• Science Course Descriptions

      

    Research Earth Science

    Honors, weighted 0.5 640200
    Grades 9-10
    Credit: 1 Prerequisite: None
    Earth Science is a study of the interrelationships between the Earth’s composition, structure, processes, and history, and its atmosphere, meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy. Research Earth Science is designed to give students multiple experiences conducting research as a means to develop and reinforce earth science content knowledge and scientific thinking. Students interpret various maps, charts, and tables and utilize technology, including GIS and GPS, to organize and analyze data. Students learn the role that scientific evidence and scientific thinking plays in development of new scientific knowledge in the earth science disciplines. Students begin to develop expertise needed to conduct in depth scientific research. In particular, students gain the ability to collect and communicate data with descriptive statistics and graphical representations. In addition, students learn skills to use data and scientific knowledge to develop conclusions about their research questions. All Research Earth Science students are expected to complete an in-depth, independent Science Research Investigation (SRI) as a required part of their course work. Research Earth Science students may participate in the process leading to possible selection for participation in the Loudoun County Regional Science and Engineering Fair (RSEF).
     

    Earth Science (Academic)

    Academic 640300
    Grades 9-10
    Credit: 1 Prerequisite: None
    Earth Science is a study of the interrelationships between the Earth’s composition, structure, processes, and history and its atmosphere, meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy. Various scientists and their contributions are studied. Students interpret various maps, charts, and tables and utilize technology, including GIS and GPS, to organize and analyze data. Facility in using many different kinds of maps and graphics is a major outcome of learning earth science. Students also consider costs and benefits of using the Earth’s resources in problem solving situations

    Research Biology

    Honors, weighted 0.5
    650200
    Grades 9-10
    Credit: 1 Prerequisite: None
    Students taking Biology gain detailed knowledge of living systems. Areas of study include cellular organization and processes, molecular biology, classification of organisms, genetics, evolution, and ecosystems. Research Biology is designed to give students multiple experiences conducting science research as a means to develop biology content knowledge and scientific thinking. Students interpret biological information and utilize technology, and biological protocols to organize and analyze data. Students learn the role that scientific evidence and scientific thinking plays in development of new scientific knowledge in the field of biology. Students are expected to collect and communicate data with descriptive statistics and graphical representations. In addition, students answer research questions using scientific data and draw conclusions using their biological content knowledge. During Research Biology, students develop the science thinking and process skills required to generate a scientific research question and design an investigation to collect data that will answer their question. Additionally, students develop a deeper understanding of the role of inferential statistics in data analysis and drawing conclusions. All Research Biology students are expected to complete an in depth, independent Science Research Investigation (SRI) as a required part of their course work. Research Biology students may participate in the process leading to possible selection for participation in the Loudoun County Regional Science and Engineering Fair (RSEF).
     

    Biology

    Academic 650300
    Grade 10
    Credit: 1 Prerequisite: None

    Students taking Biology gain detailed knowledge of living systems. Areas of study include cellular organization and processes, molecular biology, classification of organisms, genetics, evolution, and ecosystems. Students are expected to be able to demonstrate proper use of laboratory tools. Controlled experiments are performed, and results are reported. The importance of science research is emphasized.

     

    Biology Advanced Placement

    Weighted 1.0 655100
    Grades 10-12
    Credit: 1
    Prerequisites: Biology (Research or Academic) AND Chemistry (Research or Academic) completed or taken concurrently 

    Students must attain a passing score on the Biology SOL Test. This advanced course is a college-level, fast-paced course that follows the course outline of the College Board’s AP program. The course emphasizes cellular biology, biochemical processes of cellular respiration and photosynthesis, vertebrate anatomy and physiology, advanced genetics, evolution, plant anatomy and physiology, and ecology. Students have the opportunity to take the AP Biology Exam in May with the possibility of earning college credit.
     

    Research Chemistry

    Honors, weighted 0.5 661000
    Grades 10-12
    Credit: 1 Prerequisite: Algebra 1.

    Students must attain a passing score on the Algebra 1 SOL Test. Research Chemistry is designed to give students multiple experiences conducting science research as a means to develop chemistry content knowledge and scientific thinking. Students interpret chemical information and utilize technology and chemistry protocols to organize and analyze data. Students learn the role that scientific evidence and scientific thinking plays in development of new scientific knowledge in the field of chemistry. Students are expected to collect and communicate data with descriptive statistics and graphical representations. In addition, students answer research questions using scientific data and draw conclusions using their chemical content knowledge. During Research Chemistry, students develop the science thinking and process skills required to generate a scientific research question and design an investigation to collect data that will answer their question. Additionally, students develop a deeper understanding of the role of inferential statistics in data analysis and drawing conclusions. All Research Chemistry students are expected to complete an in-depth, independent Science Research Investigation (SRI) as a required part of their course work. Research Chemistry students may participate in the process leading to possible selection for participation in the Loudoun County Regional Science and Engineering Fair (RSEF).
     

    Chemistry

    660000
    Grades 10-12
    Credit: 1 Prerequisites: Algebra I.

    Students must attain a passing score on the Algebra I SOL Test. Chemistry students develop an appreciation for the interaction between matter and energy. Students investigate the structure, properties, and reactions of matter. Classroom study is balanced with laboratory experiences to deepen the students’ understanding of Chemistry. Analytical experimental investigations are conducted using the scientific method, and proper safety precautions are employed. Students investigate kinetic theory, the Periodic Table stoichiometry, reactions and equations, and chemical equilibrium. Students report findings of both qualitative and quantitative data using effective communication skills, correct expression of significant figures and error, and factor labeling in problem solving. Chemistry is designed as a challenging course requiring advanced reading and writing skills.

