The SFHS Science Department promotes an understanding of the basic principles of science. After four years, the student will have an understanding of the basic order in nature and have an appreciation of the laws of the universe. Science courses are designed to meet the state standards and UC requirements.
Courses starting with the freshman year are developed in a sequential fashion to encourage upper level courses in the future.
Integrated Science is a survey course that engages students in scientific inquiry while developing their natural curiosity about the world around them. Students participate in discussion, projects, and lab investigations. The curriculum of this course is designed to provide students with a solid foundation for future lab sciences. The class devotes one academic quarter to each of the four sciences: physics, earth science, biology, and chemistry. UC A-G approved – g College-Preparatory Elective. NCAA approved.
Biology is a laboratory science course that focuses on the study of life. The course begins with an inquiry into the chemistry of life and proceeds to an examination of the fundamental concepts of cellular biology, including in-depth study of cellular structure and function. Biology students study photosynthesis, cellular respiration, cell growth and division, the fundamentals of DNA and RNA, genetics, and the anatomy and physiology of the human reproductive systems. The Biology course introduces students to bacteria, viruses, fungi, animals, and plants, focusing on their cellular similarities and differences. Scientific thinking, analysis, and laboratory skills are emphasized along with Biology’s connections to other scientific disciplines. Students practice scientific writing skills and learn to think deeply in order to apply what they have learned during laboratory activities. UC A-G approved – d Laboratory Science. NCAA approved.
Prerequisite: Incoming freshmen with Science Department Approval; Sophomores who have completed Integrated Science
This course is designed to teach the student the fundamental principles of Biology and to prepare her to succeed in future biologically based courses on the high school and college level. The curriculum is covered in greater depth and at a more accelerated pace than Biology. Honors Biology engages the student with demonstrations, laboratory exercises, case studies, debates, microscopy, and dissections as they discover Chemistry, Biochemistry, Cytology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Anatomy and Physiology. The course aims to teach students the necessary laboratory skills needed for success in science courses, such as observation, analysis of data, microscopy, and dissection. Critical thinking and communication are an integral part of this course. UC A-G approved – d Laboratory Science. NCAA approved.
Prerequisite: Incoming freshmen with Science Department Approval.
This course is designed to teach the fundamental principles of chemistry and to prepare students for physical science classes on the high school and university level. The class stresses basic problem solving techniques and understanding the major theories in chemistry through written and laboratory work. Since chemistry is an experimental science, time equivalent to one period a week is spent in the laboratory. UC A-G approved – d Laboratory Science. NCAA approved.
Prerequisite: Biology or Honors Biology; Algebra 1
This course is designed to teach the highly motivated student fundamentals of Chemistry and to prepare her to succeed in further physical science classes at the high school and university level. The class stresses basic problem solving techniques and understanding of the major theories in Chemistry through written and laboratory work. Concepts will be studied in greater depth and at a faster pace than in the regular Chemistry class.More advanced mathematical skills will be required. Since Chemistry is an experimental science, time equivalent to one class per week is spent in the laboratory. UC A-G approved – d Laboratory Science. NCAA approved.
Prerequisite: Biology or Honors Biology and Department approval. Student must have completed Algebra 2 or be co-enrolled in Algebra 2.
The central theme of this UC approved lab science course is the inter-relationship between matter and energy. Students will develop an understanding of the basic concepts of physics and how they relate to our everyday world. Activities and projects will drive the learning of physics concepts. The time equivalent to one period per week or more is spent in the laboratory. UC A-G approved – d Laboratory Science. NCAA approved.
Prerequisite: C or better in Algebra 2 and Geometry
The central theme of Honors Physics is the inter-relationship between matter and energy. Students will develop an understanding of the basic concepts of physics and how they relate to our natural world. This course also stresses the skills necessary to set up logical solutions to more complex problems, which are developed as combinations of fundamental concepts. Laboratory work and problem solving will be key to the understanding of everyday experiences. Concepts are reinforced through homework, special projects, demonstrations, small group and class discussions, andguest speakers. The time equivalent to one period per week is spent in the laboratory. UC A-G approved – d Laboratory Science. NCAA approved.
Prerequisite: B or better in Algebra 2, A- or better in Geometry OR a B or better in Precalculus.
