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Course Description Guide 2020-21

Science (2020-21)

The Trinity Episcopal School Science Department forges academically knowledgeable, scientifically literate, and technologically capable problem solvers. The Department provides an environment that fosters inquisitive thought, nurtures curiosity, and brings current andreal-world science into the classroom. Students learn to collect, interpret and manage data, enabling knowledgeable decision making. Through a unique blend of classic classroom lecture, hands-on laboratory exercises, field trip excursions, engagement with the local scientific community, and use of technical tools, students question, comprehend, and analyze global issues with a scientific and data-driven approach.

3 years of laboratory science are required. The 9th and 10th grade required sequence of semester courses Conceptual Physics and Scientific Research for 9s and semester courses Biology and Chemistry for 10s earn 2 laboratory credits. Scroll down for course sequence.

All IB Science SL courses have one additional lab day per 8 day cycle.

Science

List of 11 items.

  • Integrated Science - Grade 8

    1 Credit

    This course offers students from a diverse array of science backgrounds an opportunity to prepare for upper level science with an integrated study of the major sciences. Students will study chemistry, physics, biology and earth science through a series of investigations and analysis problems occurring in a traditional classroom setting, the laboratory, and in the field. Students will devote a significant amount of time to studying ecological systems and watershed dynamics in and around the James River and Chesapeake Bay. The course will take a specific focus on hands-on water quality testing both in streams flowing through Trinity’s campus as well as the James River and its tributaries. Through this course, students should not only learn the communication skills, study skills, research, and vital laboratory skills expected in the science classroom but also should improve their appreciation for our local watershed and its importance in Virginia’s social and scientific history. As in all laboratory science courses, students will conduct research through experimentation, developing and practicing all aspects of the scientific method.

    Additionally there will be opportunities to work with younger students from surrounding schools as we share the impressive features of our local ecosystem. It is recommended that students bring in a pair of rain boots or old shoes, as the class frequently takes field trips to the creek or river.

    Units of Study
    Water Quality Indicators
    Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem
    Topographic Mapping
    Biology:  Nucleic Acids, Carbohydrates, Proteins, Lipids
    Chemistry:  Periodic Table, Sugar in Nature
    Graphing
    Water Quality Education
  • Conceptual Physics - Grade 9

    .5 Credit

    This required semester-long freshman course involves the study of the basic concepts of physics. It provides the foundation to understanding the physical world around us, engaging students in understanding the basic laws and processes that determine how our world works. Students learn through a combination independent and collaborative hands-on investigations, mathematical concepts, and computer simulations. Students will develop skills in experimental procedure and analysis. Students will be expected to think critically and apply their knowledge, rather than apply rote memorization. Healthy habits for success in this course include time management skills, personal responsibility in group interactions, and proactively reaching out for help. This course is about developing individual students to become critical thinkers who take responsibility for their learning. This course will also provide insight into what physics is like in the real world, with the help of an independent research project. The course will give students a solid foundation for future work in Chemistry and Biology in the 10th grade.

    Units of Study
    Measurements
    Motion
    Forces and Energy
    Optics
  • Scientific Research - Grade 9

    .5 Credit

    This semester-long course is required for all freshman students. The course concentrates on developing those habits of mind and practice that are the building blocks of the scientific method. Students learn to use the scientific method in a lab setting including: planning and conducting an experiment; processing, analyzing and graphing data collected from the experiment; discussing and making conclusions using collected data; and evaluating the experimental process itself. In addition, they learn to use statistical analysis to determine the validity and reliability of data. Students also conduct research through the use of popular and academic journals, discerning information’s currency, accuracy, and usefulness to support scientific conclusions. Students will demonstrate their learning through quizzes and tests as well as group work, labs, and various hands on activities and projects. In order to succeed in this course, nightly review of material is a necessity in combination with a curious, analytical, enthusiastic, and hard-working attitude every day in class. Skills learned during the semester will translate to future science, as well as other courses.

