Science Department

The mission of the Science Department is to provide each student with the 21st century skills necessary to understand and explain concepts and practices in physical and life sciences by engaging them in the use of cross cutting concepts and science and engineering practices in line with the Next Generation Science Standards. Upon graduation, students will have developed critical thinking and problem solving skills to be able to apply their understanding to current events, scientific phenomena, and scientific and technological advances and to be an informed global citizen.

Possible Science Progression*

*Based on a student's final grade in his classes, it is possible to move into different pathways.

Class of 2019, and 2020

9th Grade 10th Grade   11th Grade   12th Grade  
Physical Science Biology or Honors Biology   Chemistry or Honors Chemistry   Science Electives  

Class of 2021, and 2022

Level 1 Pathway
9th Grade 10th Grade   11th Grade   12th Grade  
Conceptual Physics Level 1 Biology Level 1   Chemistry Level 1   Science Electives  
Level 2 Pathway
9th Grade 10th Grade   11th Grade   12th Grade  
Conceptual Physics Level 2 Biology Level 2
Biology Honors
  Chemistry Level 2   Science Electives  
Level 1 Pathway
9th Grade 10th Grade   11th Grade   12th Grade  
Conceptual Physics Honors Chemistry Honors   Biology Level 4   Physics Honors or
Physics Level 4 or
Chemistry Level 4
 
  • Physics
#S113 A/B Conceptual Physics Honors

1 Credit    Level 3 NCAA

This course provides a conceptually-based exposure to the fundamental principles and processes of the physical world. Topics include basic concepts of motion, forces, energy, heat, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of matter and the universe. This STEM course will integrate science and engineering practices in the learning with application to real world situations. Collaborative, inquiry-based strategies will be engaged in that will include laboratory experiments and activities that will be hands-on. Students will integrate these practices to critically think and explain phenomena in our world and the universe while engaging in scientific argumentation to connect content and concepts explaining problems and questions encountered in class. Students will collect and analyze data to find patterns and trends that help to explain our world. Math practices and activities will be challenging on the Algebra I level and will enhance student learning of the content. 

Requirements for placement: previous school record, high math scores on the entrance exam, placement into Level 3 Math courses, and signature of school counselor

  • Physics
#S112 A/B Conceptual Physics

1 Credit    Level 2         NCAA    

This course provides a conceptually-based exposure to the fundamental principles and processes of the physical world. Topics include basic concepts of motion, forces, energy, and the structure of matter and the universe. This STEM course will integrate science and engineering practices in the learning. Collaborative, inquiry-based strategies will be engaged in that will include laboratory experiments and activities that will be hands-on. Math practices and activities will be Algebra I level and will enhance student learning of the content. Students will integrate these practices to critically think and explain phenomena in our world and the universe while engaging in scientific argumentation to connect content and concepts explaining problems and questions encountered in class.

Requirements for placement: placement into Level 2 Math class

  • Physics
#S111 A/B Conceptual Physics

1 Credit    Level 1         NCAA    

This course provides a conceptually-based exposure to the fundamental principles and processes of the physical world. Topics include basic concepts of motion, forces, energy, and the structure of matter and the universe. This STEM course will integrate science and engineering practices in the learning. Collaborative, inquiry-based strategies will be engaged in that will include laboratory experiments and activities that will be hands-on. Math practices and activities will be kept at a very basic Algebra I level and will enhance student learning of the content. Students will integrate these practices to critically think and explain phenomena in our world and the universe while engaging in scientific argumentation to connect content and concepts explaining problems and questions encountered in class.

Requirements for placement: placement into Level 1 Math class

  • Biology
#S24 A/B Biology

1 Credit        Level 4       NCAA

Biology Level 4 is a course designed to provide a foundation for higher level courses in Biology and related life sciences, and as a preparation for further study in a college setting. The goal of this course is to provide a thorough, well-rounded approach to the contents, applications, theories, practices, concepts and connections presented in the College Board AP Biology curriculum. Formal laboratory reports are required of all students taking the course.  Students enrolled in this course are encouraged to take the Advanced Placement Exam. *This is the next step for students(Class of 2021) in the honors track after completion of L3 Chemistry. 

