Clay Sherman of the NJ DEP discussed a flood mitigation project along the Hudson River.
Although the specific topics of science courses differ, they all have a common purpose: to prepare the student to think scientifically. The student’s understanding of nature and ability to handle the tools of science develop as the courses become increasingly sophisticated.
The Department maintains a very heavy emphasis on building student skills that enable the students to grow into more sophisticated thinkers. Classroom activities, labs, and tests are designed with components that require application of learned items in new situations and synthesis of knowledge with other concepts in addition to simple recall and comprehension exercises. The proportion of higher-level thinking exercises increases with grade level, as students build upon the foundations established in previous courses. This emphasis on the growth of critical thinking skills enables students to develop to their full potential and begin to become self-reliant learners.
• The Department places an emphasis on active learning by students, making students a partner in their own education. This is accomplished by conducting highly interactive classes where questions are encouraged, by using group response techniques (voting on questions, responding via whiteboards, writing answers to questions in notes, and frequently designing group/cooperative learning exercises). Labs are also, when possible, constructed so that students are able to participate in the design of the procedure (when safety concerns do not present an insurmountable barrier).
• All members of the Department are enthusiastic about science and science teaching, and that enthusiasm is visible to the students. It results in a positive feeling-tone in the classroom, the creation of “discovery” exercises where teachers aim to share the sense of awe and excitement that generated their own interest in science, and increased student motivation. The Department members exhibit a passion for excellence that is exemplified by an ongoing commitment to intellectual exploration and intellectual play, and, importantly, their students often adopt the behavior they model.
• All members of the Department go the extra mile in order to get to know each student, and often design approaches with a particular student’s learning style in mind, both in the classroom and in extra-help sessions.
• The Department has the knowledge and resources to make use of advanced technology, both instructional and scientific, in the classroom and the lab. CBL data collection, spreadsheet simulations and data regression, video capture, and specific high-tech equipment for labs are employed, often in ways that give students hands-on experience with sophisticated devices.
• The Department members model moral and ethical behavior in their classrooms and in other interactions with students, both in groups and individually. Ethical decisions and social responsibility are discussed in the appropriate context, with a particular emphasis on the necessity of scientific literacy in making these decisions in the modern technological world.
• In order to facilitate student development, the Department members maintain a free exchange of ideas and material from colleague to colleague. Teachers are friendly and professional in the way they behave with one another, and they take every opportunity to share resources and engage in intellectual dialogue. Teachers often attend each other’s classes (in full or in part) or just discuss the high and low points of each day in order to exchange ideas about presentation of subject material or teaching techniques. This leads to a Department that is aware of new strategies in their disciplines, and agile enough to adapt to change where it is perceived to be beneficial.
• Generally science courses meet four times per cycle. Three meetings are 90 minutes in length.
A minimum of two years of a laboratory science, including Chemistry 1 (semester) and Biology 1 (semester) is required for graduation. The Science Department also offers college-level Advanced Placement courses, open to selected seniors. Selection is by Departmental approval after considering a student’s demonstrated high scientific aptitude and achievement. Seniors are given enrollment priority over qualified juniors.
Honors Courses: Biology 1 students who meet certain criteria may attempt to achieve an Honors designation. Honors Biology 2/Chemistry 2 and Honors Physics 1 are open only to selected students.
Please note that the selection criteria for Honors Biology 2/Chemistry 2 and Honors Physics encompass more than just the science grade from the previous year. As evaluated by a Departmental aptitude test, grades and effort in other subjects (particularly math and science), and teacher comments, students must have demonstrated (1) quick comprehension and insight; (2) strong problem-solving skills and the ability to make logical connections; (3) the ability to present well-reasoned arguments in a clear, organized fashion; (4) sound fundamental study skills and consistent motivation; and (5) good spatial-relation skills.
