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Science

Seeing my students engaged in the important work of analyzing air quality data and excited
to communicate their knowledge to the community…that's what teaching is all about.

Anne Love, Teacher, AP Environmental science

At Concordia, we design our science courses to help students become scientifically literate, appreciating both the value and the limitations of science and technology and encouraging responsible research regarding the efficient use of our world's resources. Each of our science courses incorporates substantial laboratory work in one of our state-of-the-art laboratories.

An aerial view

Using the fundamental concepts of aerospace engineering, students build and test unmanned aerial vehicles after learning the history of flight and the aerospace field.

Clearing the air

AP Environmental students analyze our school’s air using AQI data collected around campus. Our community breathes easier since student scientists presented their air quality findings.

Co-curricular connections

Robotics competitions like the MATE/ROV provides students like me with hands-on experience that develops skills that can be applied to many engineering fields.

Graduation Requirements

Biology

Biology is the study of life. During the course of the year students examine ecology, cells, genetics and evolution. These four areas provide a solid basis for further study in biology. Labs and activities are used to enhance student learning and understanding throughout the year.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: Science 8

Chemistry

Chemistry

In Chemistry, an emphasis is placed on the development of a structured-logical method to problem solving. The program includes concepts and terms that form a basis for high school chemistry. Students are introduced to atomic theory, gas laws, periodicity, molecular theory, acids, bases and salts, solutions and chemical reactions. The relationship of each of these topics to atomic structure will also be examined. Integrated laboratory experiments are designed to reinforce chemistry concepts, to develop a wide range of laboratory skills, data analysis techniques and experimental reporting.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: Algebra 1

Accelerated Chemistry

In Accelerated Chemistry, an emphasis is placed on the development of a structured-logical method to problem solving and a fundamental understanding of chemical principles. Students are introduced to atomic theory, gas laws, periodicity, molecular theory, acids, bases and salts, oxidation-reduction, solutions and chemical reactions. Integrated laboratory experiments are designed to reinforce chemistry concepts, to develop a wide range of laboratory skills, data analysis techniques and experimental reporting. This course prepares students for potential future enrollment in the AP Chemistry course.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Honors Algebra 2 or Honors Pre-calculus

A third credit of science is required and may be completed by one of our AP science courses or one of our other exciting elective science course offerings.

Advanced Placement Courses

AP Biology

This course has two interlocking, primary aims: to provide an opportunity for students to understand biology both as a field of knowledge and a field of inquiry and to prepare students for the AP Biology exam offered by the College Board.

AP Biology incorporates four big ideas that frame and guide the course. The big ideas include: 1. evolution drives the diversity and unity of life, 2. biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce and to maintain dynamic homeostasis, 3. living systems store, retrieve, transmit, and respond to information essential to life processes, and 4. biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties. In addition to these big ideas the practices of science are emphasized throughout the course. Students will develop the skill of supporting claims with evidence and providing sound scientific reasoning to link claims and evidence.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: Two years science (1 year life science and 1 year of chemistry recommended); Teacher recommendation needed for rising sophomores

AP Chemistry

 

AP Chemistry is designed to be equivalent to university-level general chemistry coursework usually taken during the first year of college. Course content is structured around Big Ideas (and associated Enduring Understandings) provided by the College Board.

The Big Ideas include:
1) atomic structure, 2) chemical bonding, 3) chemical change, 4) chemical kinetics, 5) thermodynamics, and 6) equilibrium. Specific learning objectives also address scientific inquiry and reasoning skills described as Science Practices within the AP Chemistry curriculum framework. The laboratory experience is the equivalent to that offered in a typical college course.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: Accelerated chemistry or teacher recommendation

 

AP Environmental Science

 

The goal of the AP Environmental Science course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts and methodologies required to understand the inter-relationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: Two years science (1 year life science and 1 year of chemistry recommended)

AP Physics I

 

AP Physics 1 is an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course that explores topics such as Newtonian mechanics (including rotational motion); work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sound; and introductory, simple circuits. Through inquiry-based learning, students will develop scientific critical thinking and reasoning skills.Guided by the National Research Council and National Science Foundation, the Advanced Placement Program collaborated with college and university educators and AP teachers to develop two full-year AP Physics courses - AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2, replacing the former one-year AP Physics B course. The AP Physics 1 and 2 courses focus on the big ideas typically included in the first and second semesters of an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics sequence and provide students with enduring understandings to support future advanced coursework in the sciences. Through inquiry-based learning and open-ended laboratories, students will develop critical thinking and reasoning skills.Students are expected to spend 25 percent of their time on laboratories experiences.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: Two years of high school science and completion of Honors Algebra 2

