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Course Offerings

For detailed information on courses offered at Weston High School,
refer to the Program of Studies.

Course # 1517 - Geo-Physical Science                                                         Full Year

Grades 9-10

Geo-Physical Science is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the interactions between matter and energy within the earth's lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere and society's attempt to harness these interactions to create sustainable development. Topics explored in Geo-Physical Science will include chemical structure and properties will introduce topics that range from the structure of atoms to the technology involved in manufacturing the chemical products of plastics, fuel and their byproducts.  Energy transformations will explore the relationships between matter and energy, electrical currents and magnetism and the energy sources of fossil and nuclear fuels.  Global interdependence will address the growing need to understand that Earth's valuable resources are limited and their use often causes disruptions of natural cycles thereby impacting life on earth.

 

Course # 1518 - General Science: Geo-Physical Science - Basic               Full Year

Grades 9-10                                                                                                   

This is a skills centered course designed to include units in Geo-Physical Science (chemical structure and properties, energy transformation and global interdependence).  Science lab and class work emphasize the areas of planning, organization, study skills, note taking, graphing, computation, interpretation, and safety and responsibility for equipment.

 

Course # 1523 - Biology                                                                                Full Year

Grades 10-12                                                                                                 

This introductory course is designed to present Biology as a process that explains the basic unifying principles of life.  Through an inquiry approach topics such as energy systems, ecology, evolution, genetics, and cellular biology will be studied.  A new biotechnology component (Gel Electrophoresis) adds to the laboratory experiences. Extensive independent laboratory work is required.

Course # 1525 - General Science: Life Science - Basic                              Full Year

Grades 10-12                                                                                                 

This is a descriptive biology course with an emphasis on laboratory investigation and inquiry. This course is less abstract than Biology 1 and is more applied.

Course # 1533 - Chemistry I                                                                        Full Year

Grades 10-12                                                                         

This course teaches chemical concepts including the gas laws, acids and bases, radioactivity, and conservation of mass and then uses these concepts to help students understand the chemistry behind some important social issues. The course is designed to enhance science literacy and to develop a lifelong awareness of the potential and limitations of science and technology.

Criteria:

  • Departmental recommendation
  • Grades of C+ or better in Algebra I and Geometry, concurrent Algebra II
  • C+ or better in Biology,

 

Course # 1535 - General Science: Chemistry - Basic                                 Full Year

Grades 11-12                                                                                                 

The course of study includes topics in atomic structure, periodicity, chemical bonds, equations, the mole concept, the solution process, acids and bases, carbon chemistry, and chemistry in relation to the home, the environment, and industry. The approach is to exemplify the topics in chemistry through related demonstrations and experimentation. Laboratory experiments are descriptive and provide concrete examples of concepts covered in the topics.

Course # 1545 - Physics                                                                                Full Year

Grades 11-12                                                             

This is a conceptual physics course. The program has less emphasis on mathematical derivations and is intended for the student who wishes to study physics yet will probably not pursue a career in the physical sciences or engineering.

Prerequisite:

  • Departmental recommendation
  • Concurrent Algebra II

 

Course # 1549 - Animal Behavior                                                                Semester

Grades 11-12                                                         Offered in 2008-2009 school year

Animal Behavior is designed for students interested in an in-depth study of how and why animals do what they do.  Behavior will be investigated within an evolutionary context, and from a variety of perspectives.  An introductory unit on zoology will begin the semester. This course focuses on ecological factors such as social behavior and predation.  Practical applications of animals' behavior and training will be discussed.  A creative project centering on designing a new species and applying concepts learned in the course will count toward the final exam grade. 

Criteria:

  • Open to all students who have earned a passing grade in a year of introductory biology.

Course # 1548 - Astronomy                                                                          Semester

Grades 11-12                                                         Offered in 2008-2009 school year

Astronomy is an elective for students who want to explore the study of the Universe and understand our place within it. Major topics in this course include constellations and the celestial sphere, motion in space, the Solar System, stars and their life cycle, galaxies, and the search for the unknown. Internet and library research will be required for papers and projects. In addition there will be some lab experiences that will occur outside of the school day involving observations and photography the movement of the stars and planets.

