Science

Philosophy
The science department meets the most rigorous core content standards by developing critical thinking skills, promoting creativity, and helping students connect scientific phenomena to real world issues. Through “hands-on, minds-on” learning opportunities in all scientific disciplines, students master concepts using technology, laboratory activities, peer collaboration, and long-term projects.
Course Offerings and Descriptions
Physical Science is an introductory course to the study of chemistry and physics. Chemistry, the study of the properties, classes, and structure of matter and its changes, includes topics such as the periodic table of elements, atomic structure, molecules, solutions, and chemical reactions. Physics is the study of the interrelationships of matter and energy, including the study of motion, electricity, sound, and heat. This physical science course uses a hands-on approach to exploring the general principles of physical science. Using the text and lab activities, students study forces, machines, motion, energy, electricity, magnetism, sound and light. Students will also study general chemistry concepts including the structure of matter, the periodic table, chemical bonds and reactions, and mixtures and compounds. Throughout this course, students discover the relationship between science and daily life and gain a firm understanding of the scientific method by working through carefully planned experiments. Lab activities are supplemented by carefully chosen POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) and STEM activities.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 8
The Honors Physical Science course explores the foundational principles of chemistry and physics. Using the text and lab activities, students study forces, machines, motion, energy, electricity, magnetism, sound, light, fluid dynamics, density and buoyancy. Students will also study general chemistry concepts, including the structure of matter, the periodic table, chemical bonds and reactions, mixtures and compounds, and organic chemistry. Math skills are stressed, e.g., graphical analysis of experimental data. Throughout this course, students will use Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) and carefully selected STEM exercises and activities, which focus on core concepts and encourage deep understanding while developing higher-order thinking skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and communication through cooperation and reflection (helping).
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: II
Open to Grades: 8
Prerequisite: Placement test
This course is the gateway course to future tracks in Sustainability, Computer Science, Biomedicine, and Engineering. Students who wish to take upper level courses in these tracks must take Principles of Innovation. This course will introduce students to the main topics to prepare students for more in depth studies in their chosen fields.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 8
Prerequisite: None
This course will introduce topics of sustainability as they relate to the environment, social, and economic systems. Topics explored will include ecosystems, energy and water challenges, lifecycle analysis, climate change, and technology.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 9-10
Prerequisite: Successful completion of SCI 100 Innovation
This course provides an introduction to the biomedical sciences through the exploration of the human body systems and various health conditions. Students will be introduced to human physiology, medicine, research processes, and bioinformatics. Engineering principles including the design process, feedback loops, and the relationship of structure to function are also incorporated.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 9-10
Prerequisite: Successful completion of SCI 100 Innovation
Using mathematics at the Algebraic level, this course presents physics and related physical science topics in a highly concrete, interdisciplinary manner. Topics explored include scientific method, matter, energy, motion, simple machines, sound, light, and electricity, as well as relevant topics in physics technology. The course will include laboratory and decision-making activities to reinforce concepts and skills, stress technological and societal issues, and encourage real-world applications.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 9
Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in or completion of Algebra I. Not recommended for students in accelerated math.
This algebra-based, first-year physics course surveys the fundamental laws of Physics. Course topics include kinematics, forces and motion, momentum, work, energy, waves, and electricity. Weekly laboratory experiments supplement theoretical study.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 9
Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Algebra I or Accelerated Algebra, OR completed Algebra I course with a final grade of 70 or higher.
This algebra-based course prepares students for introductory college-level physics courses, requiring more mathematical rigor than the standard physics course. Course topics include kinematics, forces and motion (including rotational and simple harmonic motion), momentum, energy, waves, and electricity. Laboratory experiences are used to introduce and reinforce basic physics concepts.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: II
Open to Grades: 9
Prerequisite: Final grades of at least 85 in Honors Algebra (Grade 8) or at least 93 in Accelerated Algebra (Grade 8). In addition, a grade of at least 85 in grade 8 science is required to qualify for Honors Physics. Students new to Pope John are required to have completed Algebra and must take a placement exam to qualify for Honors Physics
The Conceptual Chemistry course emphasizes the importance of chemistry in students’ personal and professional lives, and prepares them to make informed decisions. The curriculum includes metric system, basic dimensional analysis, atomic structure, the periodic table, chemical formulae, balancing chemical equations, the mole, gas laws, and bonding.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 10,11,12
Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Algebra II or Geometry. Not eligible for students in accelerated math.