Freshmen at Pingry will normally take our four-semester Chemistry/Biology sequence, which consists of Chemistry 1 in the fall of freshman year, Biology 1 in the spring of freshman year, Biology 2 in the fall of sophomore year, and Chemistry 2 in the spring of sophomore year. Descriptions of these courses are below. Students who are interested in science and have been successful in Chem 1 and Bio 1 are invited to register for Honors Bio 2/Chem 2. The Department will select students for this sequence from among registrants based upon criteria enumerated elsewhere. Students may earn an Honors designation in Biology 1 through the procedure described under “Notes on Procedures and Requirements.”
Important Note: An alternative sequence is to take Conceptual Physics in freshman year, then the Chem/Bio/Bio/Chem sequence in sophomore and junior years. This sequence is strongly recommended for students who wish to develop their problem-solving and mathematical skills in a concrete environment before encountering the more abstract realm of chemistry. Students registered for Intermediate Algebra or Intermediate Algebra & Geometry during their freshman year should seriously consider this alternative, as should students with a math grade of B– or below in Form II.
The Pingry School is committed to providing students with the most relevant and realistic exposure to the world of science and research. Our core curriculum, elective courses, and extracurricular experiences work together to create a complete experience for students. All components of the program seek to expose students to scientific literature, encourage students to research answers to novel problems, think critically about experimental design, analyze data, and present their findings. Hands-on participation in lab is essential. Key components of the Pingry School Research Program include the Waksman Student Scholars Program, the S.M.A.R.T. Team Program, the Independent Projects in Molecular Biology (iRT), Journal Club, and the Introduction to Research Design and Methods elective course. Each is headed by a member of the science faculty and targets a specific component of the overall research experience. Together, they serve to provide students with a comprehensive experience.
- Chemistry 1: Bonding & Reactivity (#17405)
- Biology 1: The Molecular Basis of Life & Cellular Biology (#17304)
- Biology 2: Energetics & Adaptation (#17307)
- BIOLOGY 2: MARINE BIOLOGY (#17311)
- Chemistry 2: Quantitative Chemistry (#17404)
- HONORS Biology 2 Mechanisms of Cancer (#17312)
- HONORS Chemistry 2 (#17408)
- Introductory Physics (#17207)
- Physics (#17504)
- HONORS Physics (#17508)
- Science for the 21st Century: Past, Present, & Future (#17612)
- Human Anatomy & Physiology (#17604)
- A.P. Biology (#17609)
- A.P. Chemistry (#17619)
- A.P. Physics C - Mechanics (#17660)
- A.P. Physics C - Electricity & Magnetism (#17661)
- Advanced Physics: Mathematical Modeling & the Visual Display of Quantitative Information (#17630)
- Introduction to Scientific Research (#17631)
- HONORS Environmental Science: Feeding and Fueling 9 Billion (#17613)
- Advanced Geoscience: Climate Change and Atmospheric Disasters (#17620)
- Advanced Geoscience: Tectonic Disasters (#17621)
Major semester course. 1.5 credits. Form III (fall) or Form IV (fall).
In Chemistry 1, the concepts of the structure and interaction of matter are explored in detail. The nature of matter, early observation-based laws, atomic theory, the electronic structure of the atom, periodic properties and trends, VSEPR and orbital hybridization, nomenclature, reaction writing, and reactivity theories (principally acid-base and oxidation-reduction) are discussed. Examples come from inorganic and organic chemistry, with the organic examples providing a basis for the chemistry of life as explored in subsequent biology classes.
A coherent understanding of the fundamentals of chemistry is essential to the full appreciation of more advanced chemistry as well as molecular biology. The foremost intent of this class is to provide students with the skills, vocabulary, and spatial visualization tools required to develop this understanding. A great deal of importance is placed upon the development of critical thinking skills and a thorough understanding of the underlying concepts and connections that give rise to particular chemical and physical phenomena; factual recall and memorization of problem-solving processes is deemphasized. This course has very little quantitative content and includes extensive laboratory work intended to develop proper technique and observational skills.
The course ends on the last day of December prior to Winter Break.
Major semester course. 1.5 credits. Form III (spring) or Form IV (spring). Prerequisite: Chemistry 1 or consent of the Department.
