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 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).
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 and 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 you will be introduced to topics of Calculus.
Introduction to Calculus The overall goal of this course is to help students understand and apply two of the three big ideas of AB Calculus: limits and derivatives. Imbedded throughout the big ideas are the mathematical practices for Calculus: reasoning with definitions and theorems, connecting concepts, implementing algebraic/computational processes, connecting multiple representations, building notational fluency, and communicating mathematics orally and in well-written sentences.
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 Calculus BC 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
Astrobiology Astrobiology is an integrated lab science course that addresses the questions “Is there life elsewhere in the universe? What is life’s future on Earth and beyond? How did life originate on Earth?” We will study fundamental concepts from many of the science disciplines – biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and Earth science – in order to explore these very complex topics. In recent years, astrobiology has become the focus of a significant amount of academic research, and we will be investigating both the latest findings and the nature of the scientific methods researchers employ in this field.
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.
Introduction to Engineering Introduction to Engineering has two goals: 1) to give students a chance to explore the engineering design cycle and its similarities to the process of scientific discovery; and 2) to expose students to the wide range of engineering disciplines. Students will learn the iterative process of defining and delimiting a problem, designing a solution, and then optimizing that solution – the essence of problem-solving in any subject. Multiple projects throughout the year will provide students with chances to experience this process in areas such as mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, and civil engineering.
Physics Physics is 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.
Science and Society This course will examine the interplay between the scientific world and society at large. We will start by exploring how the modern scientific enterprise works through the lens of research on addiction and mental illness. Afterwards, we will investigate how science interacts with the law, how it informs government policy, how science intersects with the media, and conversely how all three areas affect the practice of and societal perceptions of science.