About Science at SMHS

Students at St. Michael are encouraged to explore STEM careers and prepare for further science study with technical writing, hands-on labs, technical lab reports, research in science literacy, and use of primary source documents.

Course Offerings:

Physical Science – CP
Level: College Prep
Grade Level: 9
Prerequisite: None.
Description: This course is a required science course that prepares the student for Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Topics include the atom, the periodic table of the elements, chemical compounds and formulas, acids and bases, the laws of motion and energy, and concepts of light and sound. The use of mathematics is emphasized. Rocketry is utilized to emphasize laws of conservation, as well as Newton’s laws.

Physical Science – Honors
Level: Honors
Grade Level: 9
Prerequisite: Students in this class must be in the top 15% of the entering freshmen class as indicated by the math, science, and composite scores from the high school placement test.
Description: This course prepares a student for biology, chemistry, and physics. Topics include the atom, the periodic table of the elements, chemical compounds and formulas, acids and bases, the laws of motion and energy, and concepts of light and sound. This course requires strong mathematical ability. Rocketry is utilized to emphasize laws of conservations, as well as Newton’s laws. Outside reading is required.

Biology – CP
Level: College Prep
Grade Level: 10
Prerequisite: Physical Science.
Description: Study of the cell, biochemistry, and genetics/DNA are emphasized first semester, while the six kingdoms of living organisms are emphasized second semester. The course culminates with a brief overview of several body systems. Dissections performed.

Biology – Honors
Level: Honors
Grade Level: 10
Prerequisite: Honors Physical Science or Physical Science teacher’s recommendation.
Description: This fast-paced course provides an in-depth view of the properties of living organisms. It begins with the study of cells, genetics/DNA, and biochemistry. It culminates with the study of the six kingdoms of living organisms and an overview of the body systems. Dissections performed. Outside reading is required along with enrichment activities. Outside activities require extensive computer usage (ex. graphing, webquests, and research).

Chemistry – CP
Level: College Prep
Grade Level: 10 – 12
Prerequisite: Physical Science, Biology I, and concurrent enrollment in Algebra II or have credit in Algebra II.
Description: This course explores scientific measurement and problem-solving, physical and chemical changes, atomic theory and structure, formula writing, chemical reactions and equations, stoichiometry, states of matter, chemical bonding, solutions, equilibrium, and acids and bases. Laboratory studies will emphasize the scientific method, lab reports, data analysis, and correct safety procedures.

Chemistry – Honors
Level: Honors
Grade Level: 10 – 12
Prerequisite: Honors Physical Science, Honors Biology I, and concurrent enrollment in Algebra II or have credit in Algebra II. If student has not been in the honors track, he or she must have previous science teacher’s recommendation to enter this course.
Description: This is an in-depth, fast-paced course which explores scientific measurement and problem-solving, physical and chemical changes, atomic theory and structure formula writing, chemical reactions and equations, stoichiometry, states of matter, chemical bonding, solutions, equilibrium, and acids and bases. Laboratory studies will emphasize the scientific method, lab reports, data analysis, and correct safety procedures. Outside reading is required.

Physics – Honors
Level: Honors
Grade Level: 12
Prerequisite: Physical Science, Algebra II, Chemistry, and should have taken or be currently enrolled in Advanced Math. Recommendations from previous science and math teachers are also required.
Description: This course will make rigorous use of mathematics that will be used to understand the scientific concepts involved. This course will be similar to the College Prep course except that the topics will be covered quicker and in more depth. This course is recommended for students who intend to pursue a college degree in mathematics, engineering, medicine, or any of the sciences.

Environmental Science – CP
Level: College Prep
Grade Level: 12
Prerequisite: None
Description: This course is intended as a laboratory setting to emphasize the importance of environmental science through science inquiry learning. Students are provided many opportunities to apply, analyze, evaluate, and share data which they themselves have experimentally collected. The curriculum focuses primarily on the function of Earth’s systems. Emphasis is placed on matter, energy, plate tectonics, origin and evolution of the earth and solar system, environmental awareness, and earth’s shared resource.

Biology II – CP
Level: College Prep
Grade Level: 12
Prerequisite: Physical Science, Biology I, and Chemistry.
Description: This courses reviews and develops more of Biology I concepts in the first nine weeks, which is comparable to college-level Biology. Human anatomy and physiology comprise the majority of this course, but emphasis is also given to medical terminology and pathology. Mammalian dissection will be performed. Students with future career goals in medical fields are strongly encouraged to take this course.

Biology II – AP
Level: Advanced Placement
Grade Level: 12
Prerequisite: Students should have successfully completed courses in Biology and Chemistry. Recommendation/approval from previous science teacher and Administration required.
Description: AP Biology is an introductory college-level biology course where students will use inquiry-based investigations to explore the following topics: evolution, cellular processes-energy and communication, genetics, information transfer, ecology, and interactions. There is a lab component to the course that may require outside class time.  
Achievement of the required score on the AP Examination earns college credit for the student.

Forensics – CP
Level: College Prep
Grade Level: 11-12 (Senior Preference)
Prerequisite: Course Instructor Approval, successful completion of Biology I and Chemistry.
Description: This is an elective class that teaches students about topics dealing with Forensic Science, such as fingerprinting, DNA analysis, toxicology, blood typing and spattering, trajectories comparative anatomy, and chemical analysis. Students will learn about the careers involved with Forensic Science and will play mock roles as experts in the field to solve crimes.
This course does not fulfill the graduation requirements for a 4th science course.