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Science Department

Science is an important part of the foundation for education for all children. Science allows students to explore their world and discover new things. It is also an active subject, containing activities such as hands-on labs and experiments.

At SAIS, we follow the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS are K–12 science content standards standards developed in America that give educators the flexibility to design classroom learning experiences that stimulate students’ interests in science and prepares them for college, careers, and citizenship.

The traditional subjects included in the standards are Physical, Life, Earth, and Human Sciences. SAIS students in grades K-8 study general science, which includes these four branches. In the high school section, students study Biology, Chemistry and Physics courses in grades 9-11 respectively. Students choose Advanced Placement (AP) science courses in grade 12. AP is a program in the United States and Canada created by the College Board which offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students. American colleges and universities may grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores on the examinations.



Physical Science

Physical Science is the study of matter and energy and is a combination of two branches of science: Chemistry and Physics. The Chemistry section of the course covers the properties, composition, structure, and interactions of matter. The Physics section covers the relationship between matter and energy. Overall, this course focuses on exploring and understanding the relationships between Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Society. The topics of this course are reinforced with a strong emphasis on laboratory experiences.



Earth Science

This course explores the fundamental concepts of Earth Science, as well as examining Earth’s complex and interrelated processes. It explores scientific inquiry and experimental design, as well as the study of Geology, Oceanography, Meteorology, and Astronomy. This class is hands-on and inquiry-based. Therefore, students will be participating in several activities, experiments, and in-class discussions.



Human Biology

This course uses the human body as a basis for understanding general principles of biology. Goals of this course include understanding the interrelationship between different human biological processes, appreciating the relationship between human biology and the economy, environment, and technology, and increasing awareness of how advances in information technology and instrumentation are used in human biology studies. Students in this class develop critical thinking skills and are capable of linking theory and experiments. The topics of this course are reinforced with a strong emphasis on laboratory experiences.



Biology

This course is designed to examine aspects of living things and their processes. Students will be exposed to a wide range of topics, including cell biology and genetics (molecular level), vertebrate anatomy and physiology (tissue and organ levels), and ecology (organism and population levels). Throughout the year this course provides an opportunity for students to develop scientific process skills, laboratory techniques, and an understanding of the fundamental principles of living organisms. The topics of this course are reinforced with a strong emphasis on laboratory experiences.



Chemistry

This course covers the properties of matter and how these properties are used to organize elements on the periodic table. Course material includes structure of the atom and subatomic particles, and the basic chemical reactions of life, such as oxidation- reduction, combustion, and decomposition. Students gain a deeper understanding of acids and bases, rates of reactions, and factors that affect those rates. By calculating stoichiometry problems and molar concentrations, students learn about proportionality and strengthen their mathematical skills. The topics of this course are reinforced with a strong emphasis on laboratory experiences.



Physics

This course provides a strong, comprehensive introduction to physics topics such as motion, forces, energy, heat, waves, electricity, and magnetism. Students are able to apply physics principles to understand the natural phenomena of the world around them. For example, students will be able to apply physical laws to calculate velocity, acceleration, momentum, and energy. Further, students will be able to recognize the nature and scope of physics, including its relationship to the other sciences. The topics of this course are reinforced with a strong emphasis on laboratory experiences.



AP Chemistry

The AP Chemistry course is aligned with the College Board AP standards. This course is designed to be the equivalent of a college introductory chemistry course, usually taken by Chemistry majors during their first year. It aims to provide students with the conceptual framework, factual knowledge, and analytical skills necessary to deal with the rapidly changing science of chemistry. Topics such as the structure of matter, kinetic theory of gases, chemical equilibria, chemical kinetics and the basic concepts of thermodynamics are being presented in considerable depth. The topics of this course are reinforced with a strong emphasis on laboratory experiences.



AP Biology

The AP Biology course is aligned with the College Board AP standards. This course is designed to be the equivalent of an introductory college-level biology course, usually taken by Biology majors during their first year. Students cultivate their understanding of biology through inquiry-based investigations as they explore the following topics: evolution, cellular processes, energy and communication, genetics, information transfer, ecology, and interactions. The topics of this course are reinforced with a strong emphasis on laboratory experiences.



AP Physics

The AP Physics 1 course is aligned with the College Board AP standards. This course is designed to be the equivalent of the first semester of an introductory, algebra-based college Physics course. AP Physics explores topics such as Newtonian mechanics (including rotational motion); work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sound; and introductory, simple circuits. Through inquiry-based learning, students will develop scientific critical thinking and reasoning skills. The topics of this course are reinforced with a strong emphasis on laboratory experiences.