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 Algebra II is the last truly sequential 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. Topics of the course shall include but are not limited to in-depth analysis of functions (linear, quadratic, rational, etc.) and systems of functions. Exponential and logarithmic functions as well as sequences and series are included, as well as an introduction to basic statistical ideas such as normal probability, measures of center and spread, and basic inferential concepts.
Functions, Statistics, and Trigonometry 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.
Statistics Knowledge of statistics is important for people in 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 explain it in a variety of ways.
Pre-Calculus This course will build on the foundation of your Algebra II math course and will prepare you for Calculus. Topics include characteristics (domain, range, roots, end-behavior, limits, intervals of increasing and decreasing, and graphs) of linear, quadratic, cubic, higher-degree polynomial, exponential, logarithmic, absolute-value, rational, radical, piecewise and trigonometric functions. The rule of four, which refers to representing mathematical functions with graphs, tables, equations, and words, will be used. In addition, you will learn about geometric and arithmetic sequences and series, and be introduced to topics of Calculus.
AB Calculus The successful completion of the course will enable students to demonstrate a solid understanding of pre-calculus concepts, understand the relationship between the numerical, graphical, algebraic, and written representations of functions, understand how limits are used to find the derivative, relate the algebraic definition of a derivative to its meaning as an instantaneous rate of change and the slope of a tangent line, use differentiation techniques to sketch curves and solve optimization problems, explain the connection between differential calculus and integral calculus, explain solutions to calculus problems in a well-organized and thorough manner, both written and orally, use calculus to model and solve problems involving rates of change, motion, area, and volume, use graphing calculators to solve problems, experiment, interpret results, and support conclusions, interpret the validity of a solution, including sign, size, and units of measurement, and have an overall understanding of the history of calculus and its use in real-life applications.
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.
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, HIV/AIDS, 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 explore the development of scientific thought and its applicability to situations and problems faced by society today.
Chemistry Chemistry at Community High School 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 with Lab In this class, students 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. Students will also make connections throughout the course to larger ideas such as sustainability and environmental stewardship. 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.
Food Systems Science During this one-semester course, students will explore our multi-faceted global food system, tracing the production of food from farm to plate. We will begin with a discussion of agricultural science, learning about different types of farm operations for growing both crops and domesticated animals for meat. Next, we will deconstruct the food system, examining the processes and institutions involved, and addressing the environmental and societal impacts of food. Finally, we will look at the science of eating and nutrition. Students will experiment with cooking, visit a grocery store, and learn to critically analyze nutrition “science” in the news. During each unit, we will discuss social justice issues inherent in the food system, including farmworker rights, food access, and hunger. We will also touch upon other topics such as food safety, genetically modified organisms, agricultural economics, public policy, and the future of food production. Throughout the course, we will explore the idea that eating serves as one of humankind’s main connections to the natural world.
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.
Physics Physics is the study of 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, 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 hand-holding, 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.