    Units of Study
    Intro to the Scientific Method (Lab Equipment, Proper Measurement, Acids/Bases)
    Graphing, Data Analysis, and Microscopes
    Intro to Chemistry and Photosynthesis/Respiration
    Intro to Biology and Classification of Organisms
    The Human Body and Body Systems
  • Biology - Grade 10

    .5 Credit
    Prerequisite:  Conceptual Physics, Scientific Research, Algebra 1
    Required tools:  TI-84 Plus Calculator

    This course offers students an opportunity to explore basic concepts in Biology and their contributions to the characteristics of life. Students learn through data collection in the laboratory, focused readings and class discussions. Students will improve their observational and investigative skills and their experimental design proficiency. Scientific literacy and data analysis will be emphasized. Sophomores who have completed conceptual physics and scientific research should take this semester long class which is complemented by the semester long Chemistry class. Scientific competency will help students in their future science studies. It is imperative that students be organized and independent learners. 

    Units of Study
    Review of Scientific Research/Introduction to Biology
    Biomolecules and the Human Genome
    The Cell and Cell Division
    Cancer, Meiosis and Reproduction
    Diseases
    Genetics
    Evolution
    Ecology
  • Chemistry - Grade 10

    .5 Credit
    Prerequisite:  Conceptual Physics, Scientific Research, Algebra 1
    Required tools:  TI-84 Plus Calculator

    This course covers properties of matter, periodic trends, atomic theory, nomenclature, chemical formulas, mole conversions, chemical composition, reactions, and stoichiometry. Students learn concepts and practical application through lab activities and collaborative problem-solving. The course also covers laboratory techniques, experimental design, error analysis, and statistical analysis. Safe laboratory practices are emphasized and implemented. This semester course is complemented by the study of Biology.

    Students should demonstrate the personal skills of cooperation, perseverance, and responsibility appropriate for effective scientific investigation. They should be organized and comfortable with a variety of teaching techniques. Students should demonstrate good problem-solving skills such as using learned material in new situations and deciding which material is applicable in a given situation. 

    Units of Study
    Nature of Science and Laboratory Skills
    Classification and Atomic Theory
    Bonding and Nomenclature
    Counting Particles (The Mole)
    Chemical Reactions
    Stoichiometry
  • Biology Honors - Grade 10

    .5 Credit
    Prerequisites:  Scientific Research with semester grade of A or higher and an average test grade of A- or higher; Conceptual Physics with semester grade of A or higher and an average test grade of A- or higher. Grades in previous standard level math classes (Geometry or higher) of A-. Grades in previous honors level math classes (Honors Geometry or higher) of B+. 
    Required tools:  TI-84 Plus Calculator

    This course offers students an opportunity to explore basic concepts in Biology and their contributions to the characteristics of life. Students study the structures, functions, and processes of living organisms and their interactions with the environment. Students will conduct independent research and statistical analysis. Students learn complex biological concepts through class discussions, collaborative groups, data collection, video presentations and independent application of knowledge. Students who want to pursue IB science classes in their junior year would benefit from this class.  This semester course is complemented by the study of Chemistry Honors.

    This course is designed for independent, fast paced learners with excellent reading comprehension and mathematics skills. The course allows for both prescribed and original experimental design to encourage students to grow in their investigative and observational skills. Collected data is further delineated through statistical analysis and quantitative manipulation. 

    Students should demonstrate the personal skills of cooperation, perseverance and responsibility appropriate for effective investigation and problem solving. They should be organized and comfortable with fast-paced learning and a variety of teaching techniques. Students should demonstrate good problem-solving skills such as using learned material in new situations and deciding which material is applicable in a given situation. Students must also be independent learners who can comprehend and retain what they read.

    Units of Study
    Cell Biology
    Molecular Biology
    Genetics
    Ecology
    Evolution and Biodiversity
    Human Physiology
  • Chemistry Honors - Grade 10

    .5 Credit
    Prerequisites:  Scientific Research with semester grade of A or higher and an average test grade of A- or higher; Conceptual Physics with semester grade of A or higher and an average test grade of A- or higher. Grades in previous standard level math classes (Geometry or higher) of A-. Grades in previous honors level math classes (Geometry Honors or higher) of B+. 
    Required tools:  TI-84 Plus Calculator

    This course covers properties of matter, periodic trends, atomic theory, nomenclature, chemical formulas, mole conversions, chemical composition, reactions, and stoichiometry. Students learn concepts and practical application through lab activities and collaborative problem-solving. The course also covers laboratory techniques, experimental design, error analysis, and statistical analysis. Safe laboratory practices are emphasized and implemented. This semester course is complemented by the study of Biology Honors.