Biology 1 is an introductory biology course with a strong emphasis on molecular biology, concentrating on depth of knowledge and understanding rather than breadth of coverage; it is not a typical survey course. This course and Biology 2 are required for graduation. (For students entering after ninth grade or with a previous year-long biology course, the graduation credit may be satisfied by a course taken previously at another school, or by A.P. Biology at the discretion of the Department.) The course is designed to provide a smooth transition for Middle School students to the study of a specific scientific discipline as well as assist them in developing higher-level thinking skills. The course analyzes fundamental biological processes on different scales. As topics are introduced, emphasis is placed on presenting a framework of knowledge for the student to utilize in solving problems while employing deductive and inductive reasoning.
By using current research and online resources (NCBI, the RCSB’s Protein Data Bank, and molecular modeling software), the course integrates topics including the chemical and molecular basis of life, cell composition and function, cellular energetics, and the molecular biology of the gene. Labs are designed to be inquiry-based and encourage students to design and run original experiments to test their own predictions. In this way students are not merely taught scientific methodology, but actually emulate the process by which scientific research is done. The focus of the lab experience is student-generated exploration and expansion of concepts through hands-on experience. Additionally, the instructors seek innovative ways to facilitate student understanding with online testing, essay writing, project-based learning, and the use of various Internet resources such as student-generated wikis.
Honors: Students in Biology 1 may elect in January to attempt to attain an Honors designation if they earned an A– or higher in Chemistry 1 or an average of A- in all five academic courses during semester 1. To earn an Honors designation, students will be required to
1. attend additional classes during the semester;
2. submit several additional projects assigned by the Department (e.g., research papers, essay responses to questions) that reflect deeper understanding of the material in the course;
3. pass a test on advanced concepts a few weeks before final exams at a high level of competency;
4. maintain a B+ or higher average in the course throughout the year (if the average falls below B+, the student will have one test to restore it to the required level);
5. display the interest, enthusiasm, and curiosity about science expected of an Honors student.
Students must complete all additional requirements satisfactorily to achieve the Honors designation. Students are permitted one “second chance” if a project or test is unsatisfactory; a second unsatisfactory project or test will result in the Department’s withholding the Honors designation. (The unsatisfactory test or project must also be redone satisfactorily.)
Major fall semester course. 1.5 credits. Forms IV-V.
The second half of introductory biology investigates metabolism, nuclear division by mitosis and meiosis, inheritance, population genetics, evolution, and comparative anatomy. The course seeks to enhance a student’s basic knowledge of biology in an evolutionary framework. Students will develop a thorough understanding of the underlying concepts of biology as well as the ability to synthesize the knowledge necessary to understand the forces that shape organisms. They will acquire laboratory skills including experimental design, hypothesis testing, manipulating organisms (both live and preserved), and communicating results.
The course ends on the last day of December prior to Winter Break.
Major fall semester course. 1.5 credits. Forms IV-V
This course offers a basic introduction to marine biology and oceanography as an alternative to Bio 2: Energetics & Adaptation. It will create an understanding of the physical and biological aspects of the ocean as well as examine the current issues in oceanography resources management. The course intends to refine the link between basic biological evolution and adaptation of marine species to their abiotic environment. It will also help students in understanding interactions with biological species and their ecological niche, as well as their larger role in the marine ecosystem. This course will also examine current issues facing our marine ecosystems and particularly examine issues facing the coral reef in Belize.
This course ends on the last day of December prior to Winter Break.
Major spring semester course. 1.5 credits. Forms IV-V.
The second half of introductory chemistry investigates gas laws, stoichiometry, acid-base theory, thermochemistry, chemical equilibrium, rates of reaction, and electrochemistry. The course seeks to enhance a student’s basic knowledge of descriptive chemistry while emphasizing the growth of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Students will develop a thorough understanding of the fundamental concepts and forces that give rise to particular chemical and physical phenomena. Laboratory exercises are designed to acquaint the student with scientific methods and procedures of analytical qualitative and quantitative chemistry.
