Physical and Life Sciences

BIO 301: Introduction to Biology

This course familiarizes students with the major concepts of biology and focuses on scientific skills. After 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, environmental science, classification and microorganisms, plant structure and function, as well as cell biology.

PHY 301: Conceptual Physics

This course familiarizes students with the major scientific 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 will allow for students to pursue  their interests in physics in 11th or 12th grade.

CHM 401: 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 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.

Prerequisites: Completion of or parallel enrollment in Algebra I

AST 501: Astronomy

This course focuses on fundamental aspects about the universe, how it came to be, and the means by which we observe it. It also examines the night sky and how human understanding of the cosmos has evolved over millennia in various cultures around the world. Utilizing the new school observatory, the course introduces tools and methods to answer questions such as: How far away are stars and galaxies? What are stars made of? What type of planets orbit other stars? What types of galaxies are there? How old is the universe? Is there life beyond Earth? This course is primarily project-based and, in addition to the class day, evening observing classes are held regularly at the observatory.

Prerequisites: Algebra II and at least a year of physical sciences (physics preferred) 

BIO 501: Biology II

This course builds upon the concepts studied in Introduction to Biology. Topics include vertebrates, animal behavior, 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.

PHY 501: 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:  classical mechanics, thermodynamics, waves and optics, electricity and magnetism, Students enrolled in this course should be prepared to take the SAT Physics test upon completion of the course if they so choose.

Prerequisite: Algebra II

BIO 601: Accelerated Biology

This course is designed to provide students with skills needed to enhance their learning of biology, and provide them with knowledge they will be able to use later on in Advanced Studies in Biology or for those who wish to be challenged. Concepts are covered in depth and at a faster pace. Topics covered in this course include human organ systems (with an emphasis on diet and health), biochemistry, cell biology, cellular respiration, heredity and genetics. Concepts are reinforced with lab experiments that are based on real-world problems or situations that students must address by designing and carrying out. 

Prerequisite: Department consent; open to 11th and 12th graders. This course is a prerequisite for BIO 701

CHM 601: Accelerated 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 withe a strong foundation in proportional reasoning are exposed to a fast-paced and rigorous conceptual curriculum that prepares them for an advanced course in chemistry.

Prerequisite: A minimum average of A- in an introductory science course (PHY 301 or BIO 301) and completion of or parallel enrollment in Algebra II. This course is a prerequisite course for CHM 701

END 601: Engineering Design

This capstone course is designed to introduce students to the different engineering disciplines and challenges of Jordan while teaching them engineering design principles through project-based learning. Students work on projects targeting different challenges of Jordan, in close coordination with the instructor in a research capstone type of class.

Prerequisites: Pre-Calculus (or Accelerated Pre-Calculus) and PHY 501 Physics

PHY 601: Accelerated Physics

Accelerated Physics strives to make a connection between everyday physics and the natural world, with numerous connections made through kinesthetic applications and scenario-based learning. This course investigates the topics of Newtonian mechanics: motion, force, energy and momentum conservation; and topics in the physics of electricity, magnetism, waves and optics. Students use both qualitative and quantitative methods to develop understanding of these fundamental concepts, backed by technical and analytical approaches. Laboratory activities are a major component of the course, regular laboratory exercises focus on data collection and analysis in order to make abstract concepts tangible as we investigate phenomena that we see in our everyday life. This course assumes proficiency in basic algebraic skills. Students may take the SAT subject test upon completion of the course.

Prerequisite: Students are eligible for Accelerated Physics only if they have earned an average of A- or higher in CHM 401 or BIO 301. They must also have earned an average of a B+ or higher in Algebra II. This course is a prerequisite course for PHY 701 and PHY 704.

BIO 701: Advanced Studies in Biology (AP)

This course focuses on enduring, conceptual understandings 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.

Prerequisite: BIO 601 and department consent

CHM 701: Advanced Studies in Chemistry (AP)

This course is modeled around a comparable college course that aligns with college level standards. The course curriculum has been developed to promote enduring, conceptual understandings 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 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 such as atomic structure, nuclear chemistry, bonding, equilibrium, kinetics, thermodynamics and electrochemistry. Enrolled students are expected to take the AP Chemistry exam in May.

Prerequisite: CHM 601, Algebra II and department consent

PHY701: Advanced Physics 1 (AP): Algebra-Based

This course is the equivalent to a first-semester college course in algebra-based physics. It is designed to enable 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 also introduces electric circuits. Enrolled students are expected to take the AP Physics 1 Exam in May.

Prerequisite: Algebra II, PHYS 601 and department consent 

PHY 704: Advanced Physics C (AP): 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 course also includes a hands-on laboratory component comparable to an introductory college-level physics course. Calculus is used freely in formulating principles and in solving problems. Enrolled students are expected to take the AP Physics C exam in May.

Prerequisite: PHY 601, Advanced Calculus I and department consent

BIO 800: Neuroscience

This upper level science elective investigates the structures and functions of the brain and nervous system. The course cover in depth each of the five senses so that students develop a scientific understanding of how we perceive the world around us. Additionally, students look at different neurotransmitters in the brain and explore their pathways to determine the significance they have on our actions and behaviors. The second half of the course, we will examine diseases and disorders of the brain, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s so we can see how neural degeneration impacts our lives and those around us. The course will culminate with group projects that allow for in depth research into a topic of interest and will result in multimedia presentations.

Prerequisites or concurrent requirement: An advanced science course including but not limited to one of the following: BIO 601; BIO 701; HWC 651; CHM 701; PHY 701