
  • Predict changes in an ecosystem using the concept of evolution through natural selection. 

 

Anchor Text: 

  • Holt McDougal Biology (2012 Stephen Nowicki)

Biology (AP) (Grades 11 – 12)

AP Biology is an introductory college-level biology course. Students cultivate their understanding of biology through inquiry-based investigations as they explore the following topics: evolution, cellular processes (energy and communication), genetics, information transfer, ecology, and interactions.  This course will follow the learning objectives developed by the AP College Board and students will be required to take the AP Biology exam. 

 

Prerequisites: Full-year course – 1 credit 

Biology

Chemistry or permission of the instructor

 

Key Skills:

  • Pose a Scientific Question, make predictions about the answer to the Scientific Question, generate data to test the accuracy of their prediction, and use the data to make a scientific claim, supported by a justification using data as evidence. 
  • Represent data graphically in order to discover patterns or relations.
  • Infer biological mechanisms through analysis of data.
  • Analyze data using statistics with the goal of discovering meaningful patterns in large amounts of data.  
  • Understand and critique the sometimes ambiguous nature of data that is typical in scientific investigations.
  • Use statistical models for hypothesis testing.  
  • Analyze how the process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life.
  • Explain how biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce and to maintain dynamic homeostasis.
  • Identify information that is essential to life processes and explain how living systems store, retrieve, transmit and respond to this information.
  • Analyze the interactions in biological systems. 

 

Anchor Texts: 

  • Campbell Biology, AP Edition, 10th Edition (Reece et al., Benjamin Cummings, 2014)
  • Pearson Mastering Biology for Reece, Campbell Biology AP (Pearson, 2014)

Chemistry (ACP) (Grades 10-12)

 

In this course, students will study the physical interactions of matter and subsequent events that occur in the natural world.  This course will focus on atomic structure, bonding, and the interactions of matter.  Stoichiometric calculations will be emphasized.  Guided and inquiry laboratory activities will also be conducted.  Students will need to solve multi-step problems using algebra skills.  

 

Prerequisites: Full-year course – 1 credit

Biology

Algebra I (may be concurrent) 

 

Key Skills:

  • Construct formulas and names for ionic and covalent compounds, including polyatomic ions.
  • Construct a model of an atom.
  • Explain how the structure of an atom affects characteristics of an element.
  • Explain and predict periodic trends.
  • Determine the shape and polarity of molecules.
  • Explain the characteristics of molecules using the concept of intermolecular forces.
  • Complete multi-step calculations from a balanced equation.
  • Analyze the behavior of gasses.
  • Apply the gas law formulas.
  • Apply chemical behavior to real world applications. 

 

Anchor Text: 

  • Modern Chemistry

Chemistry (HP) (Grades 10-12)

In this course, students will study the physical interactions of matter and subsequent events that occur in the natural world.  This course will focus on atomic structure, bonding, and the interactions of matter (including kinetics and thermochemistry).  Stoichiometry will be emphasized.  Guided and inquiry laboratory activities will be conducted and lab reports will be completed.  Students will need to solve multi-step problems using algebra skills.  This is a rigorous course designed to prepare students for AP Chemistry and advanced science courses. 

 

Prerequisites:  Biology,  Algebra II (may be concurrent) Full-year course – 1 credit 

 

Key Skills:

  • Construct formulas and names for ionic and covalent compounds including polyatomic ions.
  • Construct the model of an atom.
  • Explain the historical development of the theory of atomic structure.
  • Explain how the structure of an atom affects characteristics of an element. 
  • Explain and predict periodic trends.
  • Determine the shape and polarity of molecules.
  • Explain the characteristics using the concept of intermolecular forces.
  • Conduct multi-step calculations from a balanced equation.
  • Analyze the behavior of gasses.
  • Connect gas law formulas to gas behavior. 
  • Analyze the basic principles of chemical kinetics to chemical reactions.
  • Apply the basic principles of thermochemistry to chemical reactions.