This course is equivalent to a college biology course for biology majors. The course follows the curriculum set by the national Educational Testing Service. Topics covered include molecules, cells, genetics, evolution, organisms, and populations. Extensive laboratory work will be performed. This is designed for the student who plans to pursue science in college or for the student who wishes to complete a college science requirement while in high school. All students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP Biology exam at the end of the year. UC A-G approved – d Laboratory Science. NCAA approved.
Prerequisite: A in Honors Biology or Biology; B in Honors Chemistry or Chemistry; Science Department Approval
AP Chemistry is a course that covers the same concepts as the Honors Chemistry course; however, the subject matter is covered in much greater depth, and requires a much higher level of critical thinking and analysis skills. Topics covered in the class include atomic theory and atomic structure, chemical bonding, states of matter, solutions, reaction types, stoichiometry, equilibrium, kinetics, and thermodynamics. There is a much stronger emphasis on chemical calculations and the mathematical formulation of chemical principles. The course is based on the national Advanced Placement Curriculum in Chemistry. All students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP Chemistry exam at the end of the year. UC A-G approved – d Laboratory Science. NCAA approved.
Prerequisite: A in Honors Chemistry or Chemistry; A in Algebra 2; Must have instructor permission
This is a college preparatory course that provides students with the concepts, principles, and methodologies necessary to understand some of the interrelationships that occur in the natural world. The first semester investigates topics in Ecology: the biosphere, species’ adaptations, natural selection, climate, weather, biomes, and fire ecology. We explore population ecology–how populations grow, how they are controlled, cycles in population growth. We look at the human population—its growth, trends and predictions, and analyze ecological footprints. We learn about communities and ecosystems—their structure, interactions, food webs, disturbances, and nutrient cycles. The second semester encompasses topics in Environmental Science. We include solid waste, fossil fuels, renewable energy, climate change, water resources and sustainable development. Class time consists of lectures and developing scientific investigation and thinking skills through experimental data collection, data analysis and research, and observations. UC A-G approved – d Laboratory Science. NCAA approved.
Anatomy and Physiology is a rigorous UC approved lab science course designed for the student interested in continuing studies of the life sciences. Students will receive the foundation necessary to pursue areas of medicine and other health-related fields when they enter college. This course is an intense exploration of body systems that includes many laboratory investigations. There are three mandatory dissections in this course: sheep brain, sheep heart, and a comprehensive three week exploration of a cat. UC A-G approved – d Laboratory Science. NCAA approved.
Prerequisite: B or better in Biology and Chemistry
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in medicine, forensics, agriculture, and many other fields. Biotechnology has been called “The Science of the New Millennium”. This is a rigorous course which begins with a comprehensive overview of the key concepts in molecular biology. Topics to be covered include nucleic acid structure and function, DNA replication, transcription, translation, chromosome structure, and regulation of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The course focuses on the use of this knowledge in biotechnological methods, such as, recombinant DNA technology, restriction enzyme digest, creating genetically modified organisms, gene transfer, gene therapy, PCR and DNA fingerprinting, microarray technology, ELISA testing, and more. The class will also discuss bioethics and how controversial issues are addressed using a Catholic worldview. State-of-the-art equipment and materials are available for students as they learn and apply the basic molecular biology methods used in the field of biotechnology. UC A-G approved – d Laboratory Science. NCAA approved.
Prerequisite: B or better in Biology ; C or better in Chemistry
Level: 11, 12, (10th with Science Department approval)
This is an upper division chemistry course designed to further student’s understanding of the concepts covered in her first year chemistry course, introduce additional topics generally encountered in a college chemistry course, and require students to apply her understanding of the material to culturally relevant topics and real-world problems in the areas of medicinal chemistry, environmental chemistry, consumer chemistry, and forensics. There will be a strong emphasis on the study of technological advances in chemistry, such as nanotechnology and alternative fuels, the use of technology in labs and the acquisition and analysis of data, and the emerging field of Green Chemistry. In addition, students will gain experience in chemical engineering principles and methods through labs and other activities. Topics covered in the class include atomic theory and atomic structure, chemical bonding, nuclear chemistry, states of matter, solutions, reaction types, stoichiometry, equilibrium, kinetics, and thermodynamics. UC A-G approved – d Laboratory Science. NCAA approved.
Prerequisites: B- or better in Chemistry or Honors Chemistry, completion of or concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2 or Algebra 2B