High School Science Courses

Our science department offers sequences for students who are interested in science or engineering programs in college and for those who may not intend to take advanced science courses in college. Students study fundamental scientific principles, theories, and mathematical relationships, and learn scientific reasoning across all grade levels through STEAM related applications and through inquiry-based laboratory investigations.

PHYSICAL SCIENCE - Grade Level: 9    Weight: 1.0
This course introduces the basic concepts of force, motion, energy, and the properties and particle nature of matter. Laboratory activities teach skills such as measuring, recording data, interpreting information, and using evidence to make conclusions.

BIOLOGY - Grade Level: 10    Weight: 1.0
This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts of biology including cellular biology, genetics, microbiology, animal and plant biology, and evolution.  Introductory laboratory skills are developed with emphasis on collection, observation, and interpretation of data.

BIOLOGY HONORS - Grade Level: 9-10    Weight: 1.1
Prerequisite:  All of the following prerequisites must be met for registration in Honors Biology.

  1. 9th grade instructor approval and a first semester Physical Science grade of B+ or better. Or, new student placement exam.
  2. Minimum composite score of 126 on entrance exam.
  3. Eighth grade first and second quarter grade of A-, first semester science grade of A- that is maintained through second semester.
  4. Eighth grade first semester overall GPA of 3.67 or better that is maintained through second semester.
  5. Consistent completion of homework.  10th grade: Instructor Approval.

This course focuses on cellular biology, genetics, microbiology, zoology, evolution and ecology. College level pedagogy is stressed, as is development of analytical skills in a concentrated laboratory program.

CHEMISTRY - Grade Level: 11    Weight: 1.0
Prerequisite: Algebra and Geometry; Biology or Honors Biology.
This course focuses on scientific measurement, chemical nomenclature, atomic theory, molar relationships, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, gases, solutions, acids and bases, and properties of elements and compounds. Mathematical problem solving and a quantitative/qualitative laboratory program are stressed.

CHEMISTRY HONORS - Grade Level: 11    Weight: 1.1
Prerequisite: Instructor approval; A in Biology 1st semester, B+ in Honors Biology 1st semester, B or better in Algebra II/Trigonometry or concurrent registration.
This course introduces students to scientific measurements, chemical nomenclature, atomic theory, molar relationships, stoichiometry, thermodynamics, theories of solutions, acids, bases, equilibriums, properties of elements and compounds and their structural deviations, a study of laws governing the behavior of matter, and organic chemistry. A mathematical approach to problem solving and a quantitative and qualitative approach toward laboratory investigation are stressed.

BIOLOGY AP/P.A.C.C. - Grade Level: 11-12    Weight: 1.2
Prerequisite: Instructor approval; Honors Chemistry and Honors Biology (B+ or better)
B110/111 Botany & Zoology I/Lab (4 cr.). P.A.C.C. through Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
This course is comparable to an introductory, upper-level freshman college biology course. The course is intended for highly motivated students able to learn at a college level with a college text. It is under the supervision of the biology department of Saint Mary’s University from which four college credits may be earned. Students should expect 2-4 hours of homework a week, which will be including reading and taking notes on the textbook, independent research, lab reports and other group work. All AP students are expected to take the AP exam.  Weight changes to 1.1 if student does not take the AP exam.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE - Grade Level: 11-12    Weight: 1.0
Prerequisite: Biology and Honors Chemistry or Chemistry.
This course covers five areas of environmental concern: ecology principles, human population and resources, environmental quality and pollution, environment and society, and sustainability. In addition to text reading and assessments, students will perform lab work, water quality testing, and various larger projects.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AP - Grade Level: 11-12    Weight: 1.2
Prerequisite: Instructor approval; Biology or Honors Biology and Chemistry or Honors Chemistry (grade of B+ or better in both). Intended for: highly motivated students interested in a rigorous course which balances applied learning, community service, and incorporation of a college level text.
This course covers five areas of environmental concern: ecological principles, human population and resources, environmental quality and pollution, environment and society, and sustainability. In addition to text reading and assessments, students will perform lab work; water quality testing and present results to the Mendota Heights City Council. Students should expect a reading load of 2-4 hours per week throughout most of the year. All AP students are expected to take the AP exam. Weight changes to 1.1 if student does not take the AP exam.

PHYSICS - Grade Level: 11-12    Weight: 1.0
Prerequisite: Instructor approval; Chemistry or Honors Chemistry, Algebra II/Trigonometry (all with C+ or better).
or
PHYSICS HONORS - Grade Level: 11-12    Weight: 1.1
Prerequisite: Instructor approval; Chemistry or Honors Chemistry, Algebra II/Trigonometry (all with C+ or better).
Physics expands upon the concepts introduced in Physical Science to help students understand the physical world around them. The course follows a traditional college preparatory physics program beginning with mechanics and kinematics with a large portion of time devoted to Newton’s Laws of Motion. Students then continue on to learn about energy, waves, sound, optics, and electromagnetism. Throughout the course, students learn to apply the concepts from the reading and lessons to the world around them through demonstrations, homework problems and laboratories. The format and structure of the course is designed for students to gain experience as independent, self-motivated learners as they learn content from lessons and reinforce their understanding of the concepts through activities, quizzes, laboratories and exams.

Students are invited by the instructor, (based on first quarter performance) to do honors level work with emphasis added on laboratory work and out-of-class investigations.

Science Electives

ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY– Grade 11-12    Weight 1.0

This is a ½ credit, year long course that uses case studies, computer simulations, virtual labs, dissections and diagnostic equipment to teach the integration of form and function of human organ systems. Human diseases and disorders, their treatments will be examined through a variety of modeling activities.  There is an option to earn an honors credit with instructor approval.

MARINE BIOLOGY – Grade Level: 11-12    Weight 1.0
Prerequisite:  Instructor approval.
This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts of marine biology including marine invertebrate/vertebrate anatomy, fish and invertebrate identification, ocean food chains, ocean ecosystems/zones, coral reef biology, ocean chemistry, and various types of ocean pollution including ocean acidification. The course will be taught using traditional lecture, video clips, lab experimentation, dissections of various phyla, projects/presentations, and computer simulation activities.

03/14/17