Requirements for placement for the Class of 2020: 90 overall average or better; minimum grade of 90 in Chemistry Level 2 or minimum grade of 85 in Chemistry Honors and minimum grade of 90 in Biology Level 2 or minimum grade of 85 in Biology Honors; signature of Science Department Chairperson.

Requirements for placement for the Class of 2021: minimum grade of 85 in Chemistry Honors; signature of Science Department Chairperson.

  • Biology
#S23 A/B Honors Biology

1 Credit Level 3   NCAA

This accelerated course is for the student of above average ability and achievement.  It covers the same material as Biology Level 2 but in more detail.  Fundamental concepts are introduced, reinforced, and expanded on to prepare the student for the challenges and intensity of advanced level science courses.  Discussion and lab work are the major components of the course and through inquiry-based learning, the student will develop scientific critical thinking and reasoning skills.

Requirements for placement: freshmen with overall 85 average or above; signature of counselor.

  • Biology
#S22 A/B Biology

1 Credit Level 2 NCAA

This course is designed to acquaint the student with selected topics from the areas of traditional and modern biological science.  Students are introduced to theoretical concepts and practical applications of biology.  Discussion and laboratory work are the major components of the course.

Requirements for placement: sophomore status

  • Biology
#S21 A/B Biology

1 Credit Level 1 NCAA

This course is designed to acquaint the student with selected topics from the areas of traditional and modern biological science. Students are introduced to theoretical concepts and practical applications of biology. Discussion and laboratory work are included in the course.

Requirements for placement: sophomore status; signature of
school counselor

  • Chemistry
#S84A/B Chemistry

1 Credit Level 4   NCAA

This Algebra-based course is designed to provide a foundation for more advanced courses in chemistry.  Topics of study include atomic theory; laws and theories concerning the physical and chemical behavior of gases, liquids, solids, and solutions; properties of some of the more familiar elements and their compounds; quantitative measurements illustrating the laws of chemical combination; equilibrium in solutions and qualitative reactions of the common cations and anions.  The course will follow the ECE course syllabus for college credit. It also prepares the student to take the Advanced Placement Chemistry Exam.  

Requirements for placement: 90 in Algebra II Level 2 or 88 in Algebra II Level 3 and 88 in Chemistry Level 3; signature of Science Department Chairperson

  • Chemistry
#S33A/B Chemistry Honors

1 Credit Level 3 NCAA

The Level 3 Chemistry course is an introductory level course similar in design to the standard chemistry course but broader in scope and more detailed in specifics.  It seeks to provide a strong background in the fundamentals of theory and lab work, provide difficult problem-solving situations for the highly competitive student.

Requirements for placement for the Class of 2020: minimum grade of 90 in Algebra I Level 2 or minimum grade of 85 in Algebra I Honors; minimum grade of 88 in Biology Level 2 or minimum grade of 85 in Biology Honors; taking Algebra II/Trig Honors; signature of Science Department Chairperson

Requirements for placement for the Class of 2021: minimum grade of 90 in Algebra I Level 2 or minimum grade of 88 in Algebra I Honors and minimum grade of 90 Conceptual Physics Level 2 or minimum grade of 88 in Conceptual Physics Honors; taking Algebra II/Trig Honors; signature of Science Department Chairperson

  • Chemistry
#S32A/B Chemistry

1 Credit Level 2 NCAA

This course is intended to introduce the student to the fundamentals of the discipline, show him a practical application of his math studies to tangible subjects, and increase his reading ability by offering problem-solving situations that demand his attention, concentration, and organization.  The course emphasizes problem-solving and lab work.  The general topics include but are not limited to:  atomic theory, stoichiometry, mass energy relationships, Periodic Law and acid-base theory. While some lab exercises are qualitative in nature, the majority of the exercises serve to quantify the behavior of matter and energy in both chemical and physical changes.

