Course Catalog: Science Department

INTRODUCTION

The mission of our department is to teach students the scientific method so they can understand modern scientific descriptions of the universe and come to objective conclusions about the natural world. All of our science courses provide students with the opportunity to develop skills in forming hypotheses, gathering and interpreting data, and drawing rational conclusions.

St. Ignatius College Preparatory requires all students to complete a minimum of two years of laboratory science: one in the life sciences (such as Biology) and one in the physical sciences (such as Chemistry). College-bound students are advised to enroll in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and to consider a 4th year science elective or Advanced Placement course. Science electives include Astronomy, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Environmental Science, Engineering, Molecular Biology, Science Research Project, and Advanced Science Research Project. Advanced Placement courses include AP Biology, AP Chemistry, and AP Physics C. 

Students should familiarize themselves with the science recommendations of the University of California. All of our science courses, with the exception of the Science Research Project, Environmental Science, and Engineering courses, fulfill UC’s laboratory science requirement. These courses are UC-approved as science electives. UC requires students to take at least one natural (life) science and one physical science (see descriptions below).

COURSES

BIOLOGY (3010) (Life Science)

Grade Level — 9, 10
Length — One Year

Type of Course – Elective meeting graduation requirement of two years of science; UC approved laboratory science course
Prerequisite – None
Criteria for Enrollment – None 

UC/CSU Subject D Approval

Course Description — Biology is the scientific study of life and living organisms. This course aims to develop students into scientifically literate citizens who have mastered the critical thinking skills that will allow them to make informed decisions in a world increasingly impacted by scientific discovery. This course also aims to develop in students an appreciation for the natural world and our role in its stewardship. Units of study in this course include evolutionary biology, genetics, heredity, cell structure and function, human reproduction, and ecology.   Homework: Average 30-45 minutes/class meeting, plus additional test preparation time.

CHEMISTRY (3030) (Physical Science)

Grade Level — 10, 11, 12
Length — One Year 

Type of Course – Elective meeting graduation requirement of two years of science; UC approved laboratory science course
Prerequisite – Biology, Algebra 1
Criteria for Enrollment – Math GPA 2.0 or higher

UC/CSU Subject D Approval

Course Description — Chemistry is the scientific study of matter. This course aims to develop students as practicing laboratory scientists who can ask and answer questions of their own about what the world is made of and how and why chemical reactions occur. This course also aims to develop students’ conceptual and quantitative understanding of chemical principles. Units of study in this course include the nature of the atom, naming of chemicals and compounds, bonding, the periodic table, reactions and equilibrium, stoichiometry, behavior of gases, acids, bases, and safe laboratory practices.  Homework: Average 30-45 minutes/class meeting, plus additional test preparation time.

 

CHEMISTRY HONORS (3033) (Physical Science)

Grade Level — 10, 11, 12
Length — One Year

Type of Course – Elective meeting graduation requirement of two years of science; UC approved laboratory science course
Prerequisite – Biology, Algebra 1 Accelerated or Algebra 2 Honors
Criteria for Enrollment – Science GPA 3.3 or higher and overall GPA of 3.3 or higher
 
UC/CSU Subject D Approval
Class receives honors weighting in SI weighted GPA and UC/CSU GPA calculations

Course Description — The honors course differs from the non-honors course in that each topic is covered in more detail, at a faster pace, and with greater mathematical rigor.  Homework:  Average 60-90 minutes/class meeting, plus additional test preparation time. 

PHYSICS (3041) (Physical Science)

Grade Level — 10, 11, 12
Length — One Year

Type of Course – Elective meeting one year of graduation requirement of two years of science; UC approved laboratory science course
Prerequisite – Biology, Chemistry, Algebra 1
Criteria for Enrollment – Science GPA 2.0 or higher

UC/CSU Subject D Approval

Course Description — Physics is the scientific study of the most fundamental laws of nature. This course aims to further develop students’ appreciation for and competence in the scientific method. This course also aims to develop students’ conceptual and quantitative understanding of physical principles. Students perform experiments to develop proficiency in laboratory technique in applying physical principles to the analysis of experimental data. Units of study in this course include motion, Newton’s Laws, collisions, energy, thermodynamics, waves, sound, light, fundamental particles of nature, radioactivity, quantum mechanics, and electricity and magnetism.  Homework: Average 30-45 minutes/class meeting, plus additional test preparation time.

