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Science

The focus of science education must not merely focus on the development of future scientists. It must be equally concerned with the development of citizens who are scientifically literate and who understand science in multidimensional and multidisciplinary ways. By doing so, students will be able to participate intelligently in critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making about how we should use science and technology for future growth and development of society.

Thus, the Pacifica Science Department endeavors to provide students with opportunities to develop an inquiring mind and a systematic approach to problem solving. To this end, the department seeks to provide students with a solid scientific foundation.  It does so by guiding students to master scientific concepts, problem solving, and decision making skills.  We believe that developing this foundation will inspire them to continue their study of science beyond high school. The department further endeavors to enable students to become informed citizens in matters concerning science and society.


Science Courses

Graduation requirement: 3 years

Biology

(Year Course)

This course provides students with a systematic study of living things from the molecular level through cells, systems, and populations. Biological laboratory techniques, experimental design and data analysis are stressed. Major topics include animal behavior, the chemistry of living things, cell structure and function, cell transport and reproduction, DNA replication, synthesis of proteins, animal structure and function, selected human systems, and the biology of diseases, including AIDS and cancers. Critical thinking, problem-solving, and human impact on the natural world are emphasized throughout the course.

Honors Biology

(Year Course)
Prerequisite: Algebra 1 with a B or higher, cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher

This course provides students with a systematic study of living things from the molecular level through cells, systems, and populations. Biological laboratory techniques, experimental design and data analysis are stressed. Major topics include animal behavior, the chemistry of living things, cell structure and function, cell transport and reproduction, DNA replication, synthesis of proteins, animal structure and function, selected human systems, and the biology of diseases, including AIDS and cancers. Critical thinking, problem-solving, and human impact on the natural world are emphasized throughout the course. This honors level class moves at an accelerated pace, requires more advanced problem solving than non-honors sections, and exposes students to more complex concepts.

Chemistry

(Year Course)
Prerequisite: Completion of Biology

This course concerns the structure and properties of matter. The course design emphasizes problem solving, analysis, and application. Topics covered include the atomic theory, the mole concept, properties of solids, liquids, and gases, chemical reactions, acid-base chemistry, and qualitative analysis. Laboratories and activities will be an essential part of the course.

Honors Chemistry

(Year Course)
Prerequisite: Completion of Biology with an A or Honors Biology with a B or better and concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2.

This course concerns the structure and properties of matter. The course design emphasizes problem solving, analysis, and application. Topics covered include the atomic theory, the mole concept, properties of solids, liquids, and gases, chemical reactions, acid-base chemistry, and qualitative analysis. Laboratories and activities will be an essential part of the course. This honors level class moves at an accelerated pace, requires more advanced problem solving than non-honors sections, and exposes students to more complex concepts.

AP Biology

(Year Course)
Prerequisite: Completion of Biology and Chemistry with an A or Honors Biology and Honors Chemistry with a B or better.

This class is a college-level course which expands on the principles introduced in Biology. It also helps students prepare for the national Advanced Placement Biology Examination. This course includes rigorous laboratory experiments as well as intensive reading and writing assignments. This course will require meetings outside of the normal class time arranged by the teacher.

Physics

(Year Course)
Prerequisite: Completion of Chemistry and completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2

This class is an overview of the major topics in classical Physics. Topics include motion, forces and Newton’s Laws, work and energy, gravity and planetary motion, fluids, heat and thermodynamics, and electricity and magnetism. The course stresses conceptual understanding, mathematical problem solving, and critical thinking. Students participate in laboratories and projects to reveal underlying laws and quantitative relationships.