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Science Courses

Biology (Regular & Honors)

Biology provides an introduction to the basic concepts of life science with an emphasis on how they relate to daily life. Topics include ecology, biological diversity, chemistry of life, cellular structure and function, genetics, and human systems. Critical thinking activities, laboratory exercises, and classroom discussions about biology in our everyday lives reinforce this knowledge. Field trips utilize the natural resources of the Adirondack Mountains to apply the concepts to local ecology. Students also gain experience by dissection, solving practical problems, and analyzing experimental data.

Chemistry

Prerequisites – Biology, Algebra I, Geometry, enrolled in Algebra II.

Chemistry develops a foundational understanding of major concepts in the field such as atomic theory, periodic law, chemical bonding, and stoichiometry. Critical thinking activities, laboratory exercises, and classroom discussions about chemistry in our everyday lives reinforce this knowledge. Students also gain experience writing lab reports, solving practical problems, using computer software, and analyzing experimental data.

Honors Chemistry

Prerequisites: Biology, Algebra I, Geometry, enrolled in Honors Algebra II, and teacher recommendation.

Honors Chemistry provides an introduction to the basic concepts of chemistry with an emphasis on application to daily life. The course provides extensive laboratory experience to develop students’experimental skills, and prepares students for college chemistry courses by covering topics in more detail. Topics covered include matter, atomic theory, electrons, chemical bonding, nomenclature, mole concepts, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, gas laws, molecular structures, solutions, equilibrium, acid-base reactions, redox, and nuclear chemistry. The goal of the course is to enhance each student’s problem solving, communication and computer skills. Laboratory skills develop in a series of hands on lab experiments which increasingly require that students apply these skills.

Geology

Geology investigates the structure of the earth with a focus on local landscapes. Topics include the Earth’s formation, mineralogy, plate tectonics, weathering/erosion, mountain building, and surface geomorphology. Labs and field trips are essential components of the course. Local topographic features, including rocks in the High Peaks and Ausable River, will be studied in the field, mostly during the spring semester.

Physics

Physics develops the student’s observational and analytical problem-solving skills. Theoretical concept development is emphasized along with analytical problem solving and laboratory skills. A background in algebra is assumed, and trigonometric concepts are required components of our study. The course covers classical mechanics including kinematics (the description of motion in one and two dimensions), dynamics (the causes of motion, Newton’s laws of motion), and the conservation laws (energy and momentum). In addition, we study topics selected from statics, waves, sound, and light. Several projects through the year integrate physics principles with elements of engineering and technology.

Honors Physics

Prerequisites: Biology, Honors Chemistry, enrolled in Honors Pre-calculus, and teacher recommendation.

Honors Physics develops the student’s observational and analytical problem-solving skills. Equal emphasis is placed on laboratory experience and theoretical concept development. A background in algebra and trigonometry is necessary. The course moves at a faster pace, and covers the following material in depth: classical mechanics including kinematics (the description of motion in one and two dimensions), dynamics (the causes of motion, Newton’s laws of motion), and the conservation laws (energy and momentum). In addition, we study topics selected from statics, waves, sound, and light. Several projects through the year integrate the physics principles studied with engineering and technology to achieve goals.

Environmental Science

Environmental Science is a broad survey class to garner a holistic and ecological perspective of the world in which we live. The goal is to ignite critical thinking and develop the skill set needed to discover answers and analyze options available to us in our communities. Ultimately, this perspective and the accompanying skill set helps build a framework for decision making for use throughout life.

Human Biology

Human Biology takes a hands-on approach to learning the structure and function of human body systems. The course aims to expand the student’s current knowledge of how the human body works, starting with the molecules of life and continuing through all major body systems. During the comprehensive study of the systems, students will understand more fully how their daily activities affect their health now and in the future. Students will also relate how disease leads to loss of functioning in the systems. Labs include dissections of a number of major animal organs.

AP Biology

Offered to qualified students who have successfully completed biology and chemistry with a record of high achievement in the sciences. AP Biology is a challenging full-year college-level introduction to the study of biology. The course is laboratory based, examining life from the molecular and cellular levels through organisms, genetics, and evolution. Throughout the year, students will develop advanced inquiry and reasoning skills, such as designing a plan for collecting data, analyzing data, applying mathematical solutions, and connecting concepts in and across areas of study. All students must take the national AP Exam in May.

AP Environmental Science

The AP Environmental Science course is the equivalent of a one semester, introductory college course in environmental science; it includes geology, biology, ecology chemistry, and geography. Classes include lectures, hands-on activities, student presentations, labs, fieldwork, class discussions, group projects, films and guest speakers. The key themes of the course are co-evolution and energy flow through systems. The first semester explores how these themes play out in ecosystems while the second semester investigates how humans have impacted these ecosystems as well as efforts to mitigate the negative impacts of humanity.

Introduction to Computer Programming and Robotics

This course focuses on basic skill development and requires no programming experience. Students will learn website development and HTML/CSS language structure and progress through lessons in languages like Scratch, JavaScript, Python, and Introductory ROBOT C. A study of modular programming tools like Scratch, MIT App Builder and various robotic command and control software will also be used in the course to help students learn fundamental logic patterns and routines. Students will use HummingBird and Lego MindStorm robots to apply logic skills and programming languages to build autonomous robots. This course will introduce 3D printing tools and develop skills for more advanced applications.

Advanced Computer Programming and Robotics

This course is designed to be an intermediate level course and students should have a basic knowledge or experience with logic and computer programming. Use of robotic tools (HummingBird, and VEX robots) to learn and employ coding languages and logic sequences comprise a considerable portion of the course. Students will become proficient in languages such as Python, ROBOTC, JavaScript and Xcode. This course will employ advanced 3D printing tools and develop skills for 3D model and part design.

Health

This is a one trimester pass/fail course, all students must have a high school health credit to graduate. “Prevention requires knowledge and skill.” Health presents material Northwood students need in order to understand how to become and stay healthy. The one quarter, pass/fail class discusses major health concerns and provides each student the skills necessary to weigh options, make responsible decisions, and to develop behaviors that promote a healthy lifestyle. Students are encouraged to reflect upon their attitudes and behaviors, thereby developing the integrity, honesty, and respect for others.

 

Academics at Northwood