Major fall semester course. 1.5 credits. Forms IV and V. Open to selected students
Students apply for Honors Biology 2 near the end of their semester in Biology 1 and are selected by the Department according to criteria enumerated above. Acceptance into the course is based on prior performance in foundational courses such as Chemistry 1, Biology 1, and mathematics. Participation in the Biology 1 Honors Projects may also be considered but is not a determining factor. Honors students are expected to have quicker comprehension and insight, more consistent intellectual dedication and maturity, and a greater facility for making logical connections.
The Biology 2 course is predominantly a problem- and project-based course that requires a substantial commitment from the student. This is a semester-long course designed for organized and highly-motivated students who seek a more in-depth understanding of modern molecular biology. This class shifts the scope of learning from the specific modalities of gene expression to larger, systemic human views. The class is taught through the lens of cancer so that students learn first how normal biological systems function and then how mistakes in that system generate this disease state. Foundational information from Biology 1 is built upon as students are taught to focus their research on primary scientific literature, synthesize and apply learned information to new problems, and prepare presentations of breakthroughs in modern molecular biology. The course also requires students to synthesize a deeper understanding of topics such as the cell cycle, sexual reproduction, molecular genetics, heredity, and evolution by integrating information from a variety of sources and focusing on their relevance to society as a whole. Students will learn the necessary skills of a successful scientist such as reading primary data, working collaboratively, evaluating novel and previously unseen problems, assessing the role of science in society and the media, and effectively communicating what they have learned.
Major spring semester course. 1.5 credits. Forms IV and V. Open to selected students.
Students apply for honors Chemistry 2 near the end of freshman year and are selected by the Department according to criteria enumerated above. Acceptance into the course is based on prior performance in foundational courses such as Chemistry 1, Biology 1, and Math. Participation in the Biology 1 Honors Projects may also be considered but is not a primary factor. Honors students are expected to have a higher degree of mathematical sophistication, quicker comprehension and insight, more consistent intellectual dedication and maturity, and a greater facility for making logical connections.
Honors Chemistry 2 is a second semester course designed for motivated students who are interested in and prepared for a more in-depth study of chemistry. A heavy emphasis is placed on the detailed understanding of the fundamentals of quantitative chemistry, including the mastery of stoichiometry, acid-base theory, chemical equilibrium and kinetics, colligative properties, thermodynamics, and the behavior of ideal and non-ideal gases. Laboratory exercises are designed to reinforce material learned in the classroom.
Major year-long course. 3 credits. Form III.
Introductory Physics is a skills-based physics class intended for first-year students in the Upper School. The instruction is tailored toward building specific, transferrable skills that can be used in other science classes and, in some cases, in classes outside the sciences. The mathematical content of the class is designed to reinforce subjects being studied in Intermediate Algebra. Skills are developed in the context of Newtonian Physics; topics may include kinematics, vectors, statics, dynamics, work, energy, momentum, and other traditional first-year physics themes. Additionally, an emphasis is placed on rational reasoning and the ability to write about scientific concepts.
Physics 1 begins to acquaint the student with meticulous conceptual and mathematical analysis of physical phenomena. Physical laws pertaining to the fields of Newtonian mechanics, electricity, and selected additional topics are studied in historical and philosophical context, with extensive laboratory practice. Special emphasis is placed on developing a student’s ability to answer scientific questions with clarity, to form cogent logical connections in an unambiguous manner, to use technical vocabulary properly, and to discuss the answer to the required depth.
Significant time is spent developing and reinforcing the required mathematical techniques, developing the skill of translating a physical situation into the appropriate mathematical relationship, and bolstering and extending the student’s command of problem-solving methods. Topics such as trigonometry, accurate algebraic manipulation of equations, logarithmic and exponential functions, and proportional reasoning are practiced and applied to physical problems. In appropriate situations, students are introduced to the computer software for data regression, numerical solutions to equations, and graphical representations of physical models.
Major year course. 3 credits. Selected students in Forms V-VI. Prerequisites: Generally, A– or above in Honors Chemistry 2, or A or above in Chemistry 2; A or above in an advanced algebra course, or A– or above in Pre-Calculus or Advanced Pre-Calculus; also see note on Honors Courses (above).