     

    Chemistry Advanced Placement

    Weighted 1.0 665100
    Grades 11-12
    Credit: 1 Prerequisites: Chemistry—Research or Academic 

    Students must attain a passing score on the Chemistry SOL Test. This advanced course is a college-level, fast-paced course in Chemistry that follows the course outline of the College Board’s AP Chemistry program. The course includes many extended lab procedures. In addition, such fields as organic chemistry, biochemistry, nuclear chemistry, coordination complexes, and semi-micro qualitative analysis are introduced. Students have the opportunity to take the AP Chemistry Exam in May with the possibility of earning college credit.

    Environmental Science

    656000
    Grades 11-12
    Credit: 1 Prerequisites: Two Science Credits (Earth Science and Biology suggested) 

    Successful performance on 2 science SOL tests (to be chosen from Earth Science, Biology, and/or Chemistry). Environmental Science provides the opportunity to synthesize information and knowledge of physics, chemistry, earth science, and biology while developing the Naturalist Intelligence. Students gain an understanding of ecological concepts including air, water, soil, biological diversity, and human impacts. Inquiry skills are developed through fieldwork, service projects, and collaborative investigation while using appropriate technology. Because of the interdisciplinary focus of the course, students are challenged with diverse topics, rigorous reading requirements, and opportunities for written and oral presentations.
     

    Conceptual Physics

    673000
    Grades 10-12
    Credit: 1 Prerequisite: Algebra I

    Students must attain a passing score on the Algebra I SOL Test. Students build on basic physical science principles by in-depth exploration of the nature and characteristics of energy and its dynamic interaction with matter. Topics include mechanics, electricity and magnetism, waves and optics, and nuclear energy. The course draws connections between the concepts of physics and many everyday applications. Students who are awarded a credit for Conceptual Physics cannot receive an additional credit for Physics 670000.
     

    Physics

    670000
    Grades 11-12
    Credit: 1 Prerequisite: Algebra II

    This course uses a highly mathematical approach. Students learn and use many algebraic and trigonometric concepts while investigating physics content. Laboratory work includes graphical analysis. Topics include mechanics, electricity and magnetism, waves and optics, the Special Theory of Relativity, and atomic structure. Physics is designed as a challenging course requiring advanced reading, writing, and mathematical skills. Students who have previously completed Conceptual Physics are not awarded another science credit for taking Physics 670000

     

    Physics C Advanced Placement

    Weighted 1.0 675100
    Grades 11-12
    Credit: 1 Prerequisite: Physics Co-requisite: Calculus

    This course is a fast paced, college-level course in Physics that follows the course outline of the College Board’s AP Physics program. Emphasis is placed on mechanics. Students study concepts in each of the following six content areas: kinematics; Newton’s laws of motion; work, energy and power; systems of particles and linear momentum; circular motion and rotation; and oscillations and gravitation. Pre-Calculus and Calculus skills are used to develop concepts and solve problems. Students have the opportunity to take the AP Physics C Exam in May with the possibility of earning college credit.
     
     

    Geospatial Science

    Dual Enrollment, weighted 0.5 670200
    Grades 11-12
    Credit: 1 Prerequisite: None

    Geospatial science involves the use of geographic information systems (GIS) which integrate hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically-referenced information. In this course, GIS is used to organize, analyze, and communicate spatial-data relationships. In the first semester, students learn about GIS tools and acquire the essential skills necessary to use GIS software and hardware effectively. These computer/software skills form the foundation of the course and are used extensively as students conduct independent research later in the course. Teacher-directed activities gradually lead to more student-directed research. All students are expected to complete an in-depth research project as a required part of their course work during the second semester. Students may also choose a dual enrollment option offered through a partnership with James Madison University’s(JMU) Department of Geology and Geography. Students have the opportunity to earn 6 college credits from JMU while completing the in-depth research project. The project (mandatory for all students regardless of whether they choose the dual enrollment option) requires students to apply all skills acquired during the first semester, identify a suitable independent research topic, and demonstrate their ability to complete and present their project to school faculty, members of the GIS community, and JMU faculty and staff. To earn the 6 credit hours, students must meet or exceed the project expectations established by JMU. This course cannot be used to satisfy one of the science requirements for the Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma.
     

    Independent Science Research

    Dual Enrollment, weighted 0.5 680100
    Grades 11-12
    Credit: 1 Prerequisite: Completion of at least two sciences in different disciplines (to be chosen from Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or AP Sciences)

    This elective science course is intended for juniors and seniors interested in continuing their study through an independent project in science, engineering, mathematics, or computer science. Students participating in Independent Science Research (ISR) should have a significant science background prior to entering the course. ISR projects are subject to considerable peer and teacher review during all phases of development. The focus of this course is on sustained, scientific inquiry. Students are expected to take responsibility for project development, meeting timelines, collecting data, defending procedures, and presenting results. The instructor advises students on the research process, information sources, and contacts. Instruction is also provided on such topics as data collection and presentation, statistical interpretation of results, protocols for research, and presentation skills. All ISR students are required to participate in the process leading to possible selection for participation in the Loudoun County Regional Science and Engineering Fair. All students are expected to complete an in-depth research project as a required part of their course work. Students may choose a dual enrollment option offered through a partnership with George Mason University (GMU), College of Science. Students have the opportunity to earn 3 college credits from GMU while completing the in-depth research project. The project (mandatory for all students regardless of whether they choose the dual enrollment option) requires students to identify a suitable research topic, develop an investigation design and demonstrate their ability to complete and present their project to LCPS, GMU faculty and staff and the scientific community. To earn the 3 credits, students must meet or exceed the project expectations established by GMU. Students working toward an Advanced Studies Diploma must also complete 3 science courses from different disciplines in order to acquire the 4 required science credits (to be chosen from Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or AP Sciences).