Physical and Life Sciences

The study of science at King's Academy instructs students in the fundamentals of investigating phenomena in the world through systematic observation, the gathering of empirical evidence and the quantitative analysis of data. Students learn how to amass a body of objective knowledge about the world through the formulation of scientific hypotheses and their validation through experimentation, thereby creating an understanding of the laws and mechanisms that govern specific fields of inquiry from human biology to solid-state physics.

King’s Academy offers a comprehensive range of science courses. Ninth graders start their journey by taking a one-year introductory course in biology or physics. In the 10th grade students experience the joy of chemistry in an introductory course. Upon completion of these two introductory courses, in addition to courses offered by the Department of Mathematics, students would be prepared to take more rigorous courses in the 11th and 12th grade, such as advanced placement courses in biology and chemistry as well as in honors courses. Students are also required to take one year of introductory physics, which prepares them for taking an advanced physics course.

In their upper class years, King's Academy students are expected to sit for AP and SAT tests in the sciences; upon graduation, they will possess a scientific literacy that enables them to think critically not only about the material questions of science, but also about current issues in the various fields some of which include bioethics, genetic testing, global warming and nuclear power—which attest to the potential of science and technology as well as their limitations.

Courses in this department:

Introduction to Biology

This course familiarizes 9th grade students with the major concepts of biology and focuses on scientific skills. After successful completion of this course, students will be prepared not only to study more advanced biological concepts but also to begin study in other scientific fields. Students explore the nature of science and inquiry, interpreting data and drawing conclusions.  Some of the course topics covered include ecology, evolutionary theory and organismal biology, as well as cell biology.
Course length: One year

Conceptual Physics

This course familiarizes 9th grade students with the major skills needed to explore and investigate the classical laws of physics and its applications. Students are exposed to the following topics: mechanics, thermodynamics, waves and optics, electricity and magnetism. This course focuses on the qualitative understanding of the laws governing the physical universe rather than a quantitative approach. Successful completion of this course with a final grade of A-+ or higher allows students to pursue their interest in physics by joining the AP Physics 1  course in 11th or 12th grade.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Department consent

Chemistry

In this course, students become familiar with the principles of chemistry and scientific inquiry through experimentation. The course traces the developments that led to our modern understanding of atomic theory and its application to diverse topics from kinetics and thermodynamics to acid-base and electrochemical reactions. Students learn to design and conduct their own scientific investigations and present and debate their findings as a scientific community. They develop proportional reasoning skills through repeated application to a variety of topics. Students may take the SAT Chemistry test upon completing the course.
Course length: One year
Prerequisites: Successful completion of or parallel enrollment in Algebra II

Honors Chemistry

In this course, students become familiar with the principles of chemistry and scientific inquiry through experimentation. The course traces the developments that led to our modern understanding of atomic theory and its application to diverse topics from kinetics and thermodynamics to acid-base and electrochemical reactions. Students design and conduct their own scientific investigations and present and debate their findings as a scientific community. Students who have a strong foundation in proportional reasoning are exposed to a fast-paced and rigorous mathematical curriculum that prepares them for the level of mathematics required in AP Chemistry or in the SAT Chemistry test.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: A minimum average of A- in the first two terms of the 9th grade science course and successful completion of or parallel enrollment in Algebra II

Biology

This course builds upon the concepts studied in Introduction to Biology in order to prepare 11th and 12th grade students for college. Major topics covered include vertebrates, animal behavior, plant diversity, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, heredity and genetics, evolution and human organ systems. Concepts are reinforced with laboratory investigations and activities, as well as term projects which provide students with the opportunity to go beyond what the course requires them to learn and to apply what they have learned. Students in this course may take the SAT Biology test if they so choose.
Course length: One year

Honors Biology

This course is designed for students who want to prepare for the AP Biology course or for those who wish to be challenged in biology during their junior or senior year. The major themes covered are similar to those in the Biology course, and they are evolution, relationship of structure to function, regulation, energy, heredity and genetics, biological diversity, and interdependence in ecology. However, more depth, a faster pace, and sharper insight into how concepts are related and connected are included. The course is student-oriented in that it depends on students reading the material before coming to class, and demonstrating what was learned through discussions, activities, and labs. These discussions, activities and labs are meant to aid student understanding and mastery of content as well as the synthesis of proper relationships between major biological themes. A background in cell biology, molecular biology and chemistry is helpful but not required as long as the student has a high affinity for the sciences and is willing to put the time and effort into learning outside the classroom.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Open to 11th and 12th graders. Department consent required.