    Students should demonstrate the personal skills of cooperation, perseverance, and responsibility appropriate for effective scientific investigation. They should be organized and comfortable with fast-paced learning and a variety of teaching techniques. Students should demonstrate good problem-solving skills such as using learned material in new situations and deciding which material is applicable in a given situation. Students must also be independent learners who can comprehend and retain what they read.

    Units of Study
    Nature of Science and Laboratory Skills
    Classification and Atomic Theory
    Bonding and Nomenclature
    Counting Particles (The Mole)
    Chemical Reactions
    Stoichiometry
  • Physics - Grades 11-12

    1 Credit
    Prerequisite:  Biology and Chemistry and grade of B- or higher in Algebra 2 or Algebra 2 Honors
    Required tools:  TI-84 Plus Calculator

    Physics is a course where the fundamental motions of the universe and equations that describe them will be modeled, discussed and explored. This class offers an introduction to Algebra based physics for non-IB students. Students learn through class discussions, demonstrations, hands-on experiments and simulations. Students will interpret the results of observations, which involve the assessment of experimental errors and uncertainties. As in all laboratory science courses, students will conduct research through experimentation, developing all aspects of the scientific method. Students who are considering careers in STEM based fields should strongly consider taking this course. It is crucial for students to be curious about the way the world works. Scientifically minded students will have great success in this course. This course can also help prepare students for IB Physics SL.

    Units of Study
    Scientific Thinking 
    Introduction to Forces
    Constant Velocity
    Constant Acceleration
    Constant Net Force
    Two Dimensional Motion
    Energy
    Electrostatics
    Circuits
    Waves & Sound
  • Chemistry 2 - Grades 11-12

    1 Credit
    Prerequisites:  Biology and Chemistry and grade of B- or higher in Algebra 2 or Algebra 2 Honors
    Required tools:  TI-84 Plus Calculator

    This course covers a deeper learning of properties of matter, gas laws, thermodynamics, bonding, intermolecular forces, reactions, stoichiometry, and forensics. Additional smaller topics will be covered pertaining to data analysis, instrumentation, conversions, and the nature of science. Students will learn concepts and practical application through discussion, group work, problem-solving and lab activities. The course also emphasizes safe laboratory techniques, experimental design, error analysis, and statistical analysis. This course is intended to supplement the semester-long introductory chemistry course. It also gives an opportunity to non-IB students to go further in chemistry and prepare for college. It is intended for students who plan to pursue careers in science, medicine, nursing, pharmacology, physical therapy, etc.

    In order to be successful in this course, students should demonstrate the personal skills of cooperation, perseverance, active participation, and responsibility. They should be organized and comfortable with a variety of teaching techniques. Students should demonstrate good problem-solving skills such as applying learned material to novel situations and deciding which material is applicable in a given situation.

    Units of Study
    Nature of Science and Laboratory Skills
    Gas Laws
    Thermodynamics
    Bonding
    Intermolecular Forces
    The Mole and Stoichiometry
    Solutions and Acid-Base Chemistry
    Forensic Chemistry
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology - Grades 11-12

    1 Credit
    Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry

    The foundation of this course is the concept of homeostasis and how the body maintains stable internal conditions, if not also ideal performance. Fundamental structures, at least one core physiological process, and particular diseases or issues of note are explored in each unit. Successful students will have the discipline to memorize some information and connect it to larger medical or social issues, to study both independently and collaboratively, and to employ research and writing skills. Hands on activities and labs, discussion of current events, research projects, and traditional worksheets, quizzes and tests are used to reinforce content and develop information literacy. This class is strongly recommended for students who may want to pursue a career in health or medicine.

    Units of Study
    Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology
    Biochemistry and Tissues
    Skeletal System
    Muscular System
    Nervous System
    Cardio-Respiratory System
    Digestive System
    Immune System
    Endocrine and Reproductive Systems
  • River and Environmental Systems - Grade 12

    1 Credit

    This class offers senior students the opportunity to understand how river systems function and how they are important to the overall environment. The course emphasizes the study of the James River system with particular focus on environmental perspectives and river history. The course goes into detail about current world wide environmental issues using both the historical and modern James River as a direct example. This course is a hands on experience based class. We use classroom activities to support numerous outings to James River Park, the environment around campus, Downtown Richmond, and other local James River tributaries. The course includes a significant environmental education segment where Trinity students meet up with Richmond elementary students and conduct environmental science investigations. The environmental education segment gives students experience and knowledge to pass along ecology and natural history lessons in future settings, both private and professional.