Criteria:

  • Open to all students who have earned a passing grade in a year of Geophysical science and Algebra I.

 

Course # 1580 - Biotechnology                                                                     Semester

Grades 11-12                                                         Offered in 2007-2008 school year

This course focuses on the advances and challenges of the new technological era in biology by taking a laboratory approach to the exploration of molecular and cellular biology. The structural and functional relationships between the molecules of life, DNA, RNA, and proteins, will be investigated through their applications in biotechnology and how this applies to modern day society. Topics of replication, information translation, DNA manipulation, analysis of DNA, medicine, bioinformatics, and bioengineered food will be addressed. The curriculum will follow a sequence similar to the chronological order of the technological discoveries to emphasize scientific collaboration and the scientific method.      

Prerequisite:

  • Completion of introductory biology and chemistry courses with the required grades. Chemistry can be taken concurrently with Biotechnology.
  • o B or better in introductory biology and chemistry.

Course # 1582 - Energy Alternatives                                                          Semester

Grades 10-12                                                         Offered in 2007-2008 school year

Using garbage to run your car?  That's what happened in the movie "Back to the Future" and it may happen in your future.  There's only one way to find out...This course will explore the U.S.A.'s current energy needs and sources and the not so far in the future alternatives:  biomass, hydrogen fuel cells, solar energy, wind power and nuclear energy along with their possible impacts on the environment.  Empty that garbage into the engine and let's go!

Prerequisite:

  • Open to all students who have earned a passing grade in a year of introductory biology or physical science (either geophysical science or chemistry)

Course # 1584 - Forensics 1                                                                         Semester

Grade 11-12                                                           Offered in 2007-2008 school year

The question, "What is Forensic Science?", will be answered through an inquiry-based experience where students will explore the different types of physical evidence such as glass, soil and impressions, finger prints, forensic serology, DNA, and hairs, fibers and paint and learn the significance that each piece of evidence plays in processing a crime scene. Students will also become familiar with microscopic and gel electrophoresis techniques as used in the context of forensic science.

Prerequisite:

  • Open to all students who have earned a passing grade in a year of introductory biology and physical science (either geophysical science or chemistry). Chemistry can be taken concurrently.

Course # 1586 - Forensics 2                                                                         Semester

Grade 11-12                                                           Offered in 2007-2008 school year

The focus of Forensics 2 brings applications of chemistry and physics in aiding students in the exploration of a variety of methods that criminal investigators use to uncover evidence.  Techniques in organic and inorganic analysis, drug and alcohol toxicology, arson and explosion investigation, document and voice recognition, and processing an automobile accident scene will be explored. Techniques in the utilization of the spectrophotometer will be developed.

Prerequisite:

  • Completion of Forensics 1 or department chair approval.
  • Open to all students who have earned a passing grade in a year of introductory biology and physical science (either geophysical science or chemistry). Chemistry can be taken concurrently.

Course # 1588 - Human Heredity                                                               Semester

Grade 11-12                                                           Offered in 2007-2008 school year

As we progress in the twenty-first century, the application of genetics for the betterment of the human condition has taken precedence in the research community. It has been predicted that the field of medicine will change from a reactive science to a predictive and preventive science. While this new era of biology will be filled with the excitement of scientific discoveries, many accompanying problems and controversies will also be faced. Among these, utilization of our knowledge of the nucleotide sequence of the human genome poses a key challenge in the future. This growing body of information has already generated many legal and ethical issues. The human heredity course is designed to give students the opportunity to examine the patterns and principles of genetics with a focus on humans, and the societal impacts of human genetics. The students will examine the importance of genetics in population biology, human health, cloning and biodiversity.

Prerequisite:

  • Open to all students who have earned a passing grade in a year of introductory biology.

Course # 1590 - Natural Disasters                                                              Semester

Grade 10-12                                                           Offered in 2007-2008 school year

What causes events such as the Tsunami of 2004 and Hurricane Katrina to occur? Earthquakes and hurricanes have been part of what shapes our environment since the beginning of time. Has the intensity of theses events been on the increase over the last twenty years or is it part of a cycle that the earth experiences on a regular basis? In an attempt to answer these questions and more, we will examine weather and tectonic topics that will include hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, avalanches/blizzards, tsunamis, volcanoes and earthquakes.