 

Anchor Text: 

  • Modern Chemistry

Chemistry (AP) (Grades 11-12)

The AP Chemistry course provides students with a college-level foundation to support future advanced course work in chemistry.  Students cultivate their understanding of chemistry through inquiry-based investigations as they explore topics including: atomic structure, intermolecular forces and bonding, chemical reactions, kinetics, thermodynamics, and equilibrium.   Students will use representations and models as well as mathematics in order to communicate scientific phenomena and solve scientific problems.   This course will follow the learning objectives developed by the AP College Board and students will be required to take the AP Chemistry exam. 

 

Prerequisites: Full-year course – 1 credit 

Biology

HP/ACP Chemistry with teacher recommendation

Algebra II (may be concurrent)

 

Key Skills:

  • Discuss elements as the building blocks of matter.
  • Explain the behavior of elements using the arrangement of atoms.
  • Explain and apply the chemical and physical properties of materials by the structure and the arrangement of atoms, ions, or molecules and the forces between them.
  • Use the rearrangement and/or reorganization of atoms and/or the transfer of electrons to explain changes in matter.
  • Determine rates of chemical reactions using details of molecular collisions.
  • Apply the laws of thermodynamics to describe the essential role of energy and to explain and predict the direction of changes in matter.
  • Explain how and why bonds are formed or broken.

Physical Science (CP) (Grades 10-12)

This course is designed to build upon scientific knowledge learned in grade school.  This course will build a strong science foundation for the continuation of the study of science.  This course will integrate topics from both chemistry and physics; including the structure of atoms, the structure and properties of matter, motions and forces, and the conservation of energy, matter and change.  

 

Prerequisite:  Biology Full-year course – 1 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Classify matter.
  • Determine composition of an atom from information on the periodic table.
  • Compare and contrast the types of bonds between atoms.
  • Apply the principle of conservation of energy to situations.
  • Quantify kinetic energy and potential energy.
  • Interpret a basic electrical diagram.
  • Describe energy and waves. 
  • Distinguish the different types of waves.
  • Construct a basic force diagram.
  • Identify the different types of forces.
  • Explain how forces affect motion. 

 

Anchor Text:

  • Science Spectrum Physical Science (Holt)

Physics (ACP) (Grades 10-12)

In this course, students will learn about the guiding principles and concepts that describe the physical world.  This course will focus primarily on mechanics, covering such topics as one-dimensional motion, forces, projectile and circular motion, energy, momentum, rotation, and gravitation and orbital mechanics.  Proper techniques to design, conduct, and analyze the results of experiments will also be addressed.  Students will need to be able to solve problems using algebra, pre-calculus, and trigonometry.

 

Prerequisites:  Biology, Pre-calculus (may be concurrent) Full-year course – 1 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Select the appropriate physical model to solve a problem.
  • Draw the Force Diagram/Free Body Diagram to analyze the forces acting on an object.
  • Distinguish between position, distance, and displacement.
  • Create position versus time, velocity versus time, and acceleration versus time graphs.
  • Distinguish between average and instantaneous variable.
  • Solve projectile motion problems.
  • Split a vector into its components.
  • Apply Newton’s Three Laws of Motion.
  • Solve problems involving friction (static and kinetic).
  • Solve problems involving objects on inclined planes.
  • Solve problems involving Hooke's Law.
  • Solve problems using Universal Gravitation.
  • Solve problems involving centripetal force.
  • Find the momentum of an object.
  • Use the conservation of momentum.
  • Use the impulse. 
  • Use the Work-Energy Theorem.
  • Use rotational analogs to convert between linear and angular quantities.
  • Apply angular momentum to solve problems.
  • Solve problems using the conservation of energy.
  • Select the appropriate physical model to solve a problem.
  • Solve kinematics problems using algebra, pre-calculus, and trigonometry.
  • Solve dynamics problems using algebra, pre-calculus, and trigonometry.
  • Solve two-dimensional motion problems using algebra, pre-calculus, and trigonometry.
  • Solve energy and momentum problems using algebra, pre-calculus, and trigonometry.
  • Solve rotation problems using algebra, pre-calculus, and trigonometry.
  • Solve gravitation and orbital mechanics problems using algebra, pre-calculus, and trigonometry.

