Course Catalog & Class Descriptions » Science Courses

Science Courses

God instilled a natural curiosity in all humankind. As a Lasallian school, we foster the development of that curiosity based on a Christian foundation of awareness and respect for God's creation. Students are provided with the opportunity to learn scientific concepts and experience science that is practical, relevant and stimulating.
 
Our changing world requires that students develop strategies in observing, questioning, critical thinking, and problem-solving. We encourage them to be responsible, ethical, and moral members of society. In an age dominated by technology and rapid change, the science department strives to supply the student with adaptive skills that are universal in application.
 
 

Physics

Grade Level: 9-10

Credit: 1.0, Full Year

Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Algebra 1

This required course option will focus on the conceptual underpinning of Physics and how the fundamental concepts will help to prepare students for later science courses. Topics will include measurement and unit conversion, the four Conservation laws (Energy, Mass, Momentum, and Electric Charge), static and dynamic electricity, and waves (both mechanical and electromagnetic).  Physics M is an acceptable alternative to this course.



Physics M

Grade Level: 9

Credit: 1.0, Full Year

Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Geometry or higher level math course

Mathematical Physics is a required course option for all incoming 9th graders will focus on three main areas: Physics concepts and applications, Engineering design and Scientific method and analysis. Students will study motion (both linear and some circular), Newton's Laws, energy, and momentum in the first semester and sound, light, waves, electricity and magnetism in the second semester. This course will be heavily inquiry-based and incorporate engineering design projects into each concept area, along with laboratory experiments and demonstrations. Physics is an acceptable alternative to this course.



AP Physics 1

Grade Level: 10-12

Credit: 1.0, Full Year

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Physics and Algebra 2

This AP course is equivalent to first-semester collegiate algebra-based Physics, and will serve as an excellent foundation for students interested in pursuing STEM related fields. Units covered include Newtonian mechanics, rotational motion, energy, waves and sound, and electrical circuits. It will build upon the groundwork of the 9th Grade physics curriculum offered at La Salle, incorporating additional mathematics to describe two dimensional motion and systems of objects as well as new topics in every unit. There will be a heavy emphasis on hands-on and data driven lab work including the use of graphs and equations to predict the behavior of objects. Students must have completed a full year of Physics and be concurrently enrolled in Algebra 2 or a higher level math course to enroll in this course.



AP Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism

Grade Level: 10-12

Credit: 1.0, Full Year

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Physics M and AP Calculus AB

This is a calculus-based, college-level physics course, especially appropriate for students planning to specialize or major in physical science or engineering. The course explores topics such as electrostatics; conductors, capacitors, and dielectrics; electric circuits; magnetic fields; and electromagnetism. Introductory differential and integral calculus is used throughout the course. Students should have taken or be concurrently taking calculus.



Chemistry E

Grade Level: 10-11

Credit: 1.0, Full Year

Prerequisite: Physics or Physics M

Chemistry Essentials is the study of changes in composition, structure, and properties of matter during chemical reactions. This course emphasizes scientific literacy and a more conceptual look at mathematical approaches than they may see in the General Chemistry and Honors Chemistry courses. Students are introduced to the main topics in chemistry including but not limited to atomic structure, the periodic table, bonding, chemical reactions, acids and bases, gases, and thermodynamics. Lastly, the course will provide students with foundations to be successful in later high school science courses and to be educated and informed voters and citizens. This course is designed around the Next Generation Science Standards which ensure students not only learn and receive practice with the disciplinary core ideas but also science and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts. Students will engage in guided inquiry practices often and that will provide students the opportunity to ask scientific questions, make claims, design experiments, and engage in argument from evidence.  Either this course, Chemistry or Honors Chemistry is required as part of the Science curriculum.



Chemistry 

Grade Level: 10

Credit: 1.0, Full Year

Prerequisite: Physics or Physics M and concurrently enrolled in Geometry or higher level math course

Chemistry is the study of changes in composition, structure, and properties of matter during chemical reactions. Students are introduced to the main topics in chemistry including but not limited to atomic structure, the periodic table, bonding, chemical reactions, acids and bases, gases, and thermodynamics. This course is designed around the Next Generation Science Standards which ensure students not only learn and receive practice with the disciplinary core ideas but also science and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts. Scientific practices involve guided inquiry, where students ask scientific questions, make claims, design experiments, collect evidence, and provide evidence based explanations. General chemistry involves hands-on lab experiments, which help elucidate the chemical nature of the world. Either this course, Chemistry E, or Honors Chemistry is required as part of the Science curriculum.



Honors Chemistry 

Grade Level: 10

Credit: 1.0, Full Year

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Physics and Science Department Placement

Chemistry is often referred to as the central science as it provides a foundation and concepts for several other science disciplines. Fundamentally, chemistry is the study of the composition, structure, and properties of matter and the changes it undergoes. The Honors Chemistry course covers the same content as the General Chemistry course with some additional topics, more depth, and an accelerated pace. This course will build off the principles from their previous physics course (for example, energy and forces of attraction.) Standards for the course are developed around the Next Generation Science Standards which ensure students not only learn and receive practice with the disciplinary core ideas but also science and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts. Students will engage in guided inquiry practices often and that will provide students the opportunity to ask scientific questions, make claims, design experiments, and engage in argument from evidence.  Honors Chemistry students enrolled in Algebra 2 or higher level math courses are preferable. This course is recommended for those students who wish to pursue any field of science, medicine, nursing, or engineering.  Either this course, Chemistry E or Chemistry is required as part of the Science curriculum.



