High School Science Courses

Our science department offers sequences for students interested in pursuing science or engineering programs in college, and for those who may not intend to take advanced courses in college. For complete course descriptions, prerequisites and applicable grade levels, please see the course description handbook.

Physical Science

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.


This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts of biology including cellular biology, genetics, microbiology, animal and plant biology, evolution, and ecology. Introductory laboratory skills are developed with emphasis on collection, observation, and interpretation of data.

Honors Biology

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


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.

Honors Chemistry

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.

Physics/Honors Physics

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.

Environmental Science

This course covers four areas of environmental concern: water ecology, global ecology, naturalist methods, and water research. Water quality analysis and report generation are a focal point of this course. Community service and service learning are integral components of the course. Students will perform water quality assessments, land use surveys, assist in the eradication of buckthorn, and many other community based activities. Students will generate water quality reports that are shared with local agencies and landowner associations. This class is based on an internship model and students must be willing to work outdoors throughout the entire year.

Advanced Placement Environmental Science

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. 

Advanced Placement Biology (PACC)

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.