Science

Minnesota state graduation standards and district policy both require that students successfully complete three full years of science, including one year of Biology, in order to graduate from South High School.

Biology/Physics
Open to: All 9th grade students
Length: Year-long
All incoming 9th grade students will take a half year of Biology and a half year of Physics.

Biology
Open to: All 10th,11th and 12th grade students
Length: Year-long
This is a yearlong course that investigates life and living systems. It presents an environmental and evolutionary perspective on important issues in biology, including: cell theory, characteristics of multicellular life, the biology of behavior, the flow of energy and matter in living organisms, the diversity of lifeforms on Earth, heredity and genetics, DNA technology, mechanisms of evolution, and Earth‘s biosphere as an integrated ecosystem. Students will carry out a significant, independent investigation each quarter, including a technical research paper, a field study, a controlled experiment, and modeling a complex, ecological problem.

Earth Science and Environmental Issues
Open to: All 10th,11th and 12th grade students
Length: Year-long
The goal of this course is to provide students with a knowledge base in understanding the working processes of the earth‘s internal and external functions, in relation to the living beings residing upon it. This course fulfills State requirements for Earth Science for upper classmen who need to fulfill the Earth Science requirement for graduation.

Physical Science
Open to: All 10th,11th and 12th grade students
Length: Year-long
Physical science is a standards-based course, divided into two semesters in which Physics and Chemistry are the main areas of focus. This course will strive to further our understanding of the composition and behavior of matter, and how matter and energy are related, transferred, and conserved. Practical applications and technology will be used to illustrate Physics and Chemistry concepts in a laboratory based course. This course will also build the foundation of process skills to enhance personal scientific literacy so needed in our democratic society.

AP Biology
Open to: All 10th,11th and 12th grade students
Prerequisite: Chemistry is required, Biology and Physics are recommended
Length: Year-long
This is a rigorous yearlong course that follows the curriculum of an introductory college course. The class materials draw extensively on current materials from scientific journals and research. The course covers selected topics in biochemistry, cell biology, energy, heredity, ecology, molecular genetics, biotechnology, evolutions, systematics and homeostasis. Students will learn through the use of periodicals, text, clas discussion, laboratories, guest speakers, demonstration and independent investigations. The course will prepare students to take the College Board AP Biology Test in May.
 

Physics
Open to: All 10th,11th and 12th grade students
Prerequisite: Algebra 1
Length: Year-long
This is a two semester sequential course. This course surveys all the general topics of physics. Topics include motion, mass, force, energy, electricity, magnetism, light, sound. The course includes lecture/discussion, demonstrations, small group discussions, and small group laboratory experiences. This course is a good preparation for all college bound students, whether or not they plan on a science related major. This course covers the physics content standard.

Honors Physics
Open to: All 10th,11th and 12th grade students
Length: Year-long
This is a two semester sequential course. This course will include lecture/discussion, demonstrations, laboratories, group projects, computer simulations and group problems solving, tests, individual problems solving and individual projects. The approach taken is both conceptual (how does physics related to everyday life) and mathematical (practical problem solving using mathematical equations).

AP Physics
Open to: All 10th,11th and 12th grade students
Length: Year-long
This course is designed to provide a solid, first-year college physics experience, both conceptually, mathematically and in the laboratory. The labs serve as a supplement to the lectures section of the class. Upon completion of this course, students are expected to take the AP Physics B (Algebra 2/Trig based, non-calculus) examination. Problem solving skills, both on paper and in the lab are emphasized to discover more about how physics works. Topics to be covered include mechanics, thermodynamics, waves, electricity and magnetism, optics and modern physics.

Chemistry
Open to: All 10th,11th and 12th grade students
Prerequisite: Algebra 1
Length: Year-long
This is a two semester sequential course that uses ChemCom, a text written by the American Chemical Society. This text approaches chemical topics from an environmental point of view. The course explores matter, measurement, chemical notation, atomic structure, chemical periodicity, chemical bonds, kinetic theory, gases, chemical reactions, mole concept, stoichiometry, acids and bases, solutions, organic chemistry, nuclear chemistry, oxidation-reduction reactions, electrochemistry, and chemical/ environmental issues. Lectures, demonstrations, group problem solving and laboratory investigations are an integral part of this course. Keep in mind that the entrance requirements of many colleges now include one year of high school chemistry.

Honors Chemistry
Open to: All 10th,11th and 12th grade students
Length: Year-long
This is a two semester sequential course. This accelerated course is taught from the 2005 edition of Chemistry (Prentice Hall) and this traditional text will include lecture, demonstrations, laboratories, and group problem solving. This course approaches chemistry from a mathematical, problem solving perspective and it is ideal for students who are considering an engineering or science major in college.

AP Chemistry
Open to: All 10th,11th and 12th grade students
Length: Year-long
This course is designed to provide a solid, first-year college chemistry experience, both conceptually and in the laboratory. The labs serve to supplement learning in the lecture discussion section of the course. Problem solving skills, both on paper and in the lab, are emphasized to discover more about how chemistry works. Topics include reaction stoichiometry, bonding, equilibrium, thermodynamics and electrochemistry. This is a rigorous fast