Science

The primary goal of the science program at BB&N at all levels is to give students a systematic approach to scientific problem solving. This is accomplished through a laboratory-based discovery approach adopted with the belief that insights are best developed in an experimental setting. Laboratory skills emphasize the habit of objectivity in observation and accuracy in data gathering and recording. Identification and control of variables, manipulation and presentation of data, and evaluation of the validity of experiments are emphasized as appropriate to the grade level.

The department aims to instill in students an appreciation for science as an imaginative, often impassioned human endeavor. Students gain an understanding of the common atomic base yet the amazing diversity of both the natural and man-made environment. They also appreciate the principles that help to describe the interactions of matter and energy.

Courses

Biology

Biology (Grades 9-10)

Biology is an introductory course that surveys a variety of topics with an emphasis on cell biology, genetics, and physiology. Students are provided with the background needed to develop an understanding of the contemporary issues in science from a cellular, molecular and ecological perspective. Correlated lab work is emphasized, including units incorporating experimental design, scientific communication, and biotechnology.

Honors Biology (Grades 9-10)

Honors Biology includes material similar to Biology but the pace is quicker and topics are explored in greater depth. Students build a foundation necessary to understand the contemporary issues in science from a cellular, molecular, biochemical, and ecological perspective.Correlated lab work is emphasized, including units incorporating experimental design, scientific communication, biotechnology, and a frog dissection. Students are approved for this course by their BB&N Middle School science teacher or by the Science Department Head. It is recommended that students who take Honors Biology simultaneously take Algebra 2 or Algebra 2 Honors.

Prerequisite: Permission of the Science Department

Advanced Biology (Grade 12, elective)

This course includes a selection of topics from the Advanced Placement Biology curriculum. The course is divided roughly into thirds: evolution, cell biology, and genetics are discussed in the fall trimester; molecular and organismal biology in the second trimester; and animal behavior and ecology in the spring trimester.

Prerequisites: Biology, Chemistry, and permission of the Science Department

This course can be taken alone or in combination with Experimental Biology. When taken in combination with Experimental Biology for the entire academic year, this results in Advanced Placement (AP) notation on a student’s transcript. It is expected that students taking Advanced Biology and Experimental Biology remain enrolled in both courses for the full academic year (including Senior Spring Project) in order to complete the AP curriculum.

Experimental Biology (Grade 12, elective)

This course includes many of the laboratory exercises and experiments normally contained in an introductory college biology course. The laboratory work is taken from widely used lab manuals and is correlated with reading assignments in the textbook used for the Advanced Placement Biology course. Students expand upon these topics by planning and executing their own experiments. Evaluation is based on lab work, including collaboratively designed and executed research projects presented using scientific posters, PowerPoint presentations, and lab reports. Additionally, there are lab-practical and written tests. An important component of this course involves either a comparative dissection or a synthetic biology engineering and design project in which participation is mandatory.

Prerequisites: Biology, Chemistry, and permission of the Science Department

This course can be taken alone or in combination with Advanced Biology. When taken in combination with Advanced Biology for the entire academic year, this results in Advanced Placement (AP) notation on a student’s transcript. It is expected that students taking Advanced Biology and Experimental Biology remain enrolled in both courses for the full academic year (throughout Senior Spring Project) in order to complete the AP curriculum.

Advanced Placement Biology (Grade 12, elective)

Advanced Biology, when taken in conjunction with Experimental Biology, fully prepares students for the Advanced Placement (AP) Biology exam. Students are expected to remain enrolled in both courses for the full academic year to complete the AP curriculum and are encouraged to take the exam in May.

Physics

Physics (Grades 10-12)

This is a lab-based course designed for students who have completed Biology and who want to explore physical science with an emphasis on the practical nature of the physical world. The course includes mechanics, motion, and energy as well as electricity, simple circuits, and waves. Algebra is used in the interpretation of data and provides a link between the relationships elucidated by lab experiments and the practical applications of those principles. There are also various projects, including a science and art co-curricular photography project, integrated into the course and designed to allow students explore and apply the concepts learned in the course in a creative way.

Honors Physics (Grades 10-12

Honors Physics is a lab-based course that stresses the discovery of physical relationships through lab experiences. The year begins with a study of motion, proceeds through conservation of energy, electricity, circuits, simple harmonic motion, and ends with the examination of sound and light. Algebra 2 is a prerequisite for enrollment since Algebra is used extensively in the interpretation of data and in the expression of ideas. Enrollment can be limited.

