Science

The Science curriculum, while increasing students’ scientific knowledge, encourages students to develop skills of critical inquiry and creative thinking in the application of the scientific method. Classes are structured to foster skills and habits that enable students to pursue a more complex understanding of the world around them as seen through the lens of physics, chemistry, and biology.

The goals of the Science Department are to:
  • Develop scientific literacy within students
  • Equip students with the skills to apply the scientific method in the search for truth
  • Foster an understanding of the compatibility of scientific principles and research with the Christian faith
  • Prepare students to make ethical judgments of scientific research and the application of emerging science
  • Prepare students for the rigors of collegiate-level science and give them an opportunity to explore the possibilities of careers in science.

Courses: Integrated Science, Green Level (Grade 6) | Chemical Interactions & Environmental Studies (Grade 7) | Introduction to Physics & Astronomy (Grade 8) | Biology (Grade 9) | Chemistry (Grade 10) | Biology (Grade 11, elective) | Advanced Placement Biology (Grade 11 or 12, elective) | Human Anatomy and Physiology (Grade 12, elective) | Psychology (Grade 12, elective) | AP Psychology (Grade 12, Elective)

 

Integrated Science, Green Level (Grade 6)

The sixth grade science course is an introduction to science, providing an overview of multiple topics from weather, climate, space, to basic biology, cells, simple organisms, animals and ecology, and to matter, motion, machines and energy. Hands-on projects and computer activities are used to help students understand basic scientific concepts, while ignite their curiosity. This course is required for grade six students.

Course Highlights:

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Chemical Interactions & Environmental Studies (Grade 7)

In this course, students are introduced to the physical and biological forces that govern chemical reactions and the environment. Topics in Chemical Interactions include atomic structure, states of matter, periodic trends, classification of chemical reactions, heat in chemical reactions, gas laws, and solutions. Topics in environmental science include interactions of organisms, ecosystem organization, biomes, and human impact on the environment. While the primary outcomes are a conceptual understanding of scientific principles, mathematical representations of these concepts are taught parallel to the mathematics courses. Exploratory laboratory exercises develop scientific reasoning skills while enhancing students’ understanding of the subject at hand. Science 7 is required for grade seven students.

Course Highlights:
  • Art Detective: Students use their understanding of chemical compounds and reactivity to analyze a piece of artwork, ultimately determining if it is authentic or a fraud.

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Introduction to Physics & Astronomy (Grade 8)

Eighth grade science is a conceptual approach to physics. Topics include forces, fluids, motion, friction, machines, power, energy, sound, the electromagnetic spectrum, and astronomy. Connections to human biology, mechanics, and engineering are used to enhance understanding of physical laws and theories. Inquiry-based laboratory exercises are used to push students’ understanding of the scientific method as a tool to answer questions and to reinforce conceptual understanding of the physical laws studied. Science 8 is required for grade eight students.

Course Highlights:
  • Taking Flight: Students explore the Wright Brothers history-making experiments to understand the basis of aircraft design. Using their knowledge of lift, drag, thrust, and gravity, each student designs a new airplane that will compete in an air show.
  • Scooter Time: Students use their understanding of Netwon’s laws to build Newton’s scooters

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Upper School Science Courses

Starting the current school year, 2011-2012, the new sequence of required high school science courses is Biology (9th grade), Chemistry (10th grade) and Physics (11th grade). For the next two years there is a transition period, in which Biology is taught at both 9th grade and 11th grade level. Starting in 2013, the transition phase will be completed, and we will offer all three basic courses, with Physics in 11th grade. Several elective science courses are offered for the twelve and/or eleven grade students.

Biology (Grade 9)

This course approaches life science from the atomic level up through ecosystems, while preparing students in essential study skills necessary to be successful in high school. Students will start with an exciting unit on Nervous System and Learning, followed by biochemistry, genetics, cellular biology, mammals’ anatomy and physiology, plants, evolution, and environmental interactions. Frequent laboratory experiences are used to support the content of the curriculum and develop students' problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Biology is required for grade nine students.

