Science Department Courses - Electives

  • NCHS SCIENCE RESEARCH PROGRAM

    Grade: 10-12

    Duration: Up to 6 Semesters

    Prerequisite: Instructor approval, Department Approval/ Instructor Recommendation

    Credit: 1 credit per year

    The Science Research course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to explore areas of science not covered in the core science courses offered at New Canaan High school. The course is open to sophomore, Junior and Senior students who are passionate about science.  Students must be recommended by their current science instructor and be interviewed by the Science Research instructor(s) prior to admission to the course.  Students are encouraged to participate in student internships with scientists conducting research in a variety of fields of study.

    Selected topics in science will be covered in mini-seminars that are conducted by the instructors or outside speakers. These may include topics such as: Inferential Statistics, Toxicology, Environmental studies, Climate change or other topics as determined by the instructors in consultation with the class.  Students will be expected to read and present scientific papers from primary sources such as: Science, Nature, Physics Today, Environmental Science and Technology, Bulletin of American Meteorological Society, and similar scientific journals.

    Students will also read one book each semester related to various fields of scientific study and/or the history of science. Honors credit is dependent upon completion of a formal research paper.

     

    ASTRONOMY

    Grade: 11 - 12

    Duration: 1 Semester

    Prerequisite: 1 credit Earth or a physical science, Algebra I, Geometry recommended,

    Credit: 0.5 per Semester

    This course is intended for those students who have a general interest in astronomy as well as those who are serious amateurs. The purpose is to develop an understanding of the role astronomical observations have played in our past and what we are presently doing to understand our universe (black holes, time warps, quasars, etc.). Emphasis will be placed on the night sky that is observable in New Canaan, and this will be accomplished through extensive use of the planetarium as well as outdoor nighttime observations.

    Students will be required to participate in several of these evening or early morning observations to supplement information obtained from the text and will vary depending on what is observable during the Semester. In addition, the students will be introduced to ongoing research projects that are being conducted by astronomers throughout the country and world. Some of the activities require mathematical calculations, but the procedures are such that students with some background in Algebra and Geometry will be able to accomplish.

    Text: Astronomy: A Beginner’s Guide to the Universe, 3rd Edition, Chaisson and McMillan.

     

    CONCEPTUAL SCIENCE

    Grade: 11 - 12

    Duration: 1 Semester

    Prerequisite: 1 credit Earth Science or a physical science: Algebra I and Geometry recommended

    Credit: 0.5 per Semester

    This is a laboratory-based course that provides a step-by-step introduction to physics, utilizing fundamental algebraic skills. Through in-depth study of simple physical systems and their interactions, students gain direct experience with the process of science. Starting from their own observations, students develop basic physical concepts, use and interpret different forms of scientific representations, and construct explanatory models with predictive capability

    Text: Conceptual Physics, 5th Edition, P. Hewitt, Addison Wesley.

     

    ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

    Grade: 11 - 12

    Duration: 1 Semester

    Prerequisite: 1 credit Biology or a life science

    Credit: 0.5 per Semester

    This course encompasses Ecology which studies the interactions of plants and animals with their environment and secondly, the impact that humans have made on the delicate balance that exists in nature. Students will investigate the geography of ecosystems, trophic relationships, biogeochemical cycles, populations and communities. Environmental problems caused primarily by human overpopulation are also investigated. Topics include smog, acid rain, global warming, ozone depletion, greenhouse effect, chemical contamination, oil spills, deforestation and waste management. Students will learn the importance of conservation in determining the fate of the earth’s future and their individual responsibility in managing the earth.

    Outdoor field work at Waveny Park during double lab periods, written scientific reports and computer technology are integral parts of this course. Students may be required to become involved in environmental projects in the community.

    Text: Environmental Science, Arms.

     

    FORENSIC SCIENCE

    Grade: 11-12

    Duration: 1 Semester

    Prerequisite: 1 credit Earth Science or a physical Science and Biology or a life science

    Credit: 0.5 per Semester

    This is a course that introduces students to the world of criminal justice and asks them to apply scientific principles to the solving of a “crime.”  It will take a multidisciplinary approach that will encompass:  life sciences, math, language arts, chemistry and social studies, as well as processing skills, physics, technology and analysis.  Some of the many topics covered are fingerprint analysis, blood analysis, DNA analysis, hair and fiber analysis and evidence collection methods. The successful student needs good processing skills and must be detail oriented.

    Forensic Science is fast paced, exciting look at the science behind some of the most popular shows on television today.

    Text: Forensic Science: Fundamentals and Investigations, Bertino

     

    HUMAN ANATOMY and PHYSIOLOGY I and II

    Grade 10 – 12

    Duration: 1 or 2 Semesters

    Prerequisite: Chemistry (or concurrently taking) and 1 credit Biology or a life science

    Credit: 0.5 per Semester

    This is a science elective course that is designed for students who desire a deeper understanding of the structure and function of the human body.  The course is designed to view the body as a whole unit, while focusing on the organization and interactions between organ systems at the micro to macro levels of cellular function.