 

Anchor Text:

  • Physics Principles & Problems

Physics C: Mechanics (AP) (Grade 12)

In this course, students will learn about the guiding principles and concepts that describe the physical world.  This course will focus primarily on mechanics, covering such topics as one-dimensional motion, forces, projectile and circular motion, energy, momentum, rotation, gravitation and orbital mechanics, and simple harmonic motion.  Proper techniques to design, conduct, and analyze the results of experiments will also be addressed.  This course is roughly equivalent to the first semester of introductory physics at the college level.  Students will need to be able to solve problems using algebra, pre-calculus, trigonometry, and calculus.  This course will follow the College Board learning objectives and students will be required to take the AP College Board test.  

 

Prerequisites:  Biology, Calculus (concurrent) Full-year course – 1 credit 

 

Key Skills:

  • Select the appropriate physical model to solve a problem.
  • Draw the Force Diagram/Free Body Diagram to analyze the forces acting on an object.
  • Distinguish between position, distance, and displacement.
  • Create position versus time, velocity versus time, and acceleration versus time graphs.
  • Distinguish between average and instantaneous variable.
  • Solve projectile motion problems. 
  • Split a vector into its components.
  • Apply Newton’s Three Laws of Motion.
  • Solve problems involving friction (static and kinetic).
  • Solve problems involving objects on inclined planes.
  • Solve problems involving Hooke's Law. 
  • Solve problems using Universal Gravitation.
  • Solve problems involving centripetal force.
  • Find the momentum of an object.
  • Use the conservation of momentum.
  • Use the Work-Energy Theorem.
  • Use rotational analogs to convert between linear and angular quantities.
  • Apply angular momentum to solve problems.
  • Solve problems using the conservation of energy.
  • Select the appropriate physical model to solve a problem.
  • Solve problems involving simple harmonic motion.
  • Solve complex kinematics problems using algebra, pre-calculus, trigonometry, and calculus. 
  • Solve complex dynamics problems using algebra, pre-calculus, trigonometry, and calculus.
  • Solve complex two-dimensional motion problems using algebra, pre-calculus, trigonometry, and calculus.
  • Solve complex energy and momentum problems using algebra, pre-calculus, trigonometry, and calculus.
  • Solve complex rotation problems using algebra, pre-calculus, trigonometry, and calculus.
  • Solve complex gravitation and orbital mechanics problems using algebra, pre-calculus, trigonometry, and calculus.
  • Solve complex Simple Harmonic Motion problems using algebra, pre-calculus, trigonometry, and calculus.

 

Anchor Text:

  • Physics for Scientists & Engineers

Anatomy Physiology (HP) (Grades 11-12)

The study of the structure and function of the human body. This course is preparation for advanced biological studies, biomedical nursing, and other science based careers. Laboratory experiences and text based activities provide student learning in the following  body systems (musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system; digestive system,  immune system, and urogenital system)  Dissection and laboratory study combined with lecture will help students understand  both the structure of these systems (anatomy), and how they function (physiology).


Prerequisite:  Biology and Chemistry Full-year course – 1 credit

CCP Engineering I and II (Grades 11-12)

In this course, students will learn about the guiding principles, concepts, and best practices of the field of engineering. This course will introduce students to a variety of engineering and engineering technology disciplines.  The course will teach students about the fundamental elements that are common to all disciplines of engineering, including teamwork, the engineering design process, and use of technology.  This course is a College Credit Plus course, giving students the ability to earn college credit through the University of Cincinnati.

 

Prerequisite:  Pre-calculus (may be concurrent) Full-year course – .5 credits/class

 

Key Skills:

  • Work effectively in teams.
  • Use the Engineering Design Process.
  • Communicate effectively, including highly technical topics.
  • Utilize principles of Industrial Engineering.
  • Utilize principles of Civil Engineering.
  • Utilize principles of Mechanical Engineering.
  • Utilize principles of Computer Science.
  • Utilize principles of Electrical Engineering.