    As in all laboratory science courses, students will conduct research through experimentation thus developing all aspects of the scientific method. Additionally, because this class is hands on and experiential in nature, students must be prepared to be outside in a variety of weather and possibly challenging conditions. All field experiences will be preceded or followed by classroom activities and traditional assignments. Students should be prepared to learn both inside and outside.

    It is recommended that students bring in a pair of rain boots or old shoes, as the class will frequently be walking in wet and muddy conditions.

    Units of Study
    Water Quality Testing
    Environmental Education: Elementary
    Environmental Education: Middle and High
    Biodiversity and Ecosystems
    Biodiversity within Ecosystems
    Math for Science
    Carbon and Nutrient Cycling
    River Features
    Virginia Streams
    Food Production in a Changing World
    Environmental Literature

IB and AP Science

List of 7 items.

  • IB Environmental Systems & Societies SL - Grades 11-12

    1 Credit
    Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation based on expectations of B or higher in Chemistry Honors and Biology Honors (or previous IB course) or A in Chemistry and Biology (or previous standard-level science course), evidence of focus, reliability, work ethic, independent learning, and passion for the subject matter.
    Required tools:  Graphing calculator. "Rite-in-the-Rain" Field Journal (purchased through the school)
    Additional Fees: Students in this course are expected to take the IB exam.  A fee applies to all students taking this exam.

    This course may count as a Group 3 and/or a Group 4 IB course for diploma candidates.  It will also satisfy either a Trinity science credit or a social studies credit, but not both.

    The intent of this course is to help students develop a holistic perspective on the environment using a systems approach together with scientific, economic, historical, cultural and socio-political methodologies. The course seeks to help students develop the skills to assess, measure and analyze the environment from a local to a global perspective. Topics include foundations of environmental systems and societies, ecosystems and ecology, biodiversity and conservation, water and aquatic food production systems and societies, soil systems and terrestrial food production systems and societies, atmospheric systems and societies, climate change and energy production and human systems and resource use.

    In the laboratory component of this course students will explore experimental methods, develop experimental design skills and apply these methods and skills to the study of ecosystems and societies. Laboratory work will be augmented with fieldwork both on the Trinity property and other locations. Students are expected to independently apply laboratory skills and report writing learned in previous science classes. Advanced skills will be developed throughout the course and students will complete an individual investigation that is assessed by the teacher and submitted to IBO. It represents 25% of the exam score. The investigation focuses on using the scientific method for a lab experience that includes: planning and conducting an experiment; processing, analyzing and graphing data collected from the experiment; discussing and making conclusions using collected data; and evaluating the experimental process itself.

    This course is for any student interested in environmental sciences, sustainability, or the outdoors in general. However, the goal of this course is to explain environmentalism through a variety of lenses, from economic, to religious, to recreational, so all curious and qualified students are welcome. It is a class that does involve some outdoor work, so students should be prepared to work safely in any weather.

    Units of Study
    Foundations of ESS
    Ecosystems and ecology 
    Biodiversity and conservation
    Water, aquatic food production systems, and societies
    Soil systems, terrestrial food production systems and societies
    Atmospheric systems and societies
    Climate change and energy production
    Human systems and resource use
  • IB Biology SL - Grades 11-12

    1 Credit
    Prerequisite
    :  Teacher recommendation based on expectations of B or higher in Chemistry Honors and Biology Honors (or previous IB course) or A in Chemistry and Biology (or previous standard-level science course), evidence of focus, reliability, work ethic and independent learning.
    Required tools:  TI graphing calculator recommended; students must have a calculator for the IB exam though it does not have to be a TI.
    Additional Fee: Students in this course are expected to take the IB exam.  A fee applies to all students taking this exam. Please see the information in the Overview section about IB exams.

    Biologists investigate the living world at all levels from the microscopic to macroscopic, using a variety of approaches and techniques. At one end of the scale is the cell, its molecular construction and complex metabolic reactions. At the other end of the scale are the ecosystem level interactions in the biosphere. Students should be able to focus on challenging concepts, maintain a strong work ethic, and be both independent and collaborative learners. Those who are interested in college or career level biology, ecology, medicine, and health will all benefit from the course. Students will demonstrate their knowledge through a variety of means, apply that knowledge to modern problems, and engage in scientific investigations designed to develop their analysis, research and evaluation skills. Students spend at least 95 hours with the IB core curriculum and an additional 15 in an option area, as well as 40 hours engaged in labs, activities and the Group 4 project. Students are expected to independently apply previous laboratory skills and continue to develop them. An individually designed and completed investigation is assessed by the teacher, and a sample is submitted to the IBO, representing 20% of the IB exam score. 

