Our math and science courses are typically yearlong and involve laboratory and experiential work. In all classes, we strive to make our students informed citizens of the modern world. We believe that students must understand where knowledge comes from, how it can be effectively used in society, and how scientific and mathematical thought will be incorporated into their lives and careers.
Current Courses – Math
Algebra I This course is the foundation for high school mathematics courses. Topics include the real number system, simplifying expressions, solving multi-step equations, evaluating and solving linear, quadratic, radical, and rational equations, solving one-variable, compound, linear, and absolute-value inequalities, and solving systems of equations. Real world applications are presented within the course content, and a function’s approach is emphasized. The successful Algebra I student will be prepared for Geometry.
Algebra II The last sequential math course in the high school curriculum, in that while it prepares students to go on to Pre-Calculus, it also gives the student the background to take Statistics in addition at a later time in their math careers (which is highly encouraged, as just about everyone would benefit from a basic understanding of Statistics). Topics of the course shall include but are not limited to in-depth analysis of functions (linear, quadratic, rational and so on) and of systems of functions. Exponential and logarithmic functions as well as sequences and series are included, as well as an introduction to basic statistical ideas (normal probability, measures of center and spread, and basic inferential concepts and the like).
AP AB Calculus This is a college-level calculus course designed to meet the Advanced Placement curricular requirements for Calculus AB (equivalent to a one-semester college course). The major topics of this course are limits, derivatives, integrals, and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. We will investigate and analyze course topics using equations, graphs, tables, and words, with a particular emphasis on a conceptual understanding of calculus. Applications, in particular to solid geometry and physics, will be studied where appropriate.
AP BC Calculus The development and subsequent use of calculus to understand and to represent many aspects of the world around us has opened opportunities and encouraged advancements beyond the comprehension of those who first defined its use. My primary objectives in the classroom are to inspire in students an appreciation of the power and beauty of calculus; to enable them to understand and to apply the big ideas of limits, derivatives, integrals, and series; and to give them a strong foundation for future study. This foundation will emphasize the development of skills and the communication of concepts. It will cover—at a minimum—the structural components of the curriculum framework from Calculus BC as defined by the College Board.
Business Math This class will be looking at how math is used in the real world in and for business, construction and home economics to assist the student in learning how best to utilize the math needed to navigate life from graduation forward. There will be many real-life situational projects that we will do to see how best and how many ways there are to budget. We will study the financial systems and have started a stock market analysis project to try and demystify how the world financial markets work. Also, how banking systems work from all aspects from checking accounts to how mortgages work. Basically, we will be trying to strengthen the student’s ability to use math effectively in their lives and have the understanding and knowledge to make smarter decisions when it comes to how to navigate life’s budget.
Functions, Statistics, and Trigonometry (FST) Functions, Statistics, and Trigonometry (FST) is designed to serve as a bridge between middle and higher-level mathematics courses. The course will include, but not be limited to linear and quadratic functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, and solving systems of such equations. Also included will be basic-to-intermediate trigonometric functions with an emphasis on real-world applications. Finally, we will explore basic probability, binomial and normal probability distributions and how to interpret statistical information in a sensible way.
Geometry We will bridge the gap between the abstraction of Algebra I and the physical world of Geometry by looking at how we can graph the language of math to show how the numbers work and can be physically represented. The large topics covered this year will be the following: the building blocks of Geometry (point, line and plane), constructing geometric shapes and figures, line and angle properties, triangle, polygon and circle properties, the Pythagorean Theorem, and basic trigonometry.
Pre-Calculus This course serves as the bridge between topics covered in Algebra II and those that comprise Calculus. Some course topics will include but are not limited to more rigorous analysis of functions from Algebra II, such as polynomial, geometric, logarithmic and trigonometric functions. Parametric and polar equations will also be introduced, as will basic introductory topics from Calculus such as limits and the concept of derivatives. The exact pacing and order of topics covered will be driven by both mathematical necessity (if you need to understand A before B then A comes first) and my own assessment of where my students are at any given moment. While breadth of understanding is of course valued, it is depth of understanding that should be our collective goal here, and I will set the daily schedule of how we operate with this in mind.
Statistics Knowledge of statistics is important for people from all walks of life and within a wide range of academic fields of study such as biological and environmental sciences, physical and behavioral sciences, medicine, business, and economics. The course will include but not be limited to the study of data analysis, probability, pattern analysis, experimental design, simulation, and statistical inference. An emphasis on the gathering of data, both categorical and quantitative, from the real world around us will be core in this course, as well as rigorous ways to analyze and explain it in a variety of ways.
Current Courses – Science
Biology This class is designed to explore the workings of living organisms on multiple levels, including molecular, cellular, organismal, and ecological, and to explore overarching themes that connect each level to the next. Four interdisciplinary units – the bubonic plague, cancer, viruses in the body, and the Serengeti Plains – serve as frameworks to explore topics such as cell structure and function, genetics, molecular biology, energy transformations, evolution and classification, biochemistry, and biodiversity. Current scientific research is introduced throughout the course, and students will explore the development of scientific thought and its applicability to situations and problems faced by society today.
Chemistry This course is taught using a Modeling curriculum in which we follow the historical discovery of chemical principles. This course is structured differently from a standard high school chemistry course. In traditional chemistry curricula, students are introduced right away to the modern model of the atom and asked to accept all its complexities as a matter of faith. By contrast, our approach is to start with a simple model of the atom and realize that our model must evolve as the need for a better one arises. By examining data and through carefully-tailored inquiry experiments, we will develop increasingly detailed models of the particulate nature of matter, the role of energy, chemical reactions, and subatomic structure.
Environmental Science This year-long course will provide an overview of current topics in environmental science. As the human population grows larger and standards of living rise around the world, it is important that we understand the impacts of human activities upon the earth’s natural systems. While many environmental concerns span multiple disciplines, a strong grasp of the underlying science is essential for today’s environmental problem-solvers. In this class, we will explore environmental issues that are both global and local in scale, with an emphasis on understanding the physical, chemical, and biological basis of each issue. We will also make connections throughout the course to larger ideas such as sustainability, environmental ethics, and environmental justice. During labs, projects, and other activities, students will gain hands-on experience both in the field and in the laboratory, and apply science concepts to real environmental problems in our community. Work in this class will include regular reading and writing assignments, in-class quizzes and tests, and occasional larger assignments (e.g., research papers, debates, group projects, long-term lab reports).
Human Origins This course serves as a basic survey of paleoanthropology. Topics include the history of the discipline, population genetics, osteology, taphonomy, archaeology, comparative hominid anatomy, the biological roots of human nature, and the origins of art and language. Assignments include, predominantly, papers and presentations that require independent research and analytical thought.
Physics The study of our reality by applying an understanding of the properties of motion, matter, energy and force. Many concepts in Physics are expressed in mathematical terms and are subject to mathematical reasoning. Why this is, and what the advantages thereof are, is a major focus of the course. Wherever possible, this course will be taught in a “data first” way, meaning that while labs will be about collecting data in as useful ways as possible, class will often be about using lab results to build a new idea, not to confirm one already given by a book or some other source. After some initial handholding, students will be encouraged to participate in the creation of their own lab experiments. Though the teacher will generally contribute to the path of exploration that the labs represent somewhat more than the students do, it will often be by asking questions rather than stating facts. Even during class, the course will focus on analytical and critical thinking skills within the realm of physics over and above the learning of a set of convenient facts.
Psychology This course is intended to provide a survey of fundamental concepts in the field of psychology. We will explore the history of psychology as a discipline, learn how to design effective psychology experiments, explore careers in psychology, and survey the major areas of study in the field today.