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  Science

In their science courses at St. Agnes, students are encouraged to explore the interactions among society, technology, and science. By understanding past achievements, present projects and future possibilities in scientific study, students will lay foundations for a lifetime of interest and possible career in science.

St. Agnes students must take four years of science and will follow either a regular science program or an honors program. All students in the regular college preparatory program take Biology in 9th grade and Chemistry in 10th grade. Students must also take Physics before graduation. Beyond these courses, students will choose from the following: Human Genetics, Human Body Systems, Physiology, Chemistry 2, Oceanography, Geology, Astronomy, and Forensic Science.

Students with a strong science aptitude can follow one of two programs depending on their capabilities and the results of their science placement test. Ninth graders may be placed into Honors Biology. After 9th grade, the following honors courses are available: Honors Pre-AP Chemistry, Honors Physics, AP Biology, and AP Chemistry. Honors Biology and Honors Pre-AP Chemistry students are encouraged to take the SAT II test.

Faculty
Harold Burris
Saundra Coffey
Deborah Crank
Josephine DeForke, Department Chair
Brian Ferrenz
Jeff Hollinger
Robin Licato
Veronica Rygh
Eric Silberman
Lisa Stinson
 
Science Courses

410 BIOLOGY 1 (1 credit)
Biology is a one-year laboratory and lecture-based course of study of the science of life from the sub-molecular level to the level of the biosphere. In this course, students will study ecosystems and the environment, fundamental biochemistry, cells and cellular reactions, the microscope, genetics, evolution, taxonomy, plant biology, and the anatomy and physiology of the major body systems. The unit of genetics includes research on The Human Genome Project. Laboratory investigations will be used to reinforce class work, to demonstrate scientific principles, to reconfirm hypotheses discussed in class, and to teach science process skills. Students will use their laptops in the course, using presentation, word processing and spreadsheet programs. They will also do research using the Internet. The course will include an in-depth dissection and study of the fetal pig.

415 HONORS BIOLOGY 1 (1 credit)
Honors Biology 1 is designed to encourage scientific inquiry and problem solving.  The course covers such topics as biochemistry, cell structure and function, cellular processes, genetics, biotechnology, ecology, evolution, phylogeny, plant structure and function,  anatomy and physiology.   Laboratory work and other hands-on activities are emphasized.  Projects are selected to challenge students, to improve laboratory and research skills, to provide opportunities to collaborate with other students and to present scientific information in a variety of ways.  Students are expected to be able to analyze and evaluate scientific data in both oral and written form.  The curriculum includes a detailed dissection and study of the anatomy and physiology of the cat.  The use of technology is a key component of the curriculum.  
Placement is based on entrance exam reading scores, science placement test score and math placement.  Students must take the science placement test to be considered for placement in Honors Biology 1. 

421 HUMAN GENETICS (1/2 credit)
This one semester Biology 2 course introduces the student to the field of human genetics. This course is dedicated to a review of molecular biology beginning with an in-depth look at DNA, RNA and protein synthesis. Next is a section on genetics, including cloning, stem cells and the new field of bioinformatics. A considerable amount of time is spent on human genetics and genetic disorders. The semester ends with a look at the theory of natural selection and how evolution is driven by genetics.
Offered in the fall. Prerequisites: Biology 1, Chemistry 1.

422 HUMAN BODY SYSTEMS (1/2 credit)
This one semester Biology 2 course is devoted to a study of human anatomy and physiology. This course begins with a unit on cells and human body tissues, followed by a survey of human body systems, including skeletal, muscular, digestive, circulatory, excretory, respiratory and reproductive.  The course concludes with extensive units on the brain, hormones and the senses. Students will be required to perform a small mammal dissection.
Offered in the spring. Prerequisites: Biology 1, Chemistry 1.

425 PHYSIOLOGY (1 credit)
This course studies the physiology (function) of the different systems found in the human body, for example, digestive, cardiovascular, etc.  Lectures are accompanied by a rigorous laboratory schedule designed to enhance the student's understanding of the class topics.  Includes an animal dissection and at least three formal laboratory reports. 
Prerequisites: Biology 1, Chemistry 1. Taken at Strake Jesuit.

426 HONORS AP BIOLOGY (1 credit)
AP Biology is designed to challenge students, who have an interest in biology. This honors course covers all topics recommended by the College Board in order to be successful on the AP Exam in Biology. The course includes significant reading assignments, complex lab protocols, and numerous hands-on activities. Some topics included are biochemistry, biotechnology, cellular processes, cellular energetics, metabolism, genetics, ecology, evolution, bacteria, viruses, plant structure and function, and various animal body systems.  Many labs are inquiry-based.  Problem-solving and data analysis are emphasized.  Graphing and various mathematical calculations are integral to many topics throughout the course.  The demanding schedule of laboratory work necessitates that the class will meet during lunch 1 or 2 times per cycle in order to fulfill the required number of lecture/lab hours. Attendance at these lunch classes is mandatory.
Prerequisites:  Strong B or better in Honors Biology 1 or strong A in Biology 1.  Strong B or better in Honors Chemistry 1 or strong A in Chemistry 1.
AP Course fee (includes AP exam): $92

430 CHEMISTRY 1 (1 credit)
Chemistry is a course designed to acquaint the student with the fundamentals of basic chemistry such as matter and energy, phases of matter, atomic structure and bonding, chemical formulas and equations, solutions, the kinetic theory, acids, bases, salts, and organic chemistry. Laboratory work is an important part of the course; it emphasizes the skills to do precision work and an awareness of safety in the laboratory. Chemistry challenges the student to develop her reasoning skills and ability to assimilate new material. 