PHYSICS HONORS (3044) (Physical Science)

Grade Level — 10, 11, 12
Length — One Year

Type of Course – Elective meeting graduation requirement of two years of science; UC approved laboratory science course
Prerequisite – Biology and Chemistry
Criteria for Enrollment – Science GPA 3.3 or higher and overal GPA of 3.3 or higher and previous or concurrent enrollment in Precalculus Accelerated or Precalculus Honors

UC/CSU Subject D Approval
Class receives honors weighting in SI weighted GPA and UC/CSU GPA calculations

Course Description — The honors course differs from the non-honors course in that each topic is covered in more detail, at a faster pace, and with greater mathematical rigor.  Homework: Average 30-45 minutes/class meeting, plus additional test preparation time.

Science AP Courses & Electives:

AP BIOLOGY (3014) (Life Science)

Grade Level — 10, 11, 12
Length — One Year

Type of Course – Elective meeting graduation requirement of two years of science; UC approved laboratory science course
Prerequisite/Criteria for Enrollment – Science GPA of 3.3 or higher, with successful completion of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and overall GPA of 3.3 or higher. Students not meeting these criteria may submit an appeal (see Alternate Criteria below).
Corequisite – Students enrolling in this course must also enroll in the corresponding AP Science Laboratory course, which meets once per week before school 7:50-8:20 am.
Alternate Criteria (for appeal): Science GPA of 3.7 or higher and successful completion of Biology and Chemistry and overall GPA of 3.7 or higher and approval of the department chair.

UC/CSU Subject D Approval
Class receives honors weighting in SI weighted GPA and UC/CSU GPA calculations

Course Description — The AP Biology course is equivalent in content, depth, and complexity to an introductory biology course at the college level. This course is designed to prepare the student to excel on the AP exam offered in May, and follows the AP curriculum closely. AP Biology is an in-depth, content-intensive study of biological principles that allows students the opportunity to engage hands-on in scientific experimentation. Units of study include cell biology, genetics, DNA technology, enzyme catalysis, photosynthesis, ecology, evolution, and physiology. Students are required to take the Advanced Placement exam in May. Students are required to complete an assignment over the summer due on the first day of school.  Homework: Average 60-90 minutes/class meeting, plus additional test preparation time.

AP CHEMISTRY (3034) (Physical Science)

Grade Level — 11, 12
Length — One Year

Type of Course – Elective meeting graduation requirement of two years of science; UC approved laboratory science course
Prerequisite/Criteria for Enrollment – Science GPA of 3.3 or higher, with successful completion of Biology, Chemistry (Honors Chemistry strongly recommended), Physics and overall GPA of 3.3 or higher. Students not meeting these criteria may submit an appeal (see Alternate Criteria below).
Corequisite – Students enrolling in this course must also enroll in the corresponding AP Science Laboratory course, which meets once per week before school from 7:50-8:20 am
Alternate Criteria (for appeal): Overall GPA of 3.7 or higher and Math GPA of 3.7 or higher and successful completion of Biology and Chemistry and approval of the department chair.

UC/CSU Subject D Approval
Class receives honors weighting in SI weighted GPA and UC/CSU GPA calculations

Course Description — The AP Chemistry course is equivalent in content, depth, and complexity to an introductory chemistry course at the college level. This course is designed to prepare the student to excel on the AP exam offered in May, and follows the AP curriculum closely. AP Chemistry is an in-depth, content-intensive study of chemical principles that allows students the opportunity to engage hands-on in scientific experimentation. Units of study include chemical reactions, modern atomic theory, molecular bonding, hybridization, organic chemistry, stoichiometry, thermodynamics, kinetics, aqueous equilibrium, acids, bases, precipitation, reduction, oxidation, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry. Students are required to take the Advanced Placement exam in May. Students are required to complete an assignment over the summer due on the first day of school.  Homework: Average 60-90 minutes/class meeting, plus additional test preparation time.

AP PHYSICS “C”: MECHANICS (3047) (Physical Science)

Grade Level — 11, 12
Length — One Year

Type of Course – Elective meeting graduation requirement of two years of science; UC approved laboratory science course
Prerequisite/Criteria for Enrollment – Science GPA of 3.3 or higher, successful completion of Biology, Chemistry Physics (Physics Honors strongly recommended) and overall GPA of 3.3 or higher and previous or concurrent enrollment in AP Calculus AB or BC.  Students not meeting these criteria may submit an appeal (see Alternate Criteria below).
Corequisite – Students enrolling in this course must also enroll in the corresponding AP Science Laboratory course, which meets once per week before school from 7:50-8:20 am.
Alternate Criteria (for appeal): Overall GPA 3.7 or higher and Math GPA 3.7 or higher, and approval of the department chair.