    Units of Study
    Cell Biology
    Molecular Biology (macromolecules, central dogma, matter and energy processes)
    Genetics
    Ecology
    Evolution and Biodiversity
    Human Physiology
    Neurobiology & Behavior
  • IB Biology HL - Grade 12

    1 Credit
    Prerequisite:  Teacher recommendation based on the expectation of B or higher in IB Biology SL
    Additional Fee: Students in this course are expected to take the IB exam.  A fee applies to all students taking this exam.

    This course builds upon what was learned previously in IB Biology SL. Students both re-engage with previous Biology topics as well as enhance their understanding with the addition of new ones in each unit. The additional option we will study is ecology and conservation. Students will demonstrate their learning through group work, labs, hands on activities, and research projects. In order to succeed in this course, students must be curious, knowledgeable, precise, determined, creative, and self-motivating. Skills in critical analysis, observation, research, and writing are all emphasized.   Those interested in majors/jobs in biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, chemistry, psychology, nursing/medical school, engineering, agriculture, ecology, etc. should consider taking this course. This course prepares students for the IB Biology HL examination.

    Units of Study
    Plant Biology
    Nucleic Acids
    Metabolism, Respiration, and Photosynthesis
    Genetics and Evolution
    Animal Physiology
    Ecology and Conservation
  • IB Chemistry SL - Grades 11-12

    1 Credit
    Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation based on expectations of B+ or higher in Chemistry Honors and Biology Honors, (or B or higher in previous IB course), or A in Chemistry and Biology (or previous standard-level science course), evidence of focus, reliability, work ethic and independent learning.   In addition, the mathematics prerequisite is B or higher in Algebra 2 Honors or A or higher in Algebra 2.
    Required tools:  TI-84 Plus Calculator
    Additional fees: Students in this course are expected to take the IB exam.  A fee applies to all students taking this exam. Please see the information in the Overview section about IB exams.

    This course takes a rigorous approach to academic study and investigational laboratory skills, emphasizing experimental design and documentation. This means students should anticipate a difficult, but rewarding, class. Stoichiometry, atomic structure, periodicity, bonding and intermolecular forces, energetics, chemical kinetics, equilibrium, acids and bases, oxidation-reduction and electrochemistry, basic organic chemistry, and medicinal chemistry are the major topics that are covered. All students conduct research for the IB Group 4 science project. Assessment includes homework, quizzes, tests, labs, and practice problems from prior IB exams. Independent laboratory work is assessed second semester. Students learn concepts and practical application through lecture, group work, problem-solving, and lab activities. The course also covers laboratory techniques, experimental design, error analysis, and statistical analysis. This course prepares students for the IB Chemistry Standard Level Examination.

    This course is recommended for students who plan to pursue careers in sciences, engineering, medicine, nursing, pharmacology, physical therapy, etc.

    Units of Study
    Stoichiometry
    Atomic Structure
    Periodicity
    Chemical Structure and Bonding
    Energetics/Thermochemistry
    Organic Chemistry
    Spectroscopy
    Kinetics
    Equilibrium
    Acid and Bases
    Electrochemistry
    Medicinal Chemistry
  • IB Chemistry HL - Grade 12

    1 Credit
    Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation based on the expectation of B or higher in IB Chemistry SL
    Required tools:  TI-84 Plus Calculator
    Additional fees: Students in this course are expected to take the IB exam.  A fee applies to all students taking this exam.

    This course covers a review of the material covered in IB Chemistry SL as well as the additional material specified for IB Chemistry HL. This course provides a deeper approach to chemical principles, including the required mathematical analysis. Students must be able to retain material mastered in Chemistry SL as well as the work in the HL course, and apply it throughout the entire field of study. Laboratory work is an extensive part of the course with an emphasis on experimental design and report writing. A scientific paper on the student’s self-designed experiment and a cumulative test will take the place of a first semester exam. Topics covered include atomic structure, chemical bonding and structure, thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, equilibrium, redox, acids and bases, and a detailed survey of organic chemistry and instrumental analysis. The IB optional study topic is medicine and drugs. Students who complete this course will be prepared to take the IB Chemistry Higher Level examination.