Honors Physics 1, like Physics 1, acquaints the student with the detailed conceptual and mathematical analysis of physical phenomena but at a more accelerated pace and with a greater degree of sophistication. Physical laws pertaining to the fields of Newtonian mechanics, electricity, and selected additional topics are studied in historical and philosophical context with extensive laboratory practice. Students must answer scientific questions with clarity, form cogent logical connections in an unambiguous manner, use technical vocabulary properly and discuss answers to the required depth.
In contrast to Physics 1, students in Honors Physics are expected to have a greater degree of mathematical sophistication and physical intuition. Consequently, the course assumes that students possess a greater facility at translating a physical situation into the appropriate mathematical relationships and extends the students’ command and range of these problem-solving methodologies. Topics such as trigonometry, accurate algebraic manipulation of equations, logarithmic and exponential functions, and proportional reasoning are practiced and applied to various physical phenomena. In appropriate situations, students are introduced to computer software for data regression, numerical solutions to equations, and graphical representations of physical models.
Major year course. 3 credits. 4 65-minute class periods per cycle. Forms V-VI.
This elective course may noThe emphasis of this course will be to acquaint students with the tools, skills, and background information needed to evaluate intelligently current or historical scientific claims. Topics studied include mathematical probability, statistical analysis and graphical representation of data, history and philosophy of science, science versus pseudoscience, informal logic and rational argumentation, scientific ethics, and methodologies of science. The topics will be discussed in the context of various scientific disciplines which may include assessment of risk, ecology, health care and medicine, climatology, astronomy, genetics, or others according to the interests of the class and the unfolding of current events.
The goal of this course is to instill an awareness, greater understanding, and appreciation of science and technology as an integral part of everyday life. Students will leave the course with a broad and sophisticated understanding of both the accomplishments and the limitations of science. This course will involve active class discussion, debate, independent research both in the library and on the internet.
t be used to satisfy the graduation requirement of two laboratory sciences.
Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V and VI. Prerequisites: Biology 1 and 2.
Human Anatomy and Physiology is a full-year course in which human anatomy and physiology are studied using a body systems approach, with an emphasis on the interrelationships between form and function at the gross and microscopic levels of organization. The course includes basic anatomical and directional terminology; fundamental concepts and principles of cell biology; histology; the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems; special senses; and the endocrine system.
The course involves a significant amount of laboratory work. The lab experiences include exercises that demonstrate both anatomical and physiological concepts. The course will be supplemented with field trips to provide real-world experiences.
Major year course. 3 credits. Selected students in Forms V-VI. Prerequisites: A full year each of biology, chemistry, and physics. Physics may be taken concurrently.
This course is designed to prepare students to begin their college biology careers with Sophomore-level classes. Students will demonstrate this readiness through their performance on the Advanced Placement examination (which is a requirement for the class) and an independent research project. The primary goals are to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to perform scientific inquiry in Biology. Significant reading assignments and class discussion provide essential knowledge as well as depth of understanding in selected areas. Unlike a traditional survey course, this class does not attempt to cover all areas of biology in order to focus on exploring a smaller number of topics fully and on the development of scientific skills. These skills include observing thoroughly and accurately, stating testable hypotheses, designing experiments, collecting data, performing statistical analysis, and communicating results. To practice and demonstrate these skills, students are required to complete an independent research project of their own design. The project culminates in a poster presentation and publication of a journal article (in the student-research journal).
Major year course. 3 credits. 1 65-minute class period, 3 90-minute class periods, and 1 C.P. per cycle. Selected students in Forms V-VI. Prerequisites: A full year each of biology, chemistry, and physics. Physics may be taken concurrently.
This course continues a student’s investigation of chemistry that began with Chemistry 1 and 2 but at a much more sophisticated level. A.P. Chemistry follows a first-year college-level syllabus, and students are required to take the CEEB Advanced Placement exam at the end of the year. Given the depth and breadth of coverage of the material in the first-year chemistry course (typically taught during the sophomore year), A.P. Chemistry builds upon this strong foundation and often pushes beyond the normal A.P. curriculum into challenging problems and topics often reserved for advanced first-year or second-year college-level courses.