Prerequisite:

  • Open to all students who have earned a passing grade in a year of introductory biology and physical science (either geophysical science or chemistry).

 

HONORS COURSE CRITERIA

 

Students must meet the academic criteria below and should also possess the skills, abilities, and self-discipline commensurate with the advanced level nature of the courses. Additional labs and study time may be required outside of regularly scheduled periods and if so will be part of mandatory attendance requirements.

 

Course # 1521 - Biology - Honors                                                               Full Year

Grades 9-10                                                                                                   

This course is a rigorous, fast-paced course investigating topics that range from microbiology to the ecosystem. The major content areas are experimental design, evolution, cell biology, molecular and Mendelian genetics and evolution. Experiments are both descriptive and analytical. The ability to think abstractly and understand scientific models is essential. Certain topics may be covered in depth requiring critical and logical thinking. In the case of the student planning to take the SAT 2 Biology exam, individual outside study and preparation will be necessary.

Criteria:

  • Middle School: A composite score of 50 out of 60 (T.O.L.T., T.I.P.S., CMT math computation and Degrees of Reading Power, Teacher Checklist, and science grades are equivalent to 10 points each), 8 or better on T.O.L.T., and approval of Department Chair.
  • High School: Teacher Checklist, A or better in Geo-Physical Science, A- or better on Science Department Midterm Exam, and a score of 75% or better on Biology Prognosis Exam.

 

Course # 1531 - Chemistry I - Honors                                                        Full Year

Grades 10-12                                                                                     

This course includes topics in atomic structure, periodicity, chemical bonds, equations, mass relationships and the mole concept, gas laws, the solution process, ionization, acids and bases, carbon chemistry, equilibrium, kinetics, and oxidation-reduction. The approach is to further develop the conceptual thinking skills first introduced in mathematics through topics of logic, equations, graphs, and symbols. Laboratory experiments are analytical and mathematical and designed to give substance to the concepts. The ability to grasp abstract concepts is essential, and the pace of the course will require considerable outside effort. In the case of the student planning to take the SAT 2 Chemistry exam, individual outside study and preparation will be necessary.

CRITERIA:

  • Teacher Checklist Results
  • B or better in Honors Biology or A- or better in Biology I
  • B+ or better on Honors Biology Midterm Exam or A or better on Biology I Midterm Exam
  • Semester grade of B or better in current Honors Mathematics Course or A- or better in current Standard Mathematics Course
  • Score of 75% or better on the Chemistry Prognosis Test

 

Course # 1543 - Physics - Honors                                                                Full Year

Grades 11-12                                                                                     

The course of study is a rigorous, fast paced course designed for students who expect to pursue post secondary education in the areas of science, mathematics, or engineering. Areas of study include laws of motion, work, and energy, behavior of light, electricity, and magnetism. The particle and wave theories of matter and energy are developed as a consequence of and as an explanation for the experimentally observed data.

CRITERIA:

  • Teacher Checklist Results
  • B or better in Honors Biology or A- or better in Biology I*
  • B+ or better on Honors Biology Midterm Exam or A or better on Biology I Midterm Exam*
  • B or better in Honors Chemistry or A- or better in Chemistry I**
  • B or better on Honors Chemistry Midterm Exam or A- or better on Chemistry I Midterm Exam**
  • Semester grade of B or better in current Honors Mathematics Course or A-or better in current Standard Mathematics Course

 

* If currently enrolled in a Biology course and going directly into Physics.

** If currently enrolled in a Chemistry course and going directly into Physics.

 

Course # 1550 - AP Biology - Honors                                 Full Year

Grades 11-12                                                                                                  1 AP Credit

Advanced Placement Biology is a rigorous college-level introductory biology course. Students are expected to take the AP exam in the spring. Topics covered include biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, genetic engineering, evolution, classification and taxonomy, plant and animal anatomy and physiology, ecology and animal behavior. This course involves both laboratory and essay writing components and will require a summer reading assignment and double periods throughout the year. Some laboratory activities will require a 6:30 a.m. start time or evening attendance. This is an excellent choice for students considering a career in biological science, pre-med studies or other related fields.