UC/CSU Subject D Approval
Class receives honors weighting in SI weighted GPA and UC/CSU GPA calculations

Course Description — The AP Physics course is equivalent in content, depth, and complexity to an introductory physics course at the college level. This course is designed to prepare the student to excel on the AP Physics C: Mechanics exams offered in May. The course follows the AP curriculum closely. AP Physics is an in-depth, content-intensive study of physical principles that allows students the opportunity to engage hands-on in scientific experimentation.   Core units of study include kinematics, Newton’s laws, conservation laws, harmonic motion, and rotational motion. Additional topics will vary but may include electricity & magnetism, relativity, quantum mechanics, particle physics, thermodynamics, and other advanced topics. Use of calculus in problem solving is expected to increase as the course progresses. Students are required to take the Advanced Placement exam in May. Students are required to complete an assignment over the summer due on the first day of school.  This is a mathematically rigorous course which requires a solid foundation in both physics and math.  Homework: Average 60-90 minutes/class meeting, plus additional test preparation time.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT SCIENCE LAB

Grade Level — 10, 11, 12
COURSE 3067: LAB – AP Biology
COURSE 3068: LAB – AP Chemistry
COURSE 3069: LAB – AP Physics

Length — One Year

Type of Course – Elective (half-credit) – graded pass/fail  
Prerequisite – Concurrent enrollment in AP Biology or AP Chemistry or AP Physics
Criteria for Enrollment – Students who qualify for and enroll in AP Biology or AP Chemistry or AP Physics must also enroll in this course.

Course Description  AP Science courses require an intensive laboratory component extending beyond the regular class meetings. Once per week, when the AP Science course begins the day, a longer period will be formed by requiring students to come to class at 7:50 am. Students who anticipate a scheduling conflict in the time period before school are asked to contact the Science Department chair.

ASTRONOMY (3055) (Physical Science)

Grade Level — 11, 12
Length — One Year  (This course may be offered as an on-line course.)

Type of Course – Elective meeting graduation requirement of two years of science; UC approved laboratory science course
Prerequisite – Chemistry, Physics
Criteria for Enrollment – Science GPA 2.0 or higher

UC/CSU Subject D Approval

Course Description — Astronomy is the scientific study of celestial objects and phenomena. This course allows a student to apply fundamental concepts learned in biology, chemistry, and physics to new problems in astronomy. Units of study include the apparent motion of the sky, the characteristics of the planets and moons of our solar system, the properties and evolution of stars, the structure and behavior of galaxies, the Big Bang and early universe, and exotic and exciting concepts such as black holes, pulsars, extrasolar planets, curved spacetime, dark matter, and dark energy. A handful of nighttime observation sessions are recommended.  Homework:  Average 30-45 minutes/class meeting, plus additional test preparation. 

 

ENGINEERING (3058) (Physical Science)

Grade Level — 11, 12
Length — One Year

Type of Course – Elective meeting one year of graduation requirement of two years of science
Prerequisite – Chemistry, Physics
Criteria for Enrollment – Science GPA 2.0 or higher

UC/CSU Subject G Approval

Course Description — Engineering consists of the application of scientific knowledge in the creation of useful products. This course acts as an introduction to the concepts and methods of engineering with an intensive hands-on laboratory/workshop component. Students will be expected to conceptualize, design, build, and debug a variety of projects, working independently or in collaboration with other students. Units of study vary by semester, allowing students to take either or both semesters in a single year, and may include mechanical, electrical, robotic, computer, aeronautical, automotive, acoustic, naval, civil, fluid and/or chemical engineering. Several off-campus field trips to visit engineering sites or companies may be required. (Since engineering is not, strictly speaking, a science, this course does not qualify as a UC-approved lab science.)  Homework:  Average 30-45 minutes/class meeting, plus additional test preparation.  

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE: AN ECOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE (3052) (Natural Science)

Grade Level — 11, 12
Length — One Year

Type of Course – Elective meeting graduation requirement of two years of science
Prerequisite – Biology, Chemistry
Criteria for Enrollment – Science GPA 2.0 or higher

UC/CSU Subject G Approval

Course Description — Environmental science is the study of our natural environment, with an emphasis on humanity’s impact on the environment. This is a project and inquiry-learning based course that investigates the science behind today's environmental issues. Students will be immersed in hands-on science activities, group work, discussions of current scientific research, a long-term scientific investigation, decision-making based on their critical thinking skills, and the design of inquiry-based experiments. The course is arranged in independent modules that offer students a holistic approach towards environmental issues by exploring current environmental problems from a scientific interdisciplinary perspective. While topics will focus of life science related issues, we will also incorporate some basic geological, physical, chemical and technological components that directly impact living creatures.  Homework:  Average 30-45 minutes/class meeting, plus additional test preparation. 