Requirements for placement: junior status; taking minimum of Algebra II

  • Chemistry
#S31A/B Chemistry

1 Credit Level 1 NCAA

This course introduces the student to general topics in chemistry.  Class lectures, close reading of material, and laboratory work are the major components of the course. The course emphasizes problem-solving and lab work.  The general topics include but are not limited to:  atomic theory, stoichiometry, mass energy relationships and Periodic Law.  While some lab exercises are qualitative in nature, the majority of the exercises serve to quantify the behavior of matter and energy in both chemical and physical changes.  

Requirements for placement:  signature of counselor

  • Physics
#S84A/B Physics Level 4

1 Credit Level 4   NCAA

This course will develop a deep understanding of physics concepts. It is assumed that students are familiar with algebra and trigonometry, and have taken or are currently taking calculus. The course provides a quantitative study of the basic facts and principles of physics and includes a lab component with fundamental training in physical measurements. Topics of study include kinematics, dynamics, circular and rotational motion, oscillations and waves, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics. The purpose of this course is to enable students to earn credit from the University of Connecticut in the course PHYS 1401Q: General Physics with Calculus I. The students will also be prepared take the College Board’s AP Physics C: Mechanics exam after completion of the course.

Requirements for placement: minimum grade of 90 in
Pre-Calculus Honors; completed/concurrently enrolled in Calculus; minimum grade of 90 in Chemistry Level 2 or minimum
grade of 85 in Chemistry Honors; signature of Science
Department Chairperson

  • Physics
#S73A/B Physics Honors

1 Credit Level 3 NCAA

This course is primarily for students who have a strong interest in math, science, technology and engineering.  Physics is the science which deals with natural laws and processes.  It strives to bring about an understanding of the most basic scientific topics, and in doing so, forms a foundation for the sciences. Coursework includes Mechanics/Newtonian Physics.  This course is designed for students who want to build a solid foundation in physics for college.  This is an Algebra-based course. 

Requirements for placement: minimum grade of 85 in Algebra II Honors or minimum grade of 90 in Algebra II Level 2 and minimum grade of 85 in Chemistry Honors or minimum grade of 90 in Chemistry Level 2; signature of Science Department Chairperso

  • Anatomy and Physiology
#S52A/B Anatomy & Physiology

1 Credit Level 2 NCAA

This course will cover the basic patterns of human development and organizational themes.  Material will be taught through a variety of class presentations, discussions, and laboratory work.  Emphasis will be placed on anatomy, physiology, and pathology 

Requirements for placement: minimum grade of 78 in Biology and minimum grade of 78 in Chemistry; signature of the Science Department Chairperson

  • Marine Ecology
#S42A Marine Ecology

0.5 Credit Level 2 NCAA

This one semester course of study will provide an opportunity to investigate the unique nature of marine life, the physical and chemical characteristics of a body of water including temperature, water currents, tides, and sediments, and the history and geology of Long Island Sound as well as the history of ocean exploration.  We will also study the issues of land use and its effects on economics and ecology of coastal communities.

Requirements for placement: completion of Biology; junior or senior status 

  • Forensic Science
#S92A Forensic Science

0.5 Credit Level 2 NCAA

This course is designed to acquaint students to the different aspects of Forensic Science. It will integrate various sciences to solve specific crimes and make sense of complex problems that require logical reasoning and involve numerical data, evidence, and uncertainty. This course embodies concepts in many areas including biology, chemistry, anatomy, genetics, physics, medicine, mathematics, sociology, psychology, and law. Crimes will be analyzed using proper crime scene investigative techniques. Topics include the recognition, identification, individualization, and evaluation of physical evidence such as hairs, fibers, bones, narcotics, blood, glass, soil, fingerprints, documents, firearms, and toolmarks. Class discussion with lab work will be key components of this course.

Requirements for placement: junior or senior status; minimum grade of an 80 in Biology L2 or minimum grade of 75 in Honors Biology L3; signature of Forensics teacher.