CRITERIA:

  • Teacher Checklist
  • Prerequisite: Completion of Chemistry and biology with the required grades or Department
  • B or better in Honors Biology or A- or better in Biology I
  • B+ or better on Honors Biology Midterm Exam or A or better on Biology I Midterm Exam
  • B or better in Honors Chemistry or A-or better in Chemistry I*
  • B or better on Honors Chemistry Midterm Exam or A- or better on Chemistry I Midterm Exam*

 

* Honors Chemistry may be taken concurrently with approval of the Department Chair and AP Biology Teacher.

Course # 1558 - AP Chemistry - Honors                                                   Full Year

Grades 11 and 12                                                                                            1 AP Credit

Advanced Placement Chemistry is a rigorous college-level introductory chemistry course. Students are expected to take the AP exam in the spring. The AP Chemistry course is designed to be taken only after the successful completion of a first course in high school chemistry. Topics covered include structure and matter (atomic theory, and atomic structure, chemical bonding, and nuclear chemistry), states of matter (gases, liquids and solids, and solutions), reactions (reaction types, stoichiometry, equilibrium, kinetics, and thermodynamics), and descriptive chemistry. This course also has a demanding laboratory component. There will also be a summer reading assignment including a problem set associated with that assignment. This is an excellent choice for students considering a career in chemical science, pre-med studies or other related fields.

CRITERIA:

  • Teacher Checklist Recommendation
  • Prerequisite: Completion of Chemistry with the required grades or Department Chair

Approval.    

  • A- or better in Honors Chemistry or A+ in Chemistry I
  • A- or better on Honors Chemistry Midterm/Final or A+ on Chemistry I Midterm/Final
  • Completed Honors Algebra 2 with a B or better or Standard Algebra 2 with an A

 

                                   

Course # 1554 - AP Physics C - Honors                                                     Full Year

Grades 11 and 12                                                                                            1 AP Credit

Advanced Placement Physics C is a rigorous college-level calculus-based introductory physics course.  The course concentrates on the branch of physics called mechanics, which consists of kinematics, Newton's Laws, circular motion, gravity, energy, momentum, rotational motion, and harmonic motion.  Students are expected to take the C level AP Exam in the spring, and they will be well prepared to score high enough to place out of one semester of college physics.  After completion of mechanics, topics in thermodynamics, optics, special relativity and modern physics will be investigated.  Students will need to have very strong mathematical and problem solving skills.  The laboratory component of the course will involve use of the computer-based sensors.

CRITERIA:

  • Teacher Checklist results
  • Completion of Honors Physics with a B average or better or Department Chair approval
  • Concurrently enrolled in a WHS Calculus course or completed a WHS calculus course with a B or better
  • B or better on Honors Trigonometry/Functions or A or better in Standard
  • Trigonometry/Functions

 

Course # 1591 - Classroom/Laboratory Aide in Science (C.L.A.S.)      Semester/Year

The Science Department offers the program C.L.A.S. to selected students as an opportunity to work as tutors/teacher assistants in a science classroom. Students in the program are assigned a particular responsibility during one of their previously unassigned schedule periods. Aides are graded and receive appropriate credit for their commitment. Their grade will not be entered into their G.P.A. Classroom aides work very closely with the assigned teacher and receive instruction and assistance throughout. All applicants will be interviewed by the prospective teacher and must receive his or her recommendation as well as that of the Science Department Chair.

Goals of the Classroom/Laboratory Aide in Science are:

  • To encourage cooperation among student, including those with differing abilities and grade levels.
  • To provide appropriate role models for students who have experienced difficulties in studying science.
  • To provide students with an opportunity to investigate professional education as a career.
  • To provide students with an individualized instruction in science. Aides are assigned to a particular subject area with one or more of the following responsibilities:
  • 1. Individual and small group tutoring and large group instruction under the supervision of the classroom teacher.
  • 2. Assist a substitute if necessary.
  • 3. Assist the instructor/student in computer based laboratory instruction.
  • 4. Assist the instructor/student in the setting up and/or running of laboratory experiments.

Interested students must fill out and return applications to the Department Chair in the Science Resource Center.


Copyright©  Weston Public Schools
24 School Road     Weston, Connecticut 06883
Phone: 203-221-6550     Fax: 203-221-1253
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