440 HONORS PRE-AP CHEMISTRY 1 (1 credit)
This course is designed to interest and challenge the outstanding science student. Pre-AP Chemistry is aligned with the College Board's recommendations and prepares students to be successful in Honors AP Chemistry.  Compared to the regular, college prep course, the Pre-AP class is faster-paced and covers more content relevant to the AP class.  Assessments are rigorous and higher level thinking and application is emphasized.  The course includes an in-depth study of chemical formulas and equations, quantitative relationships of energy and matter, atomic and molecular structure, periodicity, gas laws and the kinetic theory, solutions, chemical equilibrium, acids, bases and salts, and oxidation reduction. Laboratory experiments are emphasized as a means to illustrate information presented in lecture.  A solid background in mathematics is needed as chemical calculations are stressed.
Prerequisite: Honors Math or a strong B or better in Algebra 1. Strong B or better in Honors Biology 1 or strong A in Biology 1.

443 CHEMISTRY 2 (1 credit)
This is a continuation of Chemistry 1. Concepts in inorganic and organic chemistry, thermochemistry, kinetics, Gibbs free energy, and electrochemistry are covered in depth. Laboratory work corresponding to lecture topics is an integral part of the course.
Prerequisites: Biology 1, Chemistry 1.

444 HONORS AP CHEMISTRY (1 credit)
This accelerated course in chemistry covers all topics recommended by the College Board in order to successfully take the AP test in chemistry. Laboratory work includes qualitative and quantitative chemistry. This course has a required summer reading set which reviews Honors Pre-AP Chemistry I topics essential for this course.  This class will also meet during lunch 1 or 2 times per week in order to fulfill the required number of lecture/lab hours.  Attendance at these lunch classes is mandatory.
Prerequisites: Honors Math or strong B or better in Algebra 1, strong B or better in Honors Pre-AP Chemistry 1 or strong A in Chemistry 1, successful completion of Biology 1.
AP Course fee (includes AP exam): $92

451 EMPIRICAL PHYSICS (1 credit)
This course gives the student an introduction to the important concepts of classical physics, including objects in motion and at rest, balanced and unbalanced forces, as well as critical concepts in the areas of sound, light, magnetism and electricity. In addition, there are special units that cover lasers, high-energy physics, astronomy, and astrophysics. This is a conceptual/experimental course in which students will learn the basic principles to their everyday lives.
Prerequisites: Biology 1, Chemistry 1. Corequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2 or higher math course.

452 PHYSICS (1 credit)
This course provides a systematic introduction to the main principles of physics and emphasizes the development of conceptual understanding, laboratory technique, problem-solving ability, and mathematical analysis-though it limits its mathematical scope to topics covered in Algebra and Geometry.  Topics include mechanics, universal gravitation, electrostatics and electricity, waves, sound, and light.  This course is recommended for students considering a career in medicine, architecture, engineering, mathematics, or science.
Prerequisites: Biology 1, Chemistry 1. Corequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2 or higher math course.

455 HONORS PHYSICS (1 credit)
This course is designed for students interested in majoring in math, science or engineering in college.  It gives the student a strong conceptual, experimental, and mathematical background in classical mechanics.  Some of the topics covered are force, acceleration, velocity, rotational motion and torque.
Prerequisites:  Biology 1, Chemistry 1. Corequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Honors Pre-Calculus or Calculus.

465 GEOLOGY (1/2 credit)
Geology is a one semester laboratory and lecture based course of the study of the earth and its processes.  It is the science of the nature, origin and development of the earth.  The approach of this course is from the physical and historical rather than the chemical viewpoint.  Topics such as plate tectonics, geologic time, identification and economic uses of minerals and gems, the rock cycle, and the causes and effects of volcanoes and earthquakes will be discussed in this course. We will also cover geographical topics such as sedimentary deposits, deformation and mapping.
Prerequisites: Biology 1, Chemistry 1.

475 OCEANOGRAPHY AND LIMNOLOGY (1 credit)
In the Aquatic Science course, students will investigate a variety of topics that include: components of an aquatic ecosystem; relationships among aquatic habitats and ecosystems; roles of cycles within an aquatic environment; adaptations of aquatic organisms; changes within aquatic environments; geological phenomena and fluid dynamics effects; and origin and use of water in a watershed. 
Prerequisites:  Biology 1, Chemistry 1. Taken at Strake Jesuit.

480 ASTRONOMY (1/2 credit)
This course will provide students with an overview of the history of astronomy and the tools used to investigate the universe. We will also examine the formation of the solar system and the nature of the planets. We will explore the birth, evolution, and death of stars, the nature of galaxies, and extreme objects in space, including neutron stars and black holes. We will investigate the origin, evolution, and fate of the universe. In addition, the course will examine the history of the exploration of the planets by robotic spacecraft and the possibilities of space travel by humans both within the solar system as well as to other star systems. The primary focus of this course will be on details and concepts with occasional calculations required in certain sections.
Prerequisites: Biology 1, Chemistry 1, Algebra 2, Physics (451, 452, or 455) or concurrent enrollment in Physics.  Offered in the Fall and Spring.  

490 FORENSIC SCIENCE (1/2 credit)
This one semester elective course in Forensic Science focuses on practices and analysis of physical evidence found at crime scenes.  Using a multi-disciplinary approach, topics covered will include concepts from chemistry, zoology, anatomy, genetics, physics, psychology, communication, mathematics, statistics, and law.  Students will conduct analysis of evidence and perform virtual autopsies while increasing laboratory, data analysis, and problem-solving skills.
Prerequisites: Biology 1, Chemistry 1.

 
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