AP Physics C: Mechanics & Electricity/Magnetism

This course ordinarily forms the first portion of the college sequence that serves as the foundation in physics for students who are going to major in the physical sciences or engineering. This course is designed to be preceded or paralleled by a course in Calculus. Methods of Calculus are used whenever appropriate in formulating physical principles and in applying them to physical problems. The use of Calculus will increase as the course progresses with extensive use during the second half of the course in formulating principles and solving problems. Emphasis is placed on solving a variety of challenging problems, some requiring Calculus and there is an emphasis on application and analysis in the laboratory as well as in the classroom. Prior Physics coursework is highly recommended.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: Completion of AP Physics 1 and completion or concurrent enrollment in Calculus

Science Electives

Aerospace Engineering*+

Aerospace Engineering is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) course that begins with the introduction to the aerospace field and the history of flight.  The fundamentals of aerodynamics, control systems, propulsion, concepts, and approaches of aerospace engineering are highlighted in this course. In addition, the principles of navigation and aerospace physiology will also be covered to gain better understanding on why Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) is now an important part of aerospace engineering. Practical hands on laboratory experience such model building; testing and flying UAV; flight simulator training on an FAA approved motion flight simulator are an integral part of this course. Emphases will also include interdisciplinary work, work outside of the classroom, process work, group work and applying skills from other courses. Students are to also seek new solutions, creativity and innovation. Students will be make informed decisions about their future in aerospace engineering upon the completion of this course.

Duration: 1 Semester
Credit: 0.5
Prerequisite: Algebra 2 and past or current enrollment in physics, or by teacher approval

AL Chemical Engineering + (offered 18/19, 20/21, 22/23)

AL Chemical Engineering

This course introduces students to chemical engineering through the process of roasting and brewing coffee. The job of a chemical engineer is to design ways to convert matter to a more useful form. In this course students will learn how to take matter in one form, green coffee beans and convert it into a more usable form, coffee. In this lab based class students will perform inquiry experiments that illustrate key chemical engineering principles such chemical kinetics, mass transfer, conservation of energy, fluid motion and colloids. In semester one they will start with engineering analysis and end with design. The semester will culminate in a design project in which students will publish and share their results with the greater coffee community.

In semester 2, students will be utilizing all of the coffee science they have learned in semester 1 and apply it to the roasting and brewing processes for Concordia’s social enterprise, Third Culture Coffee Roasters. Student's will have the opportunity to further pursue rigorous scientific investigations of their choice in the realm of coffee science.

Duration: 1 year
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: 2 years of science, one being chemistry

AL Engineering*

AL Engineering I*

Engineering I: Engineering, Technology and Robotics*

This course builds engineering skills by providing students several realistic projects that require teamwork, problem solving, analytical thinking and creativity to complete. The major goals of the course are to expose students to design process, research and analysis, teamwork, communication methods, global and human impacts, robotics, programming, engineering standards and technical documentation. Students develop problem-solving skills and apply their knowledge of research and design to create solutions to various challenges that increase in difficulty throughout the course. Students also learn how to document their work and communicate their solutions to their peers and members of the professional community.

Duration: 1 Semester
Credit: 0.5
Prerequisite: Two years of high school science and completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2

AL Engineering II*

Engineering II: Engineering and Design*

This is a semester long cross-disciplinary STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) course that will involve both Engineering and the Art of Design. Students will work in teams to solve real problems using skills from across disciplines to communicate the issues, research potential solutions, build prototypes, creatively problem solve and design finished creations that are aesthetically pleasing, robust in their design, ecologically friendly, helpful to the community and simple to use. Students will create several small projects throughout the semester and then ultimately present their final project to a panel of engineers, designers and potential users for review and evaluation.

Duration: 1 Semester
Credit: 0.5
Prerequisite: Two years of high school science, completion of Engineering I, and completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2

AL Epidemiology+ (offered 17/18, 19/20, 21/22

In this class, students will learn how to identify the origins and spread of infectious diseases. We will use statistics and principles of disease transmission to analyze data related to the spread of disease and the development and cycle of pandemics. Students will learn how to design appropriate research studies and analyze the resulting data. This class will also examine recent international epidemics and study how scientists and statisticians join forces to save the world every day.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: completion of Algebra 2 and two years of high school science

AL Independent Lab Research - Life Science

AL Independent Lab Research - Life Science I

Students will develop and carry out independent research in the area of life science under the guidance of one or more faculty members. The goal is to have a project that may be entered into a science fair or a paper that may be published.

