Science Course Descriptions

PHYSICS 10
Course #401

 This is an honors level college preparatory laboratory-based physics course for ninth graders with a strong interest and ability in science and mathematics. The course prepares students for successful completion of the science MCAS requirement. The course is designed to introduce students to the laws of physics, the experimental skills, including the mathematical aspect of problem-solving, required in physics and to the social and historical aspect of physics as an evolving body of human knowledge about nature. Students will study concepts involving measurement, mechanics, waves and sound, magnetism, and momentum and energy. The course content, instructional methods and assessment techniques are consonant with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and the National Science Education Standards. Students are expected to be self-motivated, able to work independently as well as in small groups, and complete laboratory work outside of the classroom.
Prerequisite: A- in 8th Grade Math or B 8th Grade Algebra or Teacher's Recommendation based on Science, Math and work skill readiness.

PHYSICS 11
Course #405


Physics 11 is the foundation laboratory science advanced college preparatory course at Natick High School that emphasizes concepts in physics that are seen in everyday life. A significant portion of the course will stress the development of conceptual understandings of physical laws and relationships. As such, students investigate physical phenomena and theoretical models that explore the themes of energy, motion and electromagnetism. Instruction will focus on developing a student understanding that scientific knowledge is gained from observation of natural phenomena and experimentation. Designing and conducting investigations guided by theory and evaluating and communicating the results of those investigations will be at the heart of the course. The course content, instructional methods, and assessment techniques are consonant with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and the National Science Education Standards. Students will be prepared to demonstrate proficiency on the Introductory Physics MCAS test.

BIOLOGY 30
Course #413

The subject of biology aims to describe and understand the living organisms in our surroundings as well as ourselves. This is an honors level inquiry-based college preparatory biology course for students who have demonstrated a high level of achievement and interest in science and mathematics. Students are expected to be self-motivated and to be able to work independently. Topics studied include cellular biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, genetics, evolution, taxonomy, microbiology, anatomy, physiology and ecology. Instructional strategies emphasize inquiry-based experimental techniques but also include modeling exercises, projects, and problem solving exercises that support Massachusetts State Science Frameworks and the National Science Education Standards.
Prerequisites: A in both Chemistry 21 and Physics 11 or B- or better in both Chemistry 20 and Physics 10 or department head approval.

BIOLOGY 31
Course #415

This is a laboratory based advanced college preparatory biology course for students having an ability and interest in science. This course progresses at a more accelerated pace than Biology L 32. Students investigate the major themes and ideas of modern biology including cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, biotechnology, evolution, ecology, anatomy and physiology, taxonomy, immunology. Instructional strategies include modeling exercises, laboratory experiments, projects, and problem solving exercises that support Massachusetts State Science Frameworks and the National Science Education Standards. Students will be prepared to demonstrate proficiency on the Biology MCAS test.
Prerequisites: C or better in both Physics 11 and Chemistry 21 or B- or better in both Physics 12 and Chemistry 22 or department head approval.


BIOLOGY 32/BIOLOGY S32
Course #417/#419

This is a college preparatory biology course designed for students who plan to continue their education beyond high school but have not demonstrated an interest or ability in science. This laboratory-based course is designed to teach the essential concepts of biology emphasizing connections within biological systems and between the systems and their environment. All major themes of modern biology are addressed in this course. An underlying theme of the course will be that science is a process through which scientific questions are answered. Instructional strategies include modeling exercises, laboratory, projects, and problem solving exercises that support Massachusetts State Science Frameworks and the National Science Education Standards. Students will be prepared to demonstrate proficiency on the Biology MCAS test.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of both Physics 12 and Chemistry 22.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE 41
Course #425


This elective advanced college preparatory course will focus on the study of human interaction with the environment. This course progresses at a more accelerated pace than Environmental Science L 42. This is a second year biology course, therefore students taking this course should have completed one year of biology. Topics covered will include the study of ecosystem structure and function, overpopulation, resource depletion and management, toxic substances, and pollution of air, water and land. Laboratory work will be completed which supports the study of these topics.
Prerequisite: C or better in Biology 30 or 31 or B- or better in Biology 32. Open to seniors only.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES 42
Course #427


This elective college preparatory course will focus on the study of human interaction with the environment. Students taking this course should have completed one year of biology. The focus of the course is a study of the basic principles of ecology including the study of the earth’s biomes and the role and impact of human activities on natural systems. Laboratory work will be completed which supports the study of these topics.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of first year Biology. Open to seniors only.

AP ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE L 30
Course # 429

The Advanced Placement Environmental Science (APES) course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester introductory college course in environmental science. Environmental Science provides students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and man-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them.
Prerequisite: successful completion of physics, chemistry, algebra I, and concurrently enrolled in biology or have completed biology 30 or 31 with a B+ or better. Open to juniors and seniors.