Physics

The purpose of this course is to explore and investigate the classical laws governing the physical universe. Students examine and seek to explain various physical phenomena based on these fundamental laws. The course exposes students to the following topics: kinematics, thermodynamics, waves and optics, electricity, magnetism, and atomic and nuclear physics. Students enrolled in this course are expected to take the SAT Physics test upon completion of the course.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Algebra II

Honors Physics

This course is an accelerated version of the regular physics course, and as such, is intended to replace the regular course, not as the next course in a sequence. Students who have taken Physics will not be admitted into Honors Physics at a later point. Students enrolled in this course are expected to take the SAT Physics test upon its completion.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Students are eligible for Honors Physics only if they have earned an average of A- or higher in the first two terms of Chemistry or Biology. They must also have earned an average of A- or higher in Algebra II

Marine Biology

Marine biology is a term-long elective course for students who have demonstrated interest and proficiency in the study of biology. The course covers an introduction to the study of life in the seas with special emphasis on life in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aqaba, physical oceanography and the impact of humans on the oceans (specific to the Gulf of Aqaba and globally). Science communication via reading, writing, field technologies, labs, oral presentations and illustrations is required in addition to field trips to Aqaba and an individual project that allows students to address individual interests. Students taking the course are expected to be self-motivated and interested in oceans and the life “downstairs”!  The course explores the creatures of the Gulf of Aqaba, learning about their habitats, their physical and behavioral characteristics, and the marine environment in which they live. Many great activities are planned for this class to ensure that it is both fun and educational.
Course length: One term 
Prerequisites: One year each of Chemistry and Biology

Astronomy

This course serves as a comprehensive survey of the universe as we know and understand it. Students conduct observations of the night sky using on-campus and remote telescopes. Topics covered in this course include the formation and development of stars, solar systems and planets, the nature of light, optics and historical astronomy.
Course length: One term

Introduction to Biotechnology

Introduction to Biotechnology integrates the fundamental concepts of life and physical sciences together with the basic laboratory skills necessary in the biological sciences. The course introduces students to the fundamentals of biotechnology, current trends and careers in biotechnology, and the business, regulatory and ethical aspects of biotechnology. The knowledge and skills gained in this course will provide students with a broad understanding of biotechnology and its impact on society. Introduction to Biotechnology is intended to meet the needs of a diverse body of learners. The target audience includes all students who choose postsecondary education, providing them with foundational concepts and established laboratory protocols in a broad spectrum of disciplines such as biology, chemistry, biochemistry, biotechnology, microbiology, molecular and cell biology, genetics and immunology. In addition, the course has the potential to foster scientific literacy and to provide entry into the biotechnology career field.
Course length: One term
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Introduction to Biology; only 11th and12th graders can take this course

YClass (Project-Based Learning)

This course is designed to enhance the entrepreneurial skills of 11th and 12th grade students through a project-based interdisciplinary approach to problem solving, collaboration and creativity. The Socratic instruction focuses on 21st century skills, guiding students to become autonomous in their problem-solving abilities. Students are asked to take part in numerous projects that require them to pose the question “Why?” Answers are derived through their own cultivation of ideas, both qualitative and quantitative assessment of data and applications to the real world. The course asks students to plan, collaborate, discuss, think critically, formulate hypotheses, set expectations and present in a variety of mediums. Additional learning experiences include studying current issues and involving community organizations.
Course length: Spring term
Prerequisites: Department consent

AP Biology

AP Biology focuses on enduring, conceptual understanding and the content that supports it. This approach enables students to spend less time on factual recall and more time on inquiry-based learning of essential concepts. It enables them to develop the reasoning skills necessary to engage in the science practices used throughout their study of this course. Students in AP Biology also develop advanced inquiry and reasoning skills, such as designing a plan for collecting data, analyzing data, applying mathematical routines, and connecting concepts in and across domains. The material covers diverse topics, from the inner workings of a cell in biochemistry and heredity to how organisms have evolved and learned to interact with one another. Lab work is an integral component and students are exposed to simple experiments such as diffusion and osmosis to more complex experiments that deal with molecular biology. Enrolled students are expected to take the AP Biology Exam in May
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Introduction to Biology, basic knowledge of chemistry and department consent

AP Chemistry

AP chemistry is a course modeled around a comparable college course that aligns with college level standards. The AP curriculum has been developed to promote enduring, conceptual understanding by implementing inquiry-based learning. This approach helps students to develop advanced inquiry and reasoning skills necessary to engage in the science practices used throughout the AP course and in real life. The course explores major topics in modern inorganic chemistry at the first-year college level. Through extensive lab work, independent reading and class discussion, students investigate topics in atomic structure, nuclear chemistry, bonding, equilibrium, kinetics and electrochemistry. Enrolled students are expected to take the AP Chemistry exam in May.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Chemistry, Algebra II and department consent

AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based

AP Physics 1 is the equivalent to a first-semester college course in algebra-based physics. It is designed to enable AP students to develop a deep understanding of the content and to focus on applying their knowledge through inquiry labs. The course covers Newtonian mechanics (including rotational dynamics and angular momentum; work, energy, and power; and mechanical waves and sound. It will also introduce electric circuits. Enrolled students are expected to take the AP Physics 1 Exam in May.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Algebra II and department consent

AP Physics C: Mechanics

This course is designed to simulate college-level study for those students who show particular strength in mathematics. It aims to develop students’ ability to analyze, evaluate and synthesize scientific information. It covers the following topics: Kinematics, Newton’s laws of motion, work, energy and power, system of particles and linear momentum, circular motion and rotation, and oscillations and gravitation. The AP Physics C course also includes a hands-on laboratory component comparable to introductory college-level physics laboratories. Calculus is used freely in formulating principles and in solving problems. Enrolled students are expected to take the AP Physics C exam in May.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Physics, completion of AP Calculus and department consent

Last updated
February 21, 2016