 

Anchor Text:  None

Forensic Science (ACP) (Grades 11-12)

Forensics is an introductory course to the area of forensic science. This course applies different areas of science to solving crimes.  The application of the scientific process to forensic analysis, procedures and principles of crime scene investigation, as well as physical and trace evidence will be studied.  This course will include case studies in order to understand the importance of different areas of science in the solving of crimes. 

 

Prerequisites:  Biology, Chemistry or Physics Semester course – 0.5 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Classify evidence as direct or circumstantial.
  • Map a crime scene.
  • Compare the reliability of eyewitness testimony.
  • Explain how different types of evidence can be used in forensic investigation. 
  • Connect study of forensics to relevant cases.  

 

Anchor Text:

  • Forensic Science Fundamentals and Investigations (Bertino and Bertino)

Environmental Science (ACP) (Grades 11-12)

This course surveys key topic areas including the application of scientific process to environmental analysis, ecology, energy flow, ecological structures, earth systems, along with atmospheric, land, and water science. Topics also include the management of natural resources and analysis of private and governmental decisions involving the environment.

 

Prerequisites: Biology, Chemistry or Physics Semester course – 0.5 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Describe the recent trends in human population and resource consumption.
  • Evaluate private and governmental decisions from an environmental perspective.
  • Explain the connection between economics and the environment.
  • Evaluate the effect of human activity of biogeochemical cycles.
  • Analyze how population changes affect the relationships between organisms in an ecosystem. 
  • Assess the importance of biodiversity.
  • Critique the waste management system. 
  • Evaluate the effect of human activity on ecosystems. 

 

Anchor Text: 

  • Pearson Environmental Science

Engineering Principles (ACP) (Grades 10-12)

Engineering Principles is a high school-level survey course of engineering. The course exposes students to some of the major concepts that they will encounter in a post secondary engineering course of study. Students have an opportunity to investigate engineering and high tech careers. This course gives students the opportunity to develop skills and understanding of course concepts through activity-, project-, and problem-based learning. Used in combination with a teaming approach, this learning challenges students to continually hone their interpersonal skills, creative abilities, and problem solving skills based upon engineering concepts. It also allows students to develop strategies to enable and direct their own learning, which is the ultimate goal of education.



Prerequisite:  None Semester course – 0.5 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Employ engineering and scientific concepts in the solution of engineering design problems.
  • Apply knowledge of research and design to create solutions to various challenges.
  • Document work processes and communicate solutions to their peers and members of the professional community.
  • Develop collaboration skills needed for effective project management and development of solutions to real-world problems with team members.
  • Develop and utilize design thinking and innovation strategies to create solutions to real world problems.



Anchor Text:

  • PLTW Principles of Engineering

Marine Science (ACP) (Grades 10-12)

Marine Science is the study of the oceans on planet Earth. The course will begin with a brief look at the history of oceanography and the history of the formation of the earth itself. Students study two of the major divisions of oceanography: geological oceanography and physical oceanography.  Geological oceanography is the study of the seafloor; what it is made of and how it works.  Students will study the concepts of plate tectonics, continental margins, ocean basins, sedimentation, and the structure of the seafloor. Physical oceanography is the study of the movement of the water in the oceans. Students will study ocean currents, waves, and tides.  

 

Prerequisite:  None Semester course – 0.5 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Identify the major explorers who added to our knowledge of the oceans.
  • Explain the structure of the Earth using supporting evidence.
  • Analyze maps of the Earth for evidence of plate boundaries.
  • Explain the development of the Theory of Plate Tectonics.
  • Describe the movement of tectonic plates.
  • Explain the origins and features found on the deep ocean floor.
  • Describe the different types of ocean currents.
  • Explain how and why major storms and hurricanes form.
  • Explain how and why ocean waves develop

 

Anchor Text:

  • Essentials of Oceanography
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