AP Chemistry 

Grade Level: 11-12

Credit: 1.0, Full Year

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Physics, Chemistry, and Algebra 2

Advanced Placement Chemistry is a college-level course for students with an interest in chemistry and a strong performance in previous science and math courses. It may be taken by students during their 11th or 12th grade year upon successful completion of chemistry. The course builds upon many of the topics mastered in the first year high school course and provides more depth. The course is designed in accordance with the AP Chemistry Course & Exam Description provided by College Board. Emphasis is placed on chemical calculations, analytical reasoning, modeling, and laboratory skills. The course is designed to prepare students for the AP Chemistry exam in the spring. Depending on the AP exam score, some colleges will transfer in college credits or count it as completion of a prerequisite.



Biology E

Grade Level: 11-12

Credit: 1.0, Full Year

Prerequisite: Physics and Chemistry 

Biology Essentials is the study of living organisms and their phenomena. The curriculum is concurrent with that of Biology, with more of a focus on scientific skills and understanding. Students will gain insight and an understanding of life by examining and exploring the following concepts which are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards for Life Sciences: Ecology, Cellular Biology, Biochemistry, Heredity, and Evolution. Students will be challenged to think critically and communicate effectively, and be encouraged to become responsible citizens and life-long learners of science. In addition, students will use scientific practices in each unit including scientific questioning, experimental design, data analysis, and constructing explanations supported by evidence. 



Biology

Grade Level: 11-12

Credit: 1.0, Full Year

Prerequisite: Physics and Chemistry

Biology is the study of living organisms and their phenomena. Students will gain insight and an understanding of life by examining and exploring the following concepts which are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards for Life Sciences: Ecology, Cellular Biology, Biochemistry, Heredity, and Evolution. Students will be challenged to think critically and communicate effectively, and be encouraged to become responsible citizens and life-long learners of science. In addition, students will use scientific practices in each unit including scientific questioning, experimental design, data analysis, and constructing explanations supported by evidence. Either this course, Biology E, or AP Biology is required as part of the Science curriculum.



AP Biology

Grade Level: 11-12

Credit: 1.0, Full Year

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Physics and Chemistry

Advanced Placement Biology is a college-level course for able and motivated students who have excelled in chemistry. It may be taken as the required biology course or as a 12th grade elective following successful completion of biology. Students will be challenged to think critically while applying biological knowledge to contemporary environmental and societal concerns. The primary emphasis of the course is to help students understand concepts in biology beyond the memorization of terms and technical details. Rather than an accumulation of facts, students should understand science as a process and apply scientific concepts and practices to real-world problems. This course is organized around 4 major concepts which are key to understanding biological systems: evolution, the use of energy, the storage, transmission, and response to information, and complex interactions between systems. The course is designed to prepare students for the AP Biology exam in the spring. Depending on the AP exam score, some colleges will transfer in college credits or count it as completion of a prerequisite.  Either this course or Biology is required as part of the Science curriculum.



Marine Biology

Grade Level: 11-12

Credit: 0.5, Semester

Credit Status: Elective

Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment or successful completion of Biology or AP Biology

The marine environment encompasses 99% of the Earth's biosphere, is responsible for over half of the Earth’s oxygen, controls our major weather patterns, and contains an incredible amount of diversity. This course will examine the biology of these organisms and the abiotic (e.g., salinity, nutrients, water currents and tides) and biotic factors (e.g., competition, predation, symbiosis) that influence their distribution and abundance in the various marine ecosystems around our planet. Organisms of the Oregon coast will be emphasized and by the end of the course students should be able to identify most of the marine vertebrates and invertebrates that live here in Oregon. In addition, all students will learn some fundamentals of fishing, the fishing industry, and how to make sustainable seafood choices. 




Physical Geology

Grade Level: 11-12

Credit: 0.5, Semester

Credit Status: Elective

Prerequisite: Chemistry

In 1980 Mount Saint Helens came to life. After weeks of minor eruptions, the once beautiful symmetrical snow capped mountain in southwest Washington blew apart with a force equal to 500 times the energy released by the first atomic bomb. Geology, the study of the Earth is often viewed as slow moving science. But with Mount Saint Helens as a visible reminder we will examine just how dynamic our planet Earth is. In this Physical Geology course we explain why mountains form, valleys develop and earthquakes occur. The course relates changes to the Earth landscape to the concepts of plate tectonics, the rock cycle, and geologic time. Specifically we will examine these concepts using the geology of Oregon, which lucky for us is diverse and beautiful.



Anatomy and Physiology

Grade Level: 12

Credit: 1.0, Full Year

Credit Status: Elective

Prerequisite: A grade of B or higher in Biology is recommended

Anatomy and Physiology is a year-long science laboratory elective for students interested in studying nursing, medicine, or biology in college. This course may be taken concurrently with an AP Science elective. The human body is a complex system of molecules, tissues, organs and body systems communicating and collaborating. Students will research and learn how the body maintains homeostasis at the anatomical, physiological and histological levels of the major body systems in conjunction with the pathophysiology of major diseases and conditions that disrupt homeostasis through inquiry-based lessons and labs, presentations, and collaborative course work. The course will be arranged by themes: Anatomical Orientation, Protection, Support and Movement, Integration and Regulation, Transportation, Absorption and Excretion, and Reproduction, Growth, and Development. Anatomy and Physiology includes various dissections of animal organs.