Every decision we make is based on the processes integral to science. In this light science is one of the most important areas of study, because it provides the structure and critical thinking skills necessary in every subject. The challenge to our department is to provide a solid science foundation for students to build upon, and to convey to students that science is a process; a ‘way of knowing’ that is integral to what and who we are as humans. Our students must integrate scientific reasoning and methodology into other areas of their high school study so that they will come to view science in broad context with history, world events and global change. The future depends on it.
There are three primary goals that are at the core of the department’s mission. First, it is imperative that NSHA HS students become scientifically literate. This involves learning a number of finite important general principles and theories that will serve as scaffolding on which they will be able to build further scientific knowledge. Second, students must develop skills in using these fundamental principles in a process of inquiry and discovery. This requires the rigorous application of the scientific method in investigating natural phenomena. Third, our students will learn critical thinking skills and become creative problem solvers as they apply their scientific understanding to real world situations in conjunction with both personal and societal ethical decision-making.
All science courses include a laboratory component which underscores the idea that ‘science is a verb’. Science students are required to complete the lab sequence to earn course credit. Homework assignments include textbook readings for preview or review, reading articles on current topics, completing activity sheets for content reinforcement or data interpretation and gathering information through online resources. Preparation for standardized exams is integrated into our courses and we encourage our students to take Science SAT II achievement exams and AP Science exams.
Our science faculty are subject specialists steeped in enthusiasm and current in modern pedagogical practices. We invest heavily in materials for self-motivated study and test prep. We coordinate with science research, instructional technology and special services to optimize learning for our students. We make ourselves available for extra help. We also help organize The Science Society, our extra-curricular science enrichment program which combines out trips, in-house workshops and lectures by famous scientists with student ideas for activities. We also mentor and encourage our students to participate in numerous science competitions and help place students into enriching science summer experiences, such as mentored lab research opportunities, internships and enrichment courses.
101 Intro to Biology
The Introduction to Biology course presents a comprehensive, modern view of life science and does not follow the NYS Living Environment course which we find limiting. The main units covered include taxonomy, biochemistry, cell biology, homeostasis, adaptation with respect to physiological functions, perpetuation of life through reproduction and development, genetics, evolution as a unifying principle, and interactions between organisms and their environment. Additionally, students will become familiar with experimental research in biology through lab and lecture. This includes the application of the scientific method, research methods in biology, and the consideration of classical experiments that provide a historical context in which discoveries have been made, and an opportunity to both discover and apply biological concepts. The course meets 6 periods per week.
Biology Lab Demonstration (Pictured) – In the context of the Respiration/Gas Exchange Unit ninth grade students have the opportunity to witness how smoking can negatively affect lung function using an inflation device on an actual animal lung specimen treated to mimic a smoking/emphysemic lung.
201 Introduction to Chemistry
The Tenth Grade Chemistry course presents a modern view of chemistry with major emphasis on understanding matter, its transformations and interactions. Chemistry for many students is the first foray into abstract and predominantly theoretical science and once understood catalyzes incredible enthusiasm and momentum. The Intro Chemistry course covers the following units: physical behavior of matter, atomic theory, bonding and periodicity, chemical arithmetic, solution chemistry, kinetics and equilibria, atomic structure, acid-base reactions, reduction and oxidation and our favorite, organic chemistry. Students are required to take and keep good notes,
Become comfortable and proficient in conducting chemistry laboratory activities and complete required homework assignments that reinforce daily lessons. The course meets 6 periods per week.
Taught by a medical doctor, this new course will focus on the structures and functions of the human body. The course will be taught via organ system approach and will integrate anatomical and fundamental concepts of each organ and how they affect the functioning of body as a whole. Organ systems will include cardiovascular system, respiratory system, renal system, gastrointestinal system, lymphatic and immune system, endocrine system, integumentary system and reproductive system.