    Laboratory investigations and inquiry activities comprise a minimum of 30% of class-time to develop student’s problem-solving, research and laboratory skills.

    This course is especially well suited for those students who are exploring health-care related professions, have an interest in anatomical artistic depiction of the human body or have an interest in the function, care and maintenance of a healthy body.

    SEMESTER I:  This semester addresses cell biology, system organization, the integumentary, skeletal, muscular and nervous systems.

    SEMESTER II:  This semester addresses the endocrine, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, excretory, reproductive and immunological systems.

    Students may elect to enroll in Human Anatomy and Physiology I without registering for the Semester II course; however, it is recommended that students enroll in both semesters.

    NOTE - While successful completion of Human Anatomy and Physiology I is recommended, it is not a prerequisite for enrollment in Human Anatomy and Physiology II.

    Texts: Hole’s Human Anatomy & Physiology, 10th Edition, Sheir, Butler, Lewis

     

    HONORS HUMAN ANATOMY and PHYSIOLOGY I and II

    (Option for credit with Norwalk Community College)

    Grade 10 – 12

    Duration: 1 or 2 Semesters

    Prerequisite: Chemistry (or concurrently taking) and 1 credit Biology or a life science

    Credit NCHS: 0.5 per Semester / College Credit:  4 credit hours per semester

    This is a science elective course that is designed for students who desire a deeper understanding of the structure and function of the human body.  The course is designed to view the body as a whole unit, while focusing on the organization and interactions between organ systems at the micro to macro levels of cellular function.

    Laboratory investigations and inquiry activities comprise a minimum of 30% of class-time to develop student’s problem-solving, research and laboratory skills.

    This course is especially well suited for those students who are exploring health-care related professions, have an interest in anatomical artistic depiction of the human body or have an interest in the function, care and maintenance of a healthy body.

    Students may elect to enroll in Honors Human Anatomy and Physiology I without registering for the Semester II course; however, it is recommended that students enroll in both semesters.

    NOTE - Successful completion of Human Anatomy and Physiology I is a prerequisite for enrollment in Human Anatomy and Physiology II.

    SEMESTER I:  This semester addresses cell biology, system organization, the integumentary, skeletal, muscular and nervous systems.

    SEMESTER II:  This semester addresses the endocrine, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, excretory, reproductive and immunological systems

    Students who achieve the academic goals, determined in cooperation with Norwalk Community College (e.g., content examinations and laboratory practicums), will receive college credit. 

    Text (College Level): Human Anatomy & Physiology, 9th Edition, Marieb and Hoehn

     

    MARINE SCIENCE

    Grade: 11 - 12

    Duration: 1 Semester

    Prerequisite: 1 credit in Biology or a life science

    Credit: 0.5 per Semester

    Marine Science provides the student with an overview of oceanography and marine biology. The course is a mix of many areas of scientific study, including Chemistry, Physics, Geology and Biology. Topics covered include properties of seawater, ocean ecology, marine environments, major marine phyla and the impact of humans on the ocean and marine life.

    There may be mandatory field trips to local points of interest, such as the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, to examine marine habitats. Students are required to collect specimens and maintain marine tanks to serve as models of different ecosystems and complete research projects and oral presentations. This course involves the handling of shellfish.

    Text: Marine Science, The Dynamic Ocean. 1st Edition. Marrero and Schuster

     

    EXPLORATIONS IN SCIENCE I, II

    Grade: 9-12

    Duration: 2 Semesters

    Prerequisite: IEP Placement

    Credit: 0.5 per Semester

    This course is designed to provide students with exposure to a variety of essential concepts in physical science (structure of matter, chemical reactions, energy and motion, work and mechanics, and sound and light) and earth science (forces in the earth, weathering and erosion, the earth’s atmosphere, weather and climate, and solar system).

    Emphasis will be placed on developing reading comprehension strategies through the curriculum. Students will be assigned homework on a daily basis. Students will take part in basic laboratory experiments to help explore and enhance their understanding of concepts. Methods of assessment will include tests and quizzes.

    Text: To be determined

     

    EXPLORATIONS IN BIOLOGY

    Grade: 10-12

    Duration: 2 Semesters

    Prerequisite: IEP Placement

    Credit: 0.5 per Semester

     

    This course is designed to provide students with exposure to a variety of essential concepts in biology (animal kingdom, plant kingdom, heredity and evolution, and human anatomy and physiology). Students will be assigned homework on a daily basis and take part in basic laboratory experiments to help explore and enhance their understanding of concepts. Methods of assessment will include tests and quizzes.

     

    Text: To be determined