This course is designed to satisfy the secondary science chemistry requirement for students planning studies in the science or health fields. Through comprehensive laboratory study, the student explores the laws and theories of chemistry, the use of chemical calculations, and the nature of chemical reactions. Topics include the metric system, atomic structure, the periodic table, chemical formulae, chemical equations, stoichiometric relations, gas laws, molecular structures, and bonding. Interested students must demonstrate skill in solving equations.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 10,11,12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 65 in Physics. Concurrent enrollment in Algebra II Accelerated or Geometry Accelerated
An accelerated chemistry course offered to students who have demonstrated an aptitude for science, Honors Chemistry follows the same course of study as General Chemistry but in greater depth. Students must demonstrate the ability to study independently as well as strong analytical and mathematical skills.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: II
Open to Grades: 10,11,12
Prerequisite: Final grade of at least 85 in Honors Physics or 93 in Physics. Concurrent enrollment in an honors level Math course.
This lab course presents a comprehensive overview of critical environmental issues, both current and future. Given the broad scope of environmental problems, the course’s interdisciplinary approach addresses ecology, geology, atmospheric science, biology, chemistry, law, economics, and ethics. Ultimately, the student will recognize the vital role humans play in determining our environment’s destiny.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 11,12
Prerequisite: Passing grades in all previous science courses
The Anatomy and Physiology course is a thorough and detailed study of the relationships between the structure and form of the human body and the chemical/physical processes that allow it to function. Students will understand the structure and function of various organ systems as well as their relation to specific disorders. Laboratory exercises will include dissection.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 11,12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 73 in Chemistry and 73 in Biology or concurrent enrollment in Biology.
Forensic Science offers a thorough and detailed study of forensic techniques used by crime laboratories and private examiners. Students will explore key cases and “real world” applications of techniques in criminal and civil cases. By nature lab intensive, Forensic Science requires students to perform many scientific procedures.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 80 in Biology, Chemistry and Physics or concurrent enrollment thereof.
Honors Zoology provides a college level introduction to the classification, relationships, structure, and function of major animal phyla. Emphasis is on levels of organization, reproduction and development, comparative systems, and a survey of selected phyla. Laboratory exercises including microscopic observations and dissections reinforce topics discussed in class lecture.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: II
Open to Grades: 11,12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 85 in Honors Biology and Honors Chemistry or final grade of 93 in Biology and Chemistry or concurrent enrollment thereof.
This elective course touches upon various fields of Engineering including Civil, Mechanical, Environmental, and Biomedical. The course is heavily hands-on, and as such safety is taught and heavily reinforced. Students are also taught the Design Loop and are required to utilize its techniques while working in groups on all projects. In addition, students are required to submit sketches, reports, and present their findings to the class.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 10,11,12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 80 in Physics and final grade of 80 in Chemistry or concurrent enrollment thereof.
Students will examine the relationship between exercise and human performance and the importance of physical activity to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Exercise science includes biomechanics, exercise physiology and biochemistry, growth and development, exercise nutrition, measurement and evaluation, and exercise psychology. The course is designed to provide an effective blend of classroom instruction and practical experience. Note: Students taking exercise science are expected to participate in some physical activity.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 11, 12
Prerequisite: Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
Using mathematics at the conceptual Algebraic level, this course presents physics and related physical science topics in a highly concrete, interdisciplinary manner. Topics explored include scientific method, matter, energy, motion, simple machines, sound, light, and electricity, as well as relevant topics in physics technology. The course will include laboratory and decision-making activities to reinforce concepts and skills, stress technological and societal issues, and encourage real-world applications.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 11,12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 65 in Conceptual Chemistry or Chemistry. Concurrent enrollment in or completion of Algebra II. Not eligible for students in accelerated math.
