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Science

​Science

Scientific investigation and discovery satisfies humankind’s quest for knowledge and understanding in order to preserve and enhance the quality of the human experience. The National Academies of Sciences proposes that science courses support college and workforce readiness by focusing on developing skills in asking questions and defining problems, developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, constructing explanations and designing solutions, and engaging in argument through evidence.

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Courses in science will help students to achieve the following objectives:

  • Develop and use an experimental design in scientific inquiry.
  • Use the language of science to communicate understanding.
  • Investigate phenomena using technology.
  • Apply scientific concepts, skills, and processes to everyday experiences.
  • Experience the richness and excitement of scientific discovery of the natural
  • world through the collaborative quest for knowledge and understanding.
  • Make informed decisions regarding contemporary issues.
  • Develop scientific dispositions and habits of mind.
  • Develop an understanding of the interrelationship of science with technology,
  • engineering and mathematics.
  • Explore science-related careers and interests.

High school science offerings provide students with multiple contexts in which to explore new disciplines and expand on their K-8 work through both required courses and electives. Science courses introduce complex content and support the development of critical thinking skills that are essential for student success in and beyond school as students grow as lifelong learners.

  
Analytical Chemistry Investigations

​This course compliments the AP Chemistry program and serves as an optional corequisite to AP Chemistry. It provides students with opportunities to focus on specialized laboratory investigations that are integral parts of the AP Chemistry course. Students will gain practical experience in laboratory techniques that will increase their ability to design and conduct scientific research. Furthermore, this course will provide instructional support to develop the critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills required for success on the AP Chemistry exam.

Prerequisite(s): Chemistry I, Honors or Advanced
Corequisite(s): AP Chemistry
Credit: 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4422
Grades: 11, 12
Offered at: AHS
Analytical Lab Investigations

​The course provides an opportunity for students to focus on investigations across a wide range of science topics, with the goal of entering science fairs and similar competitions. Similar to a maker space focused on science, students will design, conduct and present laboratory investigations. This course is open to all students who wish to explore independent work in the science field.

Prerequisite(s):
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4611
Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
Offered at: MoHS, WAHS
Anatomy and Physiology

​Anatomy and Physiology is offered to students who are interested in furthering their understanding of how an organism’s tissues, organs, and systems function. Units to be covered include the brain and nervous system, respiration, the circulatory system, the actions of hormones, and mechanisms of disease. Topics are explored through discussion, numerous dissections and other laboratory experiments, and research.

Successful completion of this course fulfills the graduation requirements for science courses.

Prerequisite(s): Biology; Strong laboratory skills
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
Academic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4600
Honors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4602
Grades: 10, 11, 12
Offered at: AHS, MoHS
Animal Studies

​This course is an introduction to the world of Zoology designed for 11th and 12th grade students. Students will survey the animal world from protists through chordates. Using a comparative approach, the study of each group will emphasize diversity, anatomy, evolutionary relationships, functional adaptations, and environmental relationships. Extensive lab work, including dissections, will be an integral part of the course.

Successful completion of this course fulfils the graduation requirements for science courses.

Prerequisite(s): Biology I
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
Academic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4326
Honors (MoHS only) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4327
Grades: 11, 12
Offered at: MoHS, WAHS
Astronomy
PVCC

​First Semester: Solar System Astronomy

The first semester topics include the history of astronomy from Aristotle to the present; types of telescopes; the scientific method in astronomy; and the formation of the solar system, planets, comets, asteroids, and meteors. Laboratories for the first semester include Kepler’s Law of Planetary Motion, Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, The Moons of Jupiter, Electromagnetic Spectrum, and others.

Second Semester: Stellar Astronomy and Cosmology

The second semester topics include solar astronomy, sunspots and sunspot cycles, spectroscopy and element abundance in stars, stellar classification and types of stars, distance indicators, binary stars, stellar evolution, white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, history of cosmology, the Big Bang Theory and the origin of the universe, cosmic microwave background, the expanding universe, and fate of the universe. Laboratories for the second semester include Hubble’s Law, Stellar Spectroscopy, Cepheid Variables, Orbits of Binary Stars, Hertzsbrung-Russell Diagram, and others.

Prerequisite(s): Meet dual enrollment admission requirements; College Algebra and Trigonometry recommended (may be taken concurrently); Advanced or Honors Physics recommended
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1; 8 dual enrollment college credits with PVCC
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4651
Grades: 10, 11, 12
Offered at: AHS
Astronomy, Honors

First Semester: Solar System Astronomy

The first semester topics include the history of astronomy from Aristotle to the present; types of telescopes; the scientific method in astronomy; and the formation of the solar system, planets, comets, asteroids, and meteors. Laboratories for the first semester include Kepler’s Law of Planetary Motion, Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, The Moons of Jupiter, Electromagnetic Spectrum, and others.