FORENSICS 44
Course #452

The study of forensics in this advanced college preparatory course brings together topics students have studied in chemistry, physics and biology and challenges students to think 'outside the box' and to apply what they have learned to a variety of situations. Following standard protocols for collecting and analyzing evidence, students will collect data, such as blood splatter patterns and fingerprints, and analyze the data to solve a 'mystery' or 'crime'. In addition, students will read both fictional and non-fictional descriptions of crime scenes.
Prerequisite: Completion of introductory courses in Physics and Chemistry and completion or concurrent enrollment in Biology. Open to juniors and seniors.

ZOOLOGY 41
Course #445

This class will present a survey of the animal kingdom. This is a second-year biology course, therefore students taking this course should have completed one year of biology. Emphasis will be on diversity, evolutionary relationships and functional adaptations. Animal architecture, classification, and environmental interactions will also be studied.
Prerequisite: Completion of biology 30 or 31 with a C or better. Open to seniors only.


HUMAN ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY 41
Course #443

This is a full year course in which the ten systems of the human body are studied in detail. Considerable time is spent in the course on individual laboratory work. Comparative human anatomy is studied through the complete dissection of either a cat or a fetal pig. Class work is supplemented with extensive outside reading. The students are taught to use many different types of physiology equipment in performing laboratory experiments associated with the circulatory, respiratory, muscular, excretory, and nervous systems of the human body. The knowledge and experience gained through in-depth laboratory work will aid the student in his/her understanding of the human body and will aid him/her in a future biological career.
Prerequisite: B or better in biology 31 or biology 30 and successful completion of one year of chemistry or department head approval. Open to seniors only.


CHEMISTRY 20
Course #421

This is an honors-level college preparatory chemistry course for students having a high level of ability and interest in both mathematics and science. Students are expected to be self-motivated and to be able to work independently. Students will experiment extensively, allowing them to connect the theoretical concepts presented to the laboratory setting. Emphasis will be placed on finding mathematical relationships within the chemical concepts presented. Topics covered include uncertainty in measurements, atomic structure, the periodic law, chemical bonding, the mole concept, chemical reactions, chemical formulas and equations, stoichiometry, properties of gases, liquids, and solids, solution chemistry, acids and bases, thermochemistry, kinetics, equilibrium, and oxidation-reduction reactions. Instructional strategies include modeling exercises, laboratory experiments, small group work, projects, and problem solving exercises that support Massachusetts State Science Frameworks and the National Science Education Standards. Students will be prepared to demonstrate proficiency on the Chemistry MCAS test.
Prerequisite: B- or better in Geometry 20 or A- or better in Geometry 21 and B- or better in Physics 10 or A- or better in Physics 11 or department head approval.

CHEMISTRY 21
Course #422


This is a laboratory based advanced college preparatory chemistry course designed for students with an interest and ability in both mathematics and science. This course progresses at a more accelerated pace than Chemistry L 22. It is based upon the study of chemistry as an experimental science with a focus on establishing mathematical relationships for the chemical concepts presented. As such, laboratory experiences focus on conducting experiments guided by theory and evaluating and communicating the results of these investigations according to accepted scientific practices. Students will compare, contrast and synthesize useful models of the structure and properties of matter and the mechanisms of its interactions. Other instructional strategies include modeling exercises, projects, and problem solving exercises that support Massachusetts State Science Frameworks and the National Science Education Standards. Students will be prepared to demonstrate proficiency on the Chemistry MCAS test.
Prerequisite: B- or better in Algebra 11, C or better in Geometry 21 and C or better in Physics 11.


CHEMISTRY 22/CHEMISTRY S22
Course #423/#424


This is a college preparatory chemistry course for students who do not plan to study in a science-related field. Students will reinforce their understanding of chemical systems and chemical theories through laboratory work, class discussions, small group work, projects and computer simulations. Topics include atomic theory, scientific methods, formulas and equations, chemical reactions, periodic law, phases of matter, solution chemistry, energy, reactions rates, acids and bases, and nuclear chemistry. Instructional strategies are designed to support Massachusetts State Science Frameworks and the National Science Education Standards. Students will be prepared to demonstrate proficiency on the Chemistry MCAS test.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Algebra I and Physics 12.