Prerequisite: Algebra 2 and permission of the Science Department

Advanced Physics: Electricity and Magnetism (Grades 11-12, elective)

The focus of this course is on electricity and magnetism, including electric fields, capacitors, dielectrics, circuits, magnetic fields, electromagnetic force, and concludes with electromagnetic waves and Faraday’s equations. The course begins with a review of mechanics learned in a first year physics course and introduces rotational mechanics needed for relevant E&M application later in the course. Significant emphasis is placed on the development of strong lab skills, including error analysis and problem solving, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Prerequisites: Physics or Honors Physics and permission of the Science Department
Corequisite: Precalculus
Recommended: Generally a B+ or higher in all prior math and science courses

Advanced Placement Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism (Grades 11-12, elective)

Students enrolled in Advanced Physics receive Advanced Placement Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism notation on their transcript if they have completed or are concurrently enrolled in a Calculus course and if they complete the AP curriculum during third trimester. The focus of the third trimester is the application of Calculus to concepts learned in the Advanced Physics course as well as preparation for the Advanced Placement exam in May.

Chemistry

Principles of Chemistry (Grades 10-12)

The Principles of Chemistry curriculum offers a broad survey of atomic structure and models, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, gases, enthalpy, and solutions. While the content of this course is more conceptual than that of the Chemistry course, students develop strong laboratory techniques and problem-solving skills. This course is recommended for interested students in Grades 11 and 12 and for students in Grade 10 who wish to strengthen their quantitative and laboratory skills prior to taking Physics. This course provides a solid foundation for Physics and upper level science electives.

Chemistry (Grades 11-12)

This course includes the standard college preparatory material required for continued work in chemistry, biology, or pre-medical studies. Topics include the structure of atoms and molecules and principles of chemical reactions including energy, kinetics, equilibrium, and reactions between acids and bases. Laboratory work, observation, and data analysis are emphasized and used as a means of examining the scientific thought process. Strong math skills are essential.

Prerequisite: Algebra 2 and permission of the Science Department
Recommended Prior Science Course: Physics

Honors Chemistry (Grades 11-12)

Honors Chemistry includes the same topics as the Chemistry course but the pace is quicker and each subject is examined in greater depth. Strong math and science skills are essential. Enrollment can be limited.

Prerequisite: Algebra 2 and permission of the Science Department
Recommended Prior Science Course: Honors Physics in Grade 10

Science Electives

Juniors and seniors who have completed the Science Department graduation requirement may request to take one of the following science electives. These courses allow students to explore a topic of interest in depth, with a continued emphasis on the development of critical thinking and scientific reasoning skills. Enrollment in these courses (Engineering Principles and Practices, Environmental Science, Forensics, Human Physiology, Marine Ecology, Advanced Biology, Experimental Biology, Advanced Placement Biology, Advanced Physics, Advanced Placement Physics, and Current Topics and Research in Science and Technology) can be limited. Seniors are given priority for enrollment. A lottery may be used if a course is over-enrolled.

Engineering Principles and Practice (Grades 11-12)

Engineering Principles and Practice is a hands-on, project-based course that is designed for students who are interested in the applications of Engineering to current and evolving technologies. This course includes but is not limited to, the exploration of mechanical engineering, civil engineering, manufacturing engineering, electrical engineering, engineering ethics, and environmental engineering. Students become familiar with the design process and will be able to take an idea through the design, prototype, and build phases. Students learn by doing while receiving in-process support. They become creative problem-solvers as they overcome obstacles throughout the design-test-build process. Field trips to various manufacturing facilities complement classroom work and expose students to actual product realization. This course is based in math and science, but is designed for all students interested in learning more about the expanding field of engineering.

Prerequisites: Physics, Algebra 2, and Geometry

Environmental Science (Grades 11-12)

Environmental Science is a course that explores the inter-relationships of biological, physical, and environmental factors and how they influence social, ethical, and economic issues. Activities, projects, and class discussions concentrate on the causes and the solutions of environmental problems on a local and on a global scale. Topics may include ecosystems, renewable and nonrenewable resources, water quality, food resources, conservation biology, and population studies. Laboratory investigations focus on the local environment, including the Charles River and Mt. Auburn Cemetery. Learning via first-hand observations and analysis is emphasized.

Prerequisite: Biology

Forensics (Grades 11-12)

Forensics is a lab-based course that stresses the importance of applying scientific principles to criminal investigations and the law. Students learn the methodology needed to evaluate a crime scene, the proper lab mechanics needed to evaluate evidence, and how to identify and compare samples that are both known and unknown. Procedures in collecting, recording, and interpreting criminal evidence are examined and modeled. Students gain a broad understanding of forensic science and how it is used in criminal cases. Forensic experiments include drug analysis, blood-typing, hair and fiber analysis, gunshot residue tests, and fingerprint identification. This course includes lectures, labs, research projects, activities, and video creation.

Recommended Prior Science Course: Chemistry

Human Physiology (Grades 11-12)

Human Physiology is a course in which lab work is used to study several major organs and organ systems of the body. The course covers cell, tissue, and organ structure with a focus on the muscular, circulatory, respiratory, and nervous systems. The interrelationships between various physiological systems are explored and applications related to clinical conditions are addressed, particularly in end-of-term projects. Field trips to local institutions, which in the past have included the Beth Israel Surgical Skills and Simulation Center and the Russell Museum of Medical Innovation, complement material discussed in class. Participation in dissection is a required part of this course.