    This course is recommended for students who plan to pursue careers in sciences, engineering, medicine, nursing, pharmacology, physical therapy, etc.

    Units of Study
    Stoichiometry
    Atomic Structure
    Periodicity
    Chemical Structure and Bonding
    Energetics/Thermochemistry
    Organic Chemistry
    Spectroscopy
    Kinetics
    Equilibrium
    Acid and Bases
    Electrochemistry
    Medicinal Chemistry
  • IB Physics SL - Grades 11-12

    1 Credit
    Prerequisite:
    Teacher recommendation based on expectations of B+ or higher in Chemistry Honors and Biology Honors, (or B or higher in previous IB course), or A in Chemistry and Biology (or previous standard-level science course), evidence of focus, reliability, work ethic and independent learning.  In addition, the mathematics prerequisite is B or higher in Algebra 2 Honors or A or higher in Algebra 2.
    Required tools:  TI-84 Plus Calculator
    Additional fees: Students in this course are expected to take the IB exam.  A fee applies to all students taking this exam. Please see the information in the Overview section about IB exams.

    The study of Physics seeks to explain the universe itself, from the smallest particles to the vast distances between galaxies. Physics helps us understand the world around us. Throughout this course students are expected to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of topics by applied methods and techniques discussed in class, through lab activities, demonstrations and simulations. Through the yearlong course students are prompted to formulate, analyze and evaluate topics discussed in class and labs both qualitatively and quantitatively. 

    Success will come to students who demonstrate knowledge and understanding, apply facts and concepts, formulate, analyze and evaluate scientific explanations. Milestones of the course include the individual assessment (IA) and Group 4 project. These activities will demonstrate the students’ insightful investigative skills. 

    This class prepares students for the IB Physics SL exams (Papers 1, 2 and 3). Those who are considering careers in STEM based fields should strongly consider taking this course. 

    Units of Study
    Measurement and Uncertainty
    Mechanics
    Thermal Physics
    Oscillations and Waves
    Electricity and Magnetism
    Circular Motion and Gravitation
    Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics
    Energy Production
    Astrophysics (IB Option)
  • IB Physics HL - Grade 12

    1 Credit
    Prerequisite:  Teacher recommendation based on the expectation of B or higher in IB Physics SL  
    Required tools:  TI-84 Plus Calculator
    Additional fees: Students in this course are expected to take the IB exam.  A fee applies to all students taking this exam.

    This course uses college level texts and laboratory experiences and includes a detailed approach to the principles of physics. The course amplifies the material taught in the first year of the course with a greater emphasis on problem solving skills involving more advanced mathematical methods. Students will learn through independent research, hands-on laboratory investigations, demonstrations, and collaborative work within the class. Students should be able to think critically and work independently. This course prepares students not only for the IB Physics HL Examination, but also for advanced physical scientific study at the college level. While reviewing the standard level material and learning the additional higher level topics, students will gain an understanding and appreciation for the scientific advances that have contributed to the development of society as we know it. Students should expect a rigorous curriculum. Healthy study habits and time management skills are a necessity for success in this course. Those who are interested in careers in science and engineering should consider taking this course.

    Units of Study
    Measurements and uncertainties
    Mechanics
    Wave phenomena
    Fields
    Electricity and magnetism
    Energy
    Modern Physics
    Imaging

Science Electives

List of 4 items.

  • Natural Hazards - Grades 8-9

    .5 Credit
    This course does not count toward the lab science graduation requirement.

    This course concerns natural hazards which are earth processes that have direct, and often sudden and violent impacts on human society. Three aspects of each natural hazard are investigated, their nature and effects, the science behind them, and methods to protect life and property from them. Students learn by class discussion, watching and analyzing videos, class projects, and participating in online simulations. Discussion of natural hazards happening in real time is emphasized, however major events in the past such as the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the 2003 Indonesian tsunami are also covered. A major project is the analysis of a natural disaster movie for scientific accuracy. After taking this course students should be able to communicate to others what they learn about natural hazards, the warning signs of impending disasters, and what safety precautions to take. This class should be taken by students who are interested in hazardous earth processes and how they impact the Earth and the people who live on it. It is important for students in this class to be curious about the world around them, and willing to discuss and write about natural hazards. One of the best ways to prepare during this class is to discuss interesting things learned in class and current events with friends or family.