AP CHEMISTRY 40
Course #442

This is a second-year Advanced Placement chemistry course designed for students who will take the AP exam in chemistry. It is based upon the College Board’s curriculum and is the equivalent of a first year college Chemistry course. The second year chemistry class will utilize the first year chemistry course content as a foundation for class discussion and laboratory experiments of the following complex topics: chemical kinetics, equilibrium, thermodynamics, bonding concepts, electrochemistry, materials science, acid-base chemistry and buffer systems, coordination complexes, nuclear chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry.
Prerequisite: B- or better in chemistry 20 or department chair approval. Open to juniors or seniors.
AP BIOLOGY


AP PHYSICS 40
Course #435


This first semester Advanced Placement course prepares students for the Advanced Placement Physics C Mechanics test. This is a college-level physics class and requires an extreme degree of motivation. The course uses the calculus forms of the physics equations. Topics covered include: Kinematics, Dynamics, Energy, Momentum, Rotation, Gravitation and Oscillation. Students are expected to work independently in a highly-computerized lab and to produce college-level lab reports. Students are required to take the AP exam.
Prerequisites: B or better in Physics 10 or A in Physics 11. Must be enrolled in Calculus concurrently or have completed a year of Calculus. Open to seniors only.

AP PHYSICS 40

Course #436m

This second semester Advanced Placement course prepares students for the Advanced Placement Physics C Electricity and Magnetism test. This is a college-level physics class and requires an extreme degree of motivation. The course uses the calculus forms of the physics equations. Topics covered include: Electric Field, Electric Potential, Capacitance, Circuits, Magnetic Fields, Ampere’s Law, and Electromagnetic Induction. Students are expected to work independently in a highly-computerized lab and to produce college-level lab reports. Students are required to take the AP exam.
Prerequisites: B or better in Physics 10 or A in Physics 11. Must be enrolled in Calculus concurrently or have completed a year of calculus. Open to seniors only.


AP BIOLOGY 40
Course #437

The AP biology course is designed to be the equivalent of a college introductory course usually taken by biology majors during their first year.  AP biology will include those topics regularly covered in a college biology course for majors. The college course in biology differs significantly from the usual first high school course in biology with respect to the kind of textbook used, the range and depth of topics covered, the kind of laboratory work done by students, and the time and effort required of students. The textbooks used for AP biology will be those also used by college biology majors. The laboratory work done by AP students will be the equivalent of that done by college students.
Prerequisites: A grade of B or better in both biology 10 and chemistry 20 or a grade of A- or better in both biology 21 and chemistry 21. Open to seniors only.


THEMES IN BIOLOGY 40
Course #439

This is a second year honors college preparatory biology course designed for students with an interest in biological sciences. Students are expected to be self-motivated and to be able to work independently. Topics studied will include those covered in a first year biology class but in greater detail and depth: microbiology, virology, cell respiration, biotechnology, evolution, environmental science and anatomy. In addition, selected topics addressed in the AP biology class will also be addressed in this class. Emphasis will be placed on laboratory work and project-based assignments. Concepts covered will include genetics, biotechnology, embryology, microbiology, evolution and metabolism.
Prerequisite: B- or better in Biology 30 and Chemistry 20 or an A in Biology 31 and Chemistry 21. Open to seniors only.

 

PHYSICS FOR ENGINEERS L 41
Course #410

This is a second year advanced college preparatory physics course designed for students with an interest in physics and engineering. Students are expected to be able to work independently, to be self-motivated, and to have a strong background in mathematics and science. Major topics studied will include mechanics, oscillations, electricity, magnetism, and electronics. Emphasis will be placed on laboratory work, projects/experiments, and the engineering process.
Prerequisites: C or better in honors Physics, or a B or better in level one Physics, or department head approval. Must have completed or currently be enrolled in level one Pre-Calculus, or any other mathematics course beyond Pre-Calculus.


SCIENCE AT THE MOVIES 21
Course #453a, 453b

Students will investigate correct and incorrect science concepts used in movies from Buck Rogers in the 25th century to thrillers like Them and The Birds to Star Wars and Indiana Jones to Harry Potter to Armageddon and Journey to the Centre of the Earth or Asteroid. Students could use technology to redesign special effects related to a science concept in a movie scene.
Prerequisites: Physics. Open to grades 10-12.


DISCOVERIES IN SCIENCE 21
Course #454a (1st semester only)

This course will give students insight into the development of science as a discipline and highlight important innovations over the course of human’s study of the natural world. In most science courses, the current models of the natural world are presented as facts, with little background as to how those ideas came to be accepted by the scientific community. The impacts of these advancements will also be explored to show relevance to students’ everyday lives.
Prerequisites: one year of introductory Physics, Geometry, and Algebra. Open to grades 10-12.


ENGINEERING PROJECTS 11
Course #456a, 456b

Engineering Projects (EP) focuses on developing problem-solving skills using an engineering design development process. Students will employ engineering, mathematical and scientific concepts in the solution of engineering design problems. Students will apply their knowledge of research and design to create solutions to various challenges that increase in difficulty throughout the course. Students will use industry standard modeling software (CAD) to design their solutions, then build prototypes of their designs, test and analyze these designs. Students will also learn how to document their work and communicate their solutions to their peers and members of the professional community. Combining classroom discussion with activity-based learning, and emphasizing concepts that span multiple disciplines, EP provides students with an opportunity to explore engineering and design as a career.
Open to grades 9-12. The course assumes no previous engineering knowledge, but students should be concurrently enrolled in college preparatory mathematics and science.