Marine Ecology (Grades 11-12)

Marine Ecology is designed for students who are interested in learning about the diverse marine environments, the biology of marine organisms, and the relationships between the ocean’s inhabitants and their surroundings. Topics include: the ocean environment, the various ecosystems within and supporting the Earth’s oceans, and the comparative physiology of the diverse species that inhabit the Earth’s oceans. This course also affords students an opportunity to explore larger connections with a focus on global marine conservation issues. Field trips to local marine centers, which in the past have included the Northeastern University Marine Science Center and Woods Hole, as well as lab-based investigations and research projects, encourage the development of observational and research skills. The second trimester includes dissections as a method of studying marine life in a hands-on way.

Prerequisite: Biology
Recommended Prior Science Course: Chemistry

Advanced Biology (Grade 12)

This course includes a selection of topics from the Advanced Placement Biology curriculum. The course is divided roughly into thirds: evolution, cell biology, and genetics are discussed in the fall trimester; molecular and organismal biology in the second trimester; and animal behavior and ecology in the spring trimester.

Prerequisites: Biology, Chemistry, and permission of the Science Department

This course can be taken alone or in combination with Experimental Biology. When taken in combination with Experimental Biology for the entire academic year, this results in Advanced Placement (AP) notation on a student’s transcript. It is expected that students taking Advanced Biology and Experimental Biology remain enrolled in both courses for the full academic year (including Senior Spring Project) in order to complete the AP curriculum.

Experimental Biology (Grade 12)

This course includes many of the laboratory exercises and experiments normally contained in an introductory college biology course. The laboratory work is taken from widely used lab manuals and is correlated with reading assignments in the textbook used for the Advanced Placement Biology course. Students expand upon these topics by planning and executing their own experiments. Evaluation is based on lab work, including collaboratively designed and executed research projects presented using scientific posters, PowerPoint presentations, and lab reports. Additionally, there are lab-practical and written tests. An important component of this course involves either a comparative dissection or a synthetic biology engineering and design project in which participation is mandatory.

Prerequisites: Biology, Chemistry, and permission of the Science Department

This course can be taken alone or in combination with Advanced Biology. When taken in combination with Advanced Biology for the entire academic year, this results in Advanced Placement (AP) notation on a student’s transcript. It is expected that students taking Advanced Biology and Experimental Biology remain enrolled in both courses for the full academic year (throughout Senior Spring Project) in order to complete the AP curriculum.

Advanced Placement Biology (Grade 12)

Advanced Biology, when taken in conjunction with Experimental Biology, fully prepares students for the Advanced Placement (AP) Biology exam. Students are expected to remain enrolled in both courses for the full academic year to complete the AP curriculum and are encouraged to take the exam in May.

Advanced Physics: Electricity and Magnetism (Grades 11-12)

The focus of this course is on electricity and magnetism, including electric fields, capacitors, dielectrics, circuits, magnetic fields, electromagnetic force, and concludes with electromagnetic waves and Faraday’s equations. The course begins with a review of mechanics learned in a first year physics course and introduces rotational mechanics needed for relevant E&M application later in the course. Significant emphasis is placed on the development of strong lab skills, including error analysis and problem solving, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Prerequisites: Physics or Honors Physics and permission of the Science Department
Corequisite: Precalculus
Recommended: Generally a B+ or higher in all prior math and science courses

Advanced Placement Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism (Grades 11-12)

Students enrolled in Advanced Physics receive Advanced Placement Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism notation on their transcript if they have completed or are concurrently enrolled in a Calculus course and if they complete the AP curriculum during third trimester. The focus of the third trimester is the application of Calculus to concepts learned in the Advanced Physics course as well as preparation for the Advanced Placement exam in May.

Current Topics and Research in Science and Technology(Grade 12)

This course is designed for students to explore topics in science and technology both within and beyond BB&N by critically reviewing current literature, presenting recent findings in science, visiting scientific destinations throughout the Greater Boston area, and potentially undertaking an independent research project outside of BB&N. Interested students must be motivated and independent learners capable of working within established timeframes to achieve research and presentation goals. Students enrolled in this course identify areas of scientific interest, pursue independent research, and work toward creating a symposium of current topics in science that is shared with the BB&N community in the winter. By the end of November, students are expected to establish a connection with a science mentor outside of BB&N who is willing to have the student undertake a research project in their laboratory continuing through Senior Spring Project. It is recommended, but not expected, that students spend the summer between their junior and senior year establishing this connection in anticipation of spending approximately 80 hours (an average of 10-15 hours per week) working on an independent research project outside of BB&N during their Senior Spring Project. Students meet weekly as a class during Senior Spring Project to share their research.

Prerequisites: Successful completion of three years of science and permission of the Science Department
Corequisite: Enrollment in a science elective

Upper School Calendar

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