Second Semester: Stellar Astronomy and Cosmology

The second semester topics include solar astronomy, sunspots and sunspot cycles, spectroscopy and element abundance in stars, stellar classification and types of stars, distance indicators, binary stars, stellar evolution, white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, history of cosmology, the Big Bang Theory and the origin of the universe, cosmic microwave background, the expanding universe, and fate of the universe. Laboratories for the second semester include Hubble’s Law, Stellar Spectroscopy, Cepheid Variables, Orbits of Binary Stars, Hertzsbrung-Russell Diagram, and others.​

Prerequisite(s): Algebra II, Physics (Advanced or Honors) recommended
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
Grades: 11, 12
Offered at: AHS, WAHS
Biology I
Standards of Learning

​This course increases the student’s awareness of the living world. Major concepts such as cell structure and organization, metabolism, growth, reproduction, biochemistry, genetics, taxonomy, evolution, and ecology are emphasized. Laboratory experiments are used to teach conceptual themes.

Prerequisite(s): Honors: Algebra I
Corequisite(s): Advanced or Honors: Geometry
Credit: 1
Standard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4312
Academic/Advanced . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4318
Honors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4316
Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
Offered at: AHS, MoHS, WAHS
Biology, Advanced Placement

​Advanced Placement (AP) Biology is offered to students who are interested in taking the AP Biology exam for college credit. Since it is the equivalent of a college-level course, a great deal of reading and independent learning is required. The AP content outline and laboratory experiences are followed.

Prerequisite(s): Biology I; Chemistry; Algebra II
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4340
Grades: 11, 12
Offered at: AHS, MoHS, WAHS
Biology-Ecology Cooperative

​This course combines the curriculum of Biology I and Ecology. Students will learn the concepts of Biology and Ecology using hands-on activities and labs. This course will provide students the opportunity to receive 2 science credits and an additional verified Biology credit.

Students take the 2 courses separately.

Prerequisite(s):
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 2
Grades: 10, 11, 12
Offered at: MoHS
Chemistry I
Standards of Learning

​Students are introduced to basic chemical concepts including composition of matter, atomic structure, periodic table, chemical bonding, formulas and equations, reacting quantities, gas laws, and acid base theory. The investigative skills used by practicing scientists are emphasized.

Prerequisite(s): Algebra, Functions, and Data Analysis (AFDA) or Algebra II; Advanced or Honors: Algebra II
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
Standard (AHS, WAHS) . . . . . . . . . 4410
Advanced . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4412
Honors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4414
Grades: 10, 11, 12
Offered at: AHS, MoHS, WAHS
Chemistry, Advanced Placement

​This course is the equivalent of a noncalculus- based college freshman course. Theory is developed in the first part, descriptive chemistry and applied chemistry are developed in the second part. Principles and concepts are developed as interpretations of well-known compounds. Laboratory work is an integral part of the study.

Prerequisite(s):
Corequisite(s): Chemistry I; College Algebra and Trigonometry (or other higher math)
Credit: 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4440
Grades: 11, 12
Offered at: AHS, MoHS, WAHS
Earth Science
Standards of Learning

​This course stresses the major concepts of geology, oceanography, astronomy, and meteorology. The primary objectives are to enhance the student’s understanding and appreciation of earth’s systems and, through this knowledge, to encourage students to become responsible citizens. Laboratory experiments are used to teach conceptual themes.

Prerequisite(s):
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
Standard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4212
Academic/Advanced . . . . . . . . . . . 4215
Honors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4216
Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
Offered at: AHS, MoHS, WAHS
Ecology

​Ecology is a laboratory science from the biology discipline dealing with the interrelationships of living things and their environments. Major topics include energy flow, bio-geochemical cycles, biotic and abiotic influences on communities of living things, population dynamics, and an in-depth study of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem pollution.

Successful completion of this course fulfils the graduation requirements for science courses.

Prerequisite(s): Biology
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
Standard. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4102
Advanced . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4106
Grades: 10, 11, 12
Offered at: AHS, MoHS, WAHS
Environmental Science, Advanced Placement

​AP Environmental Science is offered to students who are interested in taking the AP Environmental Science exam for college credit. The AP content outline (available from College Board) is closely followed in this course. Topics covered in the course include: interrelationships with the natural world, global changes and their consequences, human population dynamics, renewable and nonrenewable resources, and environmental ethics.