The concepts of electronic structure of the atom, bonding (including valence bond, molecular orbital, and ligand field theories), acid-base theories (Arrhenius, Bronsted-Lowry, and Lewis), reaction kinetics, thermodynamics, oxidation-reduction and electrochemistry, chemical equilibrium, solution chemistry, and solubility are treated in considerable depth. Extensive lab exercises (a minimum of 2-1/2 per cycle) are designed to reinforce lecture topics as well as familiarize students with important qualitative and quantitative analytical techniques and selected special topics.
Major year course. 3 credits. Selected students in Forms V-VI. Prerequisites: A full year each of biology, chemistry, and physics; Calculus AB or BC (recommended — may be taken concurrently).
The goal of the class is to take an in-depth look at the physical, macroscopic world. Students learn to apply physical law and sophisticated mathematical techniques, acquiring the ability to observe phenomena, abstract general rules regarding their occurrence, analyze the phenomena both conceptually and mathematically, and predict the future course of such phenomena. The course syllabus is closely linked to the E.T.S. suggested syllabus for the A.P. C-level mechanics course, and thus students will be required to sit for that exam. Topics covered include formal vector notation, two- and three-dimensional statics, torque, kinematics with differential equations, dynamics, work and energy, impulse and momentum, rotational motion, gravitation (including elliptical orbits), simple and damped harmonic motion, and a brief introduction to electricity and magnetism.
Extensive use is made of the graphing calculator for matrix solution of simultaneous equations, data regression via least-squares fits to appropriate models, numerical solutions of equations, and graphical representation of physical models. One of the major focuses of the course is computer simulation of physical laboratory experiments using spreadsheets and commercially available physics-modeling software. Numerical integration and various force relationships are studied.
Major year course. 3 credits. Selected students in Forms V-VI. Prerequisites: A full year each of biology, chemistry, and
physics; Calculus BC.
The goal of the class is to take an in-depth look at the nature of electrical charge, electrical current, and magnetism. Students learn to apply physical law and sophisticated mathematical techniques, acquiring the ability to observe phenomena, abstract general rules regarding their occurrence, analyze the phenomena both conceptually and mathematically, and predict the future course of such phenomena. The course syllabus is closely linked to the suggested syllabus for the A.P. C-level electricity and magnetism course, and thus students will be required to sit for that exam. Topics covered include formal vector notation, electrical charge, charge polarization, electric force, electric field, field lines, superposition of fields, electric potential, electrical shielding, electrical circuits, resistance, capacitance, inductance, magnetic force and field, and induction. They will be presented in both theoretical and applied contexts.
Extensive use is made of the digital tools including graphing calculators and computers for matrix solution of simultaneous equations, data regression via least-squares fits to appropriate models, numerical solutions of equations, and graphical representation of physical models. One of the major focuses of the course is computer simulation of physical laboratory experiments using spreadsheets and commercially available physics modeling software. Numerical integration and various force relationships are studied. An introduction to core topics from vector calculus in preparation for more advanced studies in college is also included in the course.
Major year course. 3 credits. Selected students in Forms V-VI. Prerequisites: Physics 1 or Honors Physics; Precalculus or Calculus (may be taken concurrently).
Advanced Physics is a college-level course that builds upon the foundation in Newtonian mechanics that is established in Physics 1 (or Honors Physics). The curriculum moves on to an in-depth examination of rotational dynamics and kinematics and gravitation (including Kepler’s laws, the complete derivation of Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, and the analysis of elliptical orbits), topics that are seldom covered in great detail in a first-year introductory course.