 

GREEN ENGINEERING 21
Course #455a, 455b

This course provides a background on the issues of atmospheric balance, climate change, green house gases, and an overview of the use of both renewable and nonrenewable energy sources. The course will use hands-on activities and real life problems for which students will creatively problem-solve, design and manufacture solutions with the ultimate goal of increasing energy efficiency in our new building.
Prerequisite: successful completion of one science course. Open to grades 10-12.


DISEASE & MEDICINE 21
Course #457a, 457b

(Sem. 2 for grade 10, Sem. 1 or 2 for grades 11-12)
Early medical practices, such as bloodletting, look barbaric to the modern eye. Early medical pioneers laid the foundations for 20 and 21st century medicine. While early treatments often involved an herbal poultice, vomiting and laxatives or bloodletting with leeches today’s medical treatments include sophisticated drugs that are designed to target specific organisms, high powered diagnostic tools like CAT scans and MRIs along with organ transplants and replacements. In this elective course, students will learn about the nature, treatment and spread of diseases.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of physics and one semester of chemistry


A+ INDUSTRY CERTIFICATION 20
Course #492

A+ Industry Certification guides students through the fundamentals of PC Repair and Maintenance. This full year honors course will focus on the A+ Essentials and IT Technician portions of the A+ certification exam. This exam is an industry standardized exam that is recognized by professional firms worldwide. The course is reading intensive with class time used for lab work. Students will learn everything from the basic circuitry and workings of a computer to computer network technology. Many students often compete at state and national competitions (Business Professionals of America – BPA) in the IT areas of study. This is an honors college preparatory course.
Prerequisite: application required and instructor approval


MAC+ CERTIFICATION 20
Course #493

MAC+ (ACMT) Certification verifies the ability to perform basic troubleshooting and repair of both desktop and portable Macintosh systems. This full year honors course will focus on the ACMT Hardware and Software portions of the Apple certification exam. ACMT certification exams emphasize identifying and resolving common MAC OS problems, using Apple Service and Support products and practices to effectively repair Apple hardware; MAC networking is also engaged. Industry exams associated with this course are difficult and require preparation time necessary for success; lab time provides hands on experiences for students. This is an honors college preparatory course.
Prerequisite: application required and instructor approval

 

ROBOTICS 11
Course #490a, 490b

This advanced college preparatory course allows students to explore technology in an interactive classroom where they can mix academics with creativity; to make and operate machinery built by their hands and minds. Students with no prior experience will feel comfortable using Lego’s NXT kits that allow for simple to more complex builds. Programming will be done utilizing software written by Tufts University, the software allows many levels of users to feel the excitement of watching their creation come to life. Students will work in teams to problem-solve, research and design, field test and apply their acquired skills while facing and solving challenges and at times compete against other teams. Students will learn and develop 21st century skills; teamwork, problem solving, ideation, project management, and communications. Exploration into ROV (submersibles) will be a “sub” unit of the course. Everyone solves problems differently; discover how you use technology to solve problems.


ADVANCED LAND ROBOTICS 11
Course #491a

This advanced college preparatory course will offer students an experience in advanced robotics. Students will have the opportunity to be creative while using professional grade equipment in a team environment. Students will learn and use professional grade CAD, and programming tools. These opportunities are enhanced by our partnership with FIRST Robotics and PTC. Students will develop powerful and manipulative robots to carry out missions. The workspace will allow for intramural competitions on official FIRST competition fields. The platform used will be Tetrix which will allow students to also pursue national competitions via our after school FIRST activities which use the same platform and software. Push your skills to a new level.
Prerequisite: Robotics, Participation in RoboNatick Club, or Instructor Permission
*Note that this course may be taken out of order depending on schedule…they are independent of each other.


ADVANCED SEA ROBOTICS 11
Course #
492b

This advanced college preparatory course will offer students advanced studies in underwater robotics. Students will learn and use professional grade CAD, and utilize enhanced underwater equipment. Problem solving will be the students’ main tool or resource while trying to accomplish tasks as a team. Our partnership with Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute will enhance students’ experiences and learning. Testing of vehicles will be done in our 750 gallon test tank and Dug Pond. Students will design, build and compete with their team ROVs. The class will pursue independent projects using manipulative ROVs and also compete in national MATE ROV competitions. Submerge yourself into an exciting opportunity.
Prerequisite: Robotics, Participation in RoboNatick Club, or Instructor Permission
*Note that this course may be taken out of order depending on schedule…they are independent of each other.

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