    Units of Study
    Wildfires
    Hurricanes
    Tornadoes
    Lightning
    Earthquakes
    Tsunamis
    Volcanoes
  • Astronomy - Grades 10-12

    .5 Credit
    This course does not count toward the lab science graduation requirement.

    This one semester descriptive astronomy course covers observing the sky, the origin of the solar system, planets and stars. Stellar astronomy emphasizes how we know the composition, properties, and life cycles of stars including how they end their lives as various stellar remnants. Planetary astronomy covers the age and origin of the solar system, and descriptions of the planets and their moons including the possibility of life. Students also learn about planets and stars by watching videos that illustrate them, and explain the scientific principles that govern them. Summaries of the main points are provided. Demonstrations and computer and pencil and paper activities serve as supplemental material. Anyone who is curious about the stars and planets may take this class. A knowledge of astronomy will help students understand all the discoveries that are happening now and in the future. Participation is key in this course.

    Units of Study
    The Solar System
    Observing the Sky
    Properties of Stars
    Life Cycle of Stars
    The Earth Moon System
    Terrestrial Planets
    Outer Planets
    The Sun
  • Sustainable Systems: Rethink, React, Resolve - Grades 10-12

    .5 Credit
    This course does not count toward the lab science graduation requirement.

    This semester long course explores and promotes the science behind a sustainable way of life. Students rethink ways we live now, react to information about the impact of those lifestyles, and resolve to improve. Students learn what a carbon footprint is and why it matters. They pursue questions like what is the impact of an agricultural monoculture? Is organic food more nutritious and worth the cost? How are governments and businesses incorporating sustainability into their missions? Is the local Richmond community becoming more sustainable? Students in this course cultivate answers to these questions and more by working in the Trinity garden, greenhouse, and tower garden, taking field trips to the river and listening to guest speakers who specialize in these areas. This course includes multiple projects in which students learn and present, allowing them to gain first-hand experience with a variety of technology and media tools. The class pursues paperless learning and helps with on campus programming designed to support a culture of sustainability. This course may be repeated for credit with instructor permission if space permits.

    It is recommended that students bring in a pair of rain boots or old shoes, as the class frequently works in the garden or does field studies.

    Units of Study (will vary by season)
    What Does It Mean to Live Sustainably?
    Good Garden Practices
    Sustainable and Non-sustainable Food Supplies
    Sustainable Workplaces
    Sustainable Cities
    United Nations Sustainability Goals
  • The Science of Sport - Grades 11-12

    1 Credit
    Prerequisites: Conceptual Physics, Biology and Chemistry
    This course does not count toward the lab science graduation requirement.

    This course provides a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of sport. Fundamentals of biology, chemistry, and physics as well as some of the social sciences are investigated through the lens of sport, physical fitness and exercise. Students explore nutrition, movement, statistics, anatomy and even psychology and ethics as they research sporting events, current events, exercise trends, and famous athletes throughout the world. Students in the course will read a non-fiction popular press book as part of the class, using the book to guide several weeks of discussion and analysis, and ultimately resulting in a research project/presentation inspired by the book. The instructor will also incorporate online resources, various data collection tools including standard science labs, and regular discussion of current events in sports using a variety of media. Students who are interested in sports management, coaching and movement instruction, public health, and related health professions will benefit from the course.

    Units of Study
    The Power of Exercise in Society
    Musculo-skeletal System
    Cardio-respiratory System
    Psychology and Performance
    Movement Analysis/Biomechanics
    Learning and Teaching Sports Skills
    Ethics in Sport
    Book Review and Project

Course Sequence

Science Core Courses

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Integrated Science Conceptual Physics/Scientific Research Chemistry Honors/Biology Honors IB Physics SL IB Physics HL
IB Chemistry SL IB Chemistry HL
IB Biology SL IB Biology HL
Environmental Systems and Societies SL
Chemistry/Biology Physics
Chemistry 2
Human Anatomy and Physiology
River and Environmental Systems


Science Electives


Grades 8-9 Grades 10-12 Grades 10-12 Grades 11-12
Natural Hazards Astronomy Sustainable Systems The Science of Sport