Prerequisite(s): Biology I; Algebra I
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4270
Grades: 10, 11, 12
Offered at: AHS, MoHS, WAHS
ESA BIO of Environment / BIO 107
PVCC

Presents the basic concepts of environmental science through a topical approach. Includes the scientific method, population growth and migration, use of natural resources and waste management, ecosystem simplification recovery, evolution, biogeochemical cycles, photosynthesis and global warming, geological formations, atmosphere and climate, and ozone depletion and acid deposition.​

Prerequisite(s):
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1; 4 dual enrollment college credits with PVCC
Honors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4219DE
Grades: 11
Offered at:
ESOL Science: The Language of Life Sciences

​This course provides students with a strong foundation in academic vocabulary and key concepts across the life sciences. Students strengthen skills in the domains of reading, writing, speaking and listening to bolster knowledge of scientific concepts, increase English language proficiency, and demonstrate critical thinking skills. Students connect previous scientific learning in their native languages to the concepts and academic vocabulary of science in English. Content is delivered through hands-on, visual, experiential and interactive lessons typically culminating in performance-based assessments.

Prerequisite(s):
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4612
Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
Offered at: AHS
Geology

​Geology offers a foundation in the study of the geologic processes that have formed our world and the scientific skills used to observe and interpret it. In this laboratory course, students will learn to use and apply the vocabulary and technology of the geologist and earth scientist. The following topics will be covered: longitude and latitude, topographic maps, Earth's structure, plate tectonics, minerals, rocks, Virginia's geologic provinces, natural resources, weathering erosion, soils and natural resources, and comparative planetary geology.

Prerequisite(s):
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
Standard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4241
Academic/Advanced . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4240
Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
Offered at: AHS
Geology-Earth Science Cooperative

​This course combines the curriculum of Geology and Earth Science. Through this course, students will have the opportunity to earn 2 science credits and a verified Earth Science credit.

Students take the 2 courses separately.

Prerequisite(s):
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 2
Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
Offered at: AHS
Physics C, Advanced Placement

​This is a single-year course that teaches both AP Physics C: Mechanics and AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism. AP Physics C: Mechanics is equivalent to a one-semester, calculus based, college-level physics course, especially appropriate for students planning to specialize or major in physical science or engineering. The course explores topics such as kinematics; Newton’s laws of motion; work, energy and power; systems of particles and linear momentum; circular motion and rotation; and oscillations and gravitation. AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism is a one-semester, calculus-based, college-level physics course, especially appropriate for students planning to specialize or major in physical science or engineering. The course explores topics such as electrostatics; conductors, capacitors, and dielectrics; electric circuits; magnetic fields; and electromagnetism. Introductory differential and integral calculus is used throughout the course.

Prerequisite(s): Physics I, Advanced Placement (may be taken concurrently)
Corequisite(s): Calculus AB, Advanced Placement
Credit: 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4571
Grades: 11, 12
Offered at: MoHS, WAHS
Physics I

​This course focuses on the forces and energy relationships in the physical world. Topics include measurement, motion, work, gravity, molecular kinetic theory, waves, light, electricity, and circuitry. General principles are stated in mathematical terms and students are expected to use the principles to solve problems. The investigative skills used by practicing scientists are emphasized.

Prerequisite(s):
Corequisite(s): Standard: Algebra, Functions, and Data Analysis (AFDA) or Algebra II; Advanced: College Algebra and Trigonometry (or higher), Chemistry recommended
Credit: 1
Standard (AHS, WAHS) . . . . . . . . . . 4510
Advanced . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4512
Grades: 10, 11, 12
Offered at: AHS, MoHS, WAHS
Physics I, Advanced Placement

​This is the equivalent to a first-semester college course in algebra-based physics. The course covers Newtonian mechanics (including rotational dynamics and angular momentum); work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sound. It will also introduce electric circuits. Can be taken as a first-year physics course.

Prerequisite(s):
Corequisite(s): College Algebra and Trigonometry (or higher); Chemistry recommended
Credit: 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4572
Grades: 10, 11, 12
Offered at: AHS, MoHS, WAHS
Physics II, Advanced Placement

​This course is the equivalent to a secondsemester college course in algebra-based physics. It covers fluid mechanics; thermodynamics; electricity and magnetism; optics; atomic and nuclear physics. 

Prerequisite(s): Honors Math Analysis; Physics I
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4573
Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
Offered at: AHS, MoHS, WAHS
STEM Pathway Capstone

​This will be the culmination class for students in the STEM pathway. Students have the option of working in an internship class or working on a culminating project incorporating the previous course work.

Prerequisite(s):
Corequisite(s):
Credit: 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9934
Grades: 12
Offered at: AHS
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