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 for 2017-2018:

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

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. 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: Completion of or parallel enrollment in Algebra II

Honors Chemistry

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 completion of or parallel enrollment in Algebra II

Biology

This course builds upon the concepts studied in Introduction to Biology. Topics include vertebrates, animal behavior, plant diversity, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, heredity and genetics, evolution and human organ systems. Concepts are reinforced with lab 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 AP Biology or for those who wish to be challenged in biology during. The major themes covered are similar to those in the Biology course – evolution, relationship of structure to function, regulation, energy, heredity and genetics, biological diversity, and interdependence in ecology –  but more depth, a faster pace, and sharper insight into how concepts are related and connected are included. The course depends on students reading the material before coming to class, and demonstrating what was learned through discussions, activities and labs. These aid student understanding, content mastery, and 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: Department consent; open only to 11th and 12th graders

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: 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

Introduction to Research and Literature in Science

Trust in the media is low. Scientists struggle to get their message across in a world dominated by special interests. Our views on the critical issues of our time are influenced more by the echo-chamber of social media than by facts. As responsible global citizens, we can do better than to believe everything we hear and to argue someone else’s point of view. We can engage with our surroundings, analyze and critique what we see and hear, thereby developing our own world view and ideas. In this course, students develop the skills to think deeply about some of the biggest issues facing scientists today. They analyze articles from scientific journals and other texts to establish credibility and relevance and identify potential conflicts of interest and weigh these up with the strength of the data available. Students collaborate with others and present their research as individuals and within a team and practice communication skills to make a point and convince others in positive and engaging ways.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Department consent; open only to 11th and 12th graders

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 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: Introduction to Biology, as well as 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: 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 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: Physics, AP Calculus and department consent

Last updated
April 24, 2017