HUMAN ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY (3050) (Life Science)

Grade Level —  10, 11, 12
Length — One Year

Type of Course – Elective meeting graduation requirement of two years of science; UC-approved laboratory science course
Prerequisite – Biology
Criteria for Enrollment – Science GPA 2.0 or higher 

UC/CSU Subject D Approval

Course Description — The focus of this course is the scientific study of the human body and its major components and systems. This course offers students a hands-on approach to learning through laboratory work (including dissections), student multimedia presentations, independent student research, and field studies. Units of study include levels of organization, body support and movement; communication and control; fluids and transport; homeostatic balance; human development; and the interrelationships between body systems.  Homework:  Average 30-45 minutes/class meeting, plus additional test preparation.  

MOLECULAR BIOLOGY (3053) (Physical or Life Science)

Grade Level — 11, 12
Length — One Year

Type of Course – Elective meeting graduation requirement of two years of science
Prerequisite – Biology and Chemistry
Criteria for Enrollment – Science GPA 2.0 or higher

UC/CSU Subject D Approval (Pending)

Course Description — The course will focus on concepts of molecular biology and common bio-tech lab skills. Students will develop a deep understanding of the central dogma of Biology by learning about DNA, RNA, proteins and the techniques scientists use to study Molecular Biology. This course will have a strong focus on inquiry-based learning, labs, and student-directed projects that will require students to learn and use responsible academic research practices. Students will also integrate basic mathematical skills through data analytics. Additionally, students will explore the ethical considerations that stem from modern techniques seen in medicine and the biotech industry. This course is for a broad range of students who wish to pursue a course of study in science or who just have curiosity for biology at the cellular level.
Homework: Average 30-45 minutes/class meeting, plus additional test preparation time.

 

SCIENCE RESEARCH PROJECT (3060) (Physical or Life Science)

Grade Level — 10, 11, 12
Length — One Semester

Type of Course – Elective; taken as an independent study with the guidance of science teacher
Prerequisite – None
Criteria for Enrollment – Permission of instructor or Department Chair

UC/CSU Subject G Approval

Course Description — This course offers students the opportunity to develop and demonstrate the maturity and self-discipline required to perform independent scientific research. Students perform one or more independent science or engineering research projects, in laboratory or field settings, on topics of their own choice. The meeting times are flexible and will be arranged to fit the schedule of the student. Areas of study include any area of science or engineering, including: quantum physics, astronomy, robotics, electronics, biotechnology, geology, meteorology, biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, oceanography, marine biology, psychology, sociology, economics, political science, statistics, etc., as well as traditional areas of biology, chemistry, physics and engineering. Students will gain direct experience in research methodologies used by professional scientists and engineers in industry and academia. 

This course is taken in addition to the science requirement for graduation. Enrollment in Science Research does not qualify a student for a study period during the regular academic day. 

ADVANCED SCIENCE RESEARCH PROJECT (3065) (Physical or Life Science)

Grade Level — 10, 11, 12
Length — One Semester

Type of Course – Elective; taken as an independent study with the guidance of science teacher
Prerequisite – Completion of one semester Science Research Project
Criteria for Enrollment – Permission of instructor or Department Chair

Course Description — Students perform one or more additional independent science or engineering research projects, beyond those completed in the first semester Science Research Project course, or perform a substantial extension of a project completed in the previous course. This is an independent study course, with flexible meeting times that will be arranged to fit the schedules of the students.

This course is taken in addition to the science requirement for graduation. Enrollment in Advanced Science Research does not qualify a student for a study period during the regular academic day.

SCIENCE TEACHING ASSISTANT

Grade Level —10, 11, 12
Length — One Semester 
Course is pass/fail

Type of Course – Elective; taken as an independent study with the guidance of science teacher
Prerequisite – None
Criteria for Enrollment – Permission of instructor or Department Chair. Enrollment is via roster submitted by instructor. Students should not list this course on their Schedule Request Forms.

Course Description — Science teaching assistants provide support for the science department (1 hour/week) either before school, after school, or during resource period in one or more of the following ways:

  1. Lab Assistant – assist with the setup and cleanup of science labs
  2. Peer Assistant – assist students taking introductory biology, chemistry, or physics
  3. Teacher Assistant – assist with grading assignments that require no teacher interpretation

Students interested in being a TA are required to fill out a short application available from the science department chair. Teaching assistants will be selected based on department needs and student qualifications. In some cases, students taking AP science courses will have priority in being a TA due to their qualifications in offering peer assistance.