The curriculum is built around Microsoft Excel as a tool for analyzing and modeling physical systems. Students develop and complete a number of Excel labs that are designed to explore the fundamental principles and mathematical constructs of physics. Important mathematical spreadsheet techniques (numeric integrals, derivatives and approximations, and data regression) are introduced and applied to increasingly sophisticaed systems. Students are expected to demonstrate a genuine understanding of the spreadsheet methods, to present data in a clear and visually appealing graphical form, and to learn the art of writing technical papers that explain and analyze these systems in a clear and convincing manner. A final project includes the production and presentation of a poster summarizing the methods and results of one of these labs.
Students in Avanced Physics are prepared (and may choose to sit) for the Advanced Placement Physics C exam (Mechanics only).
Major year course. 3 credits. Additional out-of-class time during free periods and CPs will likely be required to complete laboratory procedures. Selected students in Form V-VI.
Students who complete this course will be prepared to work productively in a scientific research laboratory. In this course, students will be designing and implementing research projects. The first project is completed as a group around a common goal in order to expose the students to scientific literature, experimental design, and modern molecular biology techniques. The second course component is design and execution of an independent project; projects may vary in subject but will be shaped by student interest and resources available at the school.
The majority of the course is devoted to working at the laboratory bench. The successful student will develop confidence working with scientific literature, familiarity with experimental design, knowledge and experience with modern techniques in molecular biology, and technical proficiency at a laboratory work station. Students will learn the essential scientific skills needed to maintain a laboratory notebook, collect data, and troubleshoot procedures. In addition, students will be expected to participate in a student-lead, discussion-based journal club in which they will be required to read and analyze scientific literature.
The nature of this work requires that students be dedicated, creative, and willing to commit additional time outside of class to complete experiments and meet with the instructor. Students will be evaluated on their level of preparation and planning for lab activities, the completeness and depth of the lab notebook, written updates and project summaries submitted to the instructor, and overall attitude and participation in the class. Placement into the course is dependent on approval of the department and the course instructor.
Students may register for a second year of research with instructor approval. In the second year, students will conduct an independent research project. In addition to the research project, they will be expected to participate in journal club and will assist the instructor with laboratory protocols and instruction.
Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V and VI. Prerequisites: 2 years of Upper School lab science (open to Forms V and VI)
Within 30 years, the world’s population is expected to exceed 9 billion people, and almost all of the population growth is expected to occur in the developing world. At the same time, billions of people in poor countries seek to raise their standard of living, which historically meant consuming more resources and producing more waste. Honors Environmental Science will investigate our challenge to sustainably feed and fuel an estimated 9 billion people by 2050. We will consider the “triple bottom line” of environmental, economic, and social/ethical consequences of different food and energy choices. The impact of climate change on both food and energy production will also be considered. Local and national examples will be supplemented by case studies that focus on countries such as China, India, Nigeria, Brazil, and Mozambique, considering how their needs might differ from those of Europe and the United States.
Coursework will involve environmental data collection and analysis, discussion and debates, research projects, and presentations. Regular field trips will expose students to the often hidden food and energy systems in the New Jersey area.
Note: This course is not designed to prepare students for the AP Environmental Science exam, but students will be provided an AP exam self-study guide suggesting additional reading and test preparation strategies.
Fall Semester Course. 1.5 credits. Two 65-minute class periods and two 90-minute class periods per cycle. Forms V-VI
The primary goal of the course is to provide students with an awareness and basic understanding of Earth’s natural systems and how these systems interact with human activities. Topics of study will include: climate change, extreme weather (tornadoes & hurricanes), floods and droughts. Students will be expected to answer the following overarching goal: What are the hazards and impacts of natural disasters and why do they occur when and where they do? Students may take this semester alone, or in conjunction with the spring semester course.
Spring Semester Course. 1.5 credits. Two 65-minute class periods and two 90-minute class periods per cycle. Forms V-VI
The primary goal of the course is to provide students with an awareness and basic understanding of Earth’s natural systems and how these systems interact with human activities. Topics of study will include: meteor impacts, volcanoes, earthquakes & tsunamis. Students will be expected to answer the following overarching goal: What are the hazards and impacts of natural disasters and why do they occur when and where they do? Students may take this semester alone, or in conjunction with the fall semester course.