Course Highlights:

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Chemistry (Grade 10)

Chemistry is a comprehensive, in-depth approach to chemical properties and chemical interactions. Using concepts in algebra, students will gain a conceptual understanding of chemical properties and interactions that will include mathematic representations. Topics in Chemistry include the Periodic Table of the Elements, atomic structure, chemical reactions, predicting products, stoichiometry, equilibrium, reaction rates, solutions and solubility, and nuclear chemistry. Laboratory experiences are utilized to promote the development of technical laboratory skills, challenge students to use and develop reasoning and analytical skills, and develop students' problem solving skills. Chemistry is required for grade ten students.
 

Course Highlights:
  • Students will apply an understanding of physical properties to separate unknown substances from a sludge-like mixture.
  • Students will attempt to reverse photosynthesis in an experiment to study reaction energy, catalysts, thermal effects on reaction rates, and food calories.
  • Students will study the isotopes of the Manhattan Project and evaluate their subsequent impact on human society..

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Biology (Grade 11 - Physics starting in 2013)

This course approaches life science from the atomic level up through ecosystems. Beginning where Chemistry leaves off, students will understand life on a chemical basis. Following biochemistry, students will study genetics and DNA technology, cellular biology, the order and diversity of life on earth, evolution, and environmental interactions. Frequent laboratory experiences are used to support the content of the curriculum and develop students' problem solving and critical thinking skills. This school year Biology is required for eleventh grade students who completed Physics in their freshman year. Starting in 2013 Physics will be taught in 11th grade.

Course Highlights:
  • Stem-cell Research: Students engage in an exploration of stem-cell biology, discovering the chemical basis of stem-cell therapies, the medical potential of these therapies, and the ethical issues surrounding the use of stem cells.
  • Research Paper: Students present in-depth research on chordates in a poster seminar

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Advanced Placement Biology (Grade 11 or 12, elective)

This AP Biology course is equivalent to a college introductory biology course and includes topics in ecology, molecular biology, genetics, evolution, phylogeny, plant and animal structure and function. In-depth laboratory integration is included within and outside of the scheduled class time. This course prepares students for the College Board AP examination in May and is an elective for eleven and/or twelve grade students. AP Biology course is recommended for students who already completed a year in regular Biology, but this requirement may be waved on a case by case basis.

Course Highlights:
  • Essays: Students’ deep understanding of and connection between the themes of biology is refined in their ability to write thematic essays
  • Analysis: Students utilize skills of titration developed in chemistry to analyze rate of enzyme action

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Human Anatomy and Physiology (Grade 12, elective)

In this course students will study the human body, including all of the amazing and delicate structures, and ways in which those structures function together. The goal of this course is to both excite and inspire students to explore the incredibly complex human body through a process of regular case-based learning, discussions with virtual patients, as well as numerous hands-on lab dissections. This course is intended as an introductory overview to Human Anatomy & Physiology in one semester, where students will primarily learn to work in groups as they tackle cases together as well labs. Human Anatomy & Physiology is an elective for twelve grade students.

Course Highlights:

  • Case-based learning: Students will have the opportunity to explore the complexity of human anatomy and physiology through guided discussions of real-life cases in the medical field that require a comprehensive understanding of the interconnection between various systems. Students will work together in interactive groups, receiving feedback and guidance from the instructor throughout.
  • Virtual Patient Q&A: Students will also have the opportunity to communicate with virtual patients online as they attempt to solve cases and determine a differential diagnosis.

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Psychology (Grade 12, elective)

In this Psychology course students will study the interesting and complex array of human thoughts, actions, feelings, and emotions at an individual and group level and learn about their daily applications. Students will understand how scientists are able to discern between reality and common misconceptions and how they are conducting rigorous research. Major subjects covered in this course are research methods in psychology, biology of nervous system, learning, memory, language, intelligence, motivation, emotion, personality, development, social psychology, and psychological disorders and treatment.

Course Highlights:
  • Psychology workshop: students will prepare and teach key psychological concepts and their day-to-day significance to all BTA students, helping them look through various psychological lenses.

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AP Psychology (Grade 12, elective)

This is a college level course designed to introduce students to the scientific and rigorous study of human thought, feeling, mental process, and behavior at an individual and group level. Students learn to appreciate the fundamental psychological concepts, their day-to-day applications, the different conceptual frameworks, and the major scientific discoveries made by psychologists over the last century. Major subjects covered in this course are research methods, biology of nervous system, learning, memory, language, intelligence, motivation, emotion, personality, development, social psychology, and psychological disorders and treatment. This course prepares students for the College Board AP examination in May and is an elective for twelve grade students.

Course Highlights:

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