A survey of the fundamental laws of Physics, this course covers mechanics, kinematics, energy, thermal power, fluids, electricity, and wave motion. Weekly laboratory experiments supplement theoretical study.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 11,12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 65 in Chemistry and enrollment in or completion of Algebra II Accelerated.
This laboratory course will follow an ambitious curriculum equivalent to a first year college, non-calculus based Physics course. Students will study in detail the fundamental laws and underlying theories of Physics. Topics covered include mechanics, kinematics, kinetic theory, and electricity. Laboratory experiments will be conducted weekly to supplement theoretical study.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: II
Open to Grades: 11, 12
Prerequisite: Grade of at least 85 in Honors Chemistry or 93 in Chemistry.
Prerequisite: Enrollment in any of the following math courses: Honors Algebra II, Honors Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus, Pre-Calculus or Calculus
AP Biology is an introductory college-level biology course. Students cultivate their understanding of biology through inquiry-based investigations as they explore the following topics: evolution, cellular processes — energy and communication, genetics, information transfer, ecology, and interactions Students taking this course are required to sit for the Advanced Placement Biology examination at the end of the school year.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: III
Open to Grades: 11,12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 87 in Honors Biology or 93 in Biology and a final grade of 87 in Honors Chemistry. Highly recommend completion or concurrent enrollment in AP Statistics.
Advanced Placement Chemistry is the equivalent of a first year college general chemistry class; recommended for those students planning college studies in engineering or the physical sciences. The course is designed to provide the advanced science student with a deeper and more diverse background in chemistry, laboratory skills, and scientific reasoning skills.The course is comprised of 9 units: atomic structure and properties; molecular and ionic compounds; structure and properties; chemical reactions; kinetics; thermodynamics; equilibrium; acids and bases; and applications of thermodynamics.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: III
Open to Grades: 11,12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 87 in Honors Chemistry or 93 in Chemistry.
The Advanced Placement Environmental Science course is designed as the equivalent of an introductory college course in environmental science. Students learn the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies necessary 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. AP Environmental Science is interdisciplinary, embracing a wide variety of disciplines, including earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, and geography. Students taking this course are required to sit for the AP Environmental Science exam at the end of the school year.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: III
Open to Grades: 11,12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 87 in Honors Biology or 93 in Biology. Final grade of 87 in Honors Chemistry or a 93 in Chemistry. Final grade of 85 in honors Algebra 2 or a 90 in Algebra II Accelerated.
This algebra-based, introductory college-level course explores with mathematical rigor the principles of Newtonian mechanics (including rotational motion); work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sound; and introductory, simple circuits. A conceptual understanding of foundational physics principles is gained through inquiry-based laboratory investigations and development of science practices. Students taking this course are required to sit for the AP Physics 1 exam at the end of the school year.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: III
Open to Grades: 11,12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 93 in Honors Chemistry and 93 in Honors Algebra II (or concurrent enrollment in Honors Algebra II). OR Final grade of 93 in Honors Physics and 93 in Honors Algebra II. Ninth and tenth grade students must take placement exam.
This calculus-based, college-level course explores principles of Newtonian mechanics (including rotational and simple harmonic motion), electricity (including Gaussian surfaces) and magnetism. A strong understanding of foundational physics principles is reinforced through inquiry-based laboratory investigations and intensive problem solving. Students taking this course are required to sit for the AP Physics C exam at the end of the school year.
 
Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: III
Open to Grades: 10,11,12
Prerequisite: Grades of 90 in AP Physics 1 and an AP score of at least a 3. Student must have also achieved a 93 in Honors Pre-Calculus, and be concurrently enrollment in AP Calculus AB or BC (or have completed a Calculus class).