Duration: 2 Semesters *
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: Two years of high school science and teacher approval

* students enrolled in synthetic biology first semester can enroll in independent research 1 second semester

AL Independent Lab Research - Life Science II

In this course students who have completed a year of independent research will continue to develop their projects through refinement, additional data gathering, and possibly exploring related questions.

Duration: 1 or 2 Semesters
Credit: 0.5 per semester
Prerequisite: Independent Lab Research I and teacher approval

AL Marine Research*

Note: This class does not meet during the normal school day.

Students who are selected after applying for this unique class will meet for approximately 15 two-hour evening meetings at school during the second semester to complete the necessary training to complete a marine survey of school’s selected reef system during a 10-day trip aboard ship immediately following the end of school. Students will be trained as PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water divers in preparation for the study. Those students who already have dive training may progress to higher levels. Students will then be trained to take longitudinal scientific data on the school’s selected reef system by recognizing and recording 16 global and eight regional indicator organisms that serve as specific measures of human impacts on coral reefs. These indicators include a broad spectrum of fish, invertebrates and plants that indicate human activities such as fishing, collection or pollution. Working in teams, the students’ study will be based on over 30 measures of environmental and socio-economic conditions and ratings of human impacts, a measure of the percentage of the seabed covered by different substrate types, invertebrate counts, and fish counts along four, 20m x 5m belts along the transect. After the survey, the collected data is entered into a global database for use by scientists worldwide and may be published in scientific journals. Students will be expected to produce a scientific poster or paper of the year’s data collection as a final product of their research.

Duration: 1 Semester
Credit: 0.5
Prerequisite: Basic swim proficiency

AL Human Anatomy and Physiology

This course provides students in the first semester with an introduction to the basics of human anatomy and physiology including anatomical terminology, biochemistry and cells, tissue types, the integumentary system, the skeletal system, joint and movement types and the muscular system. Students will become familiar with the function of each system, the structures that allow that system to carry out its function, dissect related animal structures, investigate careers in the health care field and complete placement hours in the Athletic Training clinic. In the second semester students will investigate the nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, lymphatic, immune, digestive and urinary systems. Exercise physiology, neuromuscular function and the fundamentals of biomechanics will be investigated with a focus on the development of a treatment plan for an athlete with a musculoskeletal injury. Students must complete placement hours in the Athletic Training clinic under the supervision of Concordia’s Athletic Trainer.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: Biology and Chemistry or concurrent enrollment in AP Biology or AP Chemistry

Earth & Space Science

Earth and Space Science investigates processes that operate on Earth, how Earth changes over time and how Earth’s systems (atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, biosphere) are intricately interconnected. The study of Earth’s Systems encompasses the processes that drive Earth’s conditions and its continual change over time. The first semester of this course addresses the planet’s large-scale structure, composition and interactions. It also focuses on the mechanisms driving Earth’s internal motions, on the vital role that water plays in all of the planet’s systems and surface processes and weather and global climate change. Students have the opportunity to conduct long-term collaborative group projects including investigating soil and growing organic vegetables in our classroom’s rooftop garden. In semester two, this course investigates Earth’s Place in the Universe, the galaxy and our solar system and how Earth’s set of systems (atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, biosphere) are intricately interconnected. The study of Earth’s place in the universe describes the universe as a whole and addresses its grand scale in both space and time. This idea includes the overall structure, composition and history of the universe, the forces and processes by which the solar system operates and Earth’s planetary history. This course is lab based and students have the opportunity to conduct direct stellar observations using locally controlled telescopes during evening viewing sessions.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: Two years of high school science

Physics

Physics

The study of physics is the basis of all of the other sciences so it should be a part of every student’s educational experience. In this physics course, ideas are presented conceptually with minimal mathematical notation. When used, mathematical equations are shown to be abbreviated guides to thinking rather than algebraic recipes that will produce the correct answer. This physics course is designed for students who wish to pursue non-science careers and require a background in physics and for those students who wish to pursue a science-related field and desire a firm conceptual base for their further education.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: Completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2

Synthetic Biology

Students will learn the principles of synthetic biology and develop basic biotechnology lab skills. Students are encouraged to sign up for Independent research 2nd semester to employ their newly developed skills in a related project.

Duration: 1 Semester (offered Fall semester only)
Credit: 0.5
Prerequisite: AP Biology

*Denotes a one semester course
+Created as a result of Explorations curriculum incubator

Explore the high school course guide and discover unique offerings across the disciplines