Science

The Science Department of La Reina High School prepares girls for the local and global challenges of the 21st Century by teaching the practices of tomorrow’s scientists and a detailed knowledge of the natural world.

Our students prosper in our environment because we teach girls in ways that they learn science and engineering best. For example, La Reina science students participate in collaborative group work to build critical thinking skills, do STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) projects to solve real-world problems, share ideas about how to learn using technology, and use their creativity to investigate lab topics. Students are given the opportunity to understand and appreciate Catholic/Christian values as they build an understanding of the natural world in these ways.

1:1 technology is used to motivate, to maximize learning through interactivity, to measure lab data using probe-ware, and to reach beyond our classroom walls.

Starting in 2013/14, the science curriculum content is being thoughtfully realigned with the new College Board Standards for Science Success. The science skills of each course build Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) throughout the grades. The eight NGSS skills and practices are:

  1. Asking scientific questions and defining engineering problems
  2. Developing and using models
  3. Planning and carrying out investigations
  4. Analyzing and interpreting data
  5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
  6. Constructing explanations for science and designing solutions for engineering
  7. Engaging in argument from evidence
  8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information  

 Course Code:  C=College Prep, H=Honors, AP-Advanced Placement

Jr. High Life Science 7th Grade

Our students construct their knowledge of living organisms, cells, biomedical engineering, and the human body while building the eight skills of engineers and scientists. They perform laboratory investigations while learning to write analytically. Students study cellular biology, ecology, Mendelian genetics, how genes are translated into proteins, evolution, and diversity. STEM units include learning to think like an engineer, developing biomedical devices, and measuring environmental data to draw scientific conclusions.

Jr. High Physical Science 8th Grade

This lab-based foundation physical science course includes exploring properties of matter, motion and forces, the structure of the atom, and chemical reactions. We emphasize hands-on investigations to encourage our students to apply the eight skills of scientists including specific STEM modules on rocketry and engineering skills. Current technologies, including appropriate iPad applications, probe-ware, and simulations, provide a variety of stimulating approaches.

 

Jr. High Physical Science 8th Grade-H

This lab-based physical science course, introducing physics, chemistry, and STEM, covers the same content as listed in Physical Science 8 but adds electricity and waves. Rocketry, engineering solutions and other STEM modules will be explored. Mathematical modeling applies simple algebra to formulas and graphs. Current technologies, including appropriate iPad applications, probe-ware, and simulations, provide a variety of stimulating approaches.

Biology/Lab-C

This college prep lab course emphasizes core concepts in molecular, cellular, evolutionary, and ecological biology. STEM projects are integrated into the curriculum and extended lab time allows students to plan and conduct hands-on experiments at their own pace. The course is designed for students to build the eight major skills of a scientist in practical ways. Topics include life chemistry, cell structure and function, molecular biology, genetics, ecology, evolution and human biology. This course satisfies the life science requirement for graduation and a laboratory science requirement for the University of California.

Biology/Lab-H

This accelerated lab course develops a thorough understanding of molecular, cellular, evolutionary, human, and ecological biology. STEM projects are integrated into the curriculum. Extended lab time allows students to plan and conduct in-depth experiments, to develop critical thinking skills, and analyze scientific evidence. Investigations include hands-on biotechnology activities, studying genetics using Fast Plants and DNA evidence, exploring ecology and energy flow using butterflies, and simulating evolution of the Galapagos Islands. This course satisfies the life science requirement for graduation and a laboratory science requirement for the University of California. This class is limited to 28 students.

Biology/Lab-AP

The four Big Ideas of the revised AP curriculum are explored using inquiry labs, reading, and writing. Students work collaboratively to write using scientific argumentation skills, understand historical research papers, perform detailed mathematical analyses, and design, conduct and analyze experiments. In-depth understanding of key content areas is developed in the fields of biochemistry, cell structure and function, molecular biology, genetics and heredity, development and evolution, ecology and energetics. The course follows foundation courses in biology and chemistry. It is expected that students will do some independent work and take the Biology Advanced Placement examination. The class is limited to 28 students.

 

Chemistry/Lab-C

Students study the laws governing chemical reactions using a qualitative approach which emphasizes an understanding of core concepts. STEM projects are integrated into the curriculum. Extended lab time is used to develop the eight major skills of a scientist including designing and performing guided experiments, and data analysis. The course covers the following topics: the nature of matter, chemical reactions, periodicity and bonding, acids and bases, and basic organic chemistry. This course satisfies the physical science requirement for graduation and a laboratory science requirement for the University of California.

Chemistry/Lab-H

Our students study the laws governing chemical reactions using a quantitative approach which emphasizes critical thinking skills and is at a faster pace than the College Prep course. STEM projects are integrated into the curriculum. Extended lab time is used to develop the eight major skills of a scientist including designing and performing guided experiments, and data analysis. The course covers the following topics: the nature of matter, chemical reactions, periodicity and bonding, acids and bases, oxidation-reduction, and basic organic chemistry. This course satisfies the physical science requirement for graduation and a laboratory science requirement for the University of California.

 

Anatomy & Physiology/Lab-C

Students who are interested in learning more about the human body explore this course through lecture, case studies, investigative and interactive projects and iPad apps, and concept building activities. Investigative labs explore why isotonic saline is used in IV drips, how to measure lung capacity, and how to analyze the spread of disease by epidemiology. STEM projects are integrated into the curriculum, and students refine their skills in using evidence to engage in argument. Topics include the major body systems: circulatory, nervous, digestive, skeletomuscular, immune, endocrine, and reproductive. This course satisfies a laboratory science requirement for the University of California. The class is limited to 28 students.

Earth Science I/Lab-C

This laboratory course explores geology and oceanography. Students will gain an understanding of the patterns and processes that form the Earth and oceans while continuing to develop the eight skills of engineers and scientists. Topics include plate tectonics, mineral and rock identification and ocean processes. This course satisfies one semester of the physical science requirement for graduation.

Earth Science II/Lab-C

This laboratory course explores atmospheric science and astronomy. Students gain an understanding of the patterns and processes that determine our atmosphere and result from the Earth’s place in the solar system and galaxy. Topics include weather patterns, season, the origin of the universe and Earth history. STEM projects are integrated into the curriculum. This course satisfies one semester of the physical science requirement for graduation.

Environmental Science-AP

This course is designed to explore the interrelationships in the natural and human-made environment. Critical thinking skills and understanding will be developed through discussion, inquiry-based learning, small field trips, and case studies. Students will explore how to analyze environmental problems, as well as prevent them. The course will explore balanced approaches to the use of energy resources through personal decision-making, civic and cultural debate, and sustainable economic productivity. Biodiversity, populations, geological cycles, renewable and nonrenewable energy, water resources, land use and pollution will be studied. It is expected that students will participate in some field work and take the Environmental Science Advanced Placement examination.

Physics/Lab-C

This algebra-based college prep physics course emphasizes fundamental concepts in the topic areas of mechanics and motion, heat, waves, electricity and magnetism, and atomic structure. Students are encouraged to develop questions and design experiments to collect and analyze data. Current technologies, including appropriate iPad applications, probe-ware, and simulations, are used to enhance traditional instruction, and STEM projects are integrated into the curriculum. This is a University of California approved laboratory science course. The course satisfies the school graduation and college admission requirement of one year of laboratory science study.

Physics/Lab-AP

This new in-depth course covers Newtonian mechanics (including rotational dynamics and angular momentum, topics not previously covered in AP Physics B); work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sound; and an introduction to electrical circuits. The curriculum is organized around seven foundational big ideas in physics that are explored using the principles of scientific inquiry to develop student understanding. AP Physics B is no longer offered by the College Board. Students will be expected to take the AP Physics 1 exam which will be offered by the College Board for the first time in 2015.

Faculty

Ms. Hannah Robinson
Department Chairperson
Life Science 7

Mrs. Jennifer Ardy
Chemistry-C
Chemistry-H

Mrs. Wendy Axsen
Biology-C & H
Biology-AP

Mrs. Anita Green
Anatomy/Physiology-C

 

Ms. Nisha Parmar
Physical Science 8
Biology-C
Earth Science I-C
Earth Science II-C

Mrs. Marilyn Usher
Biology 8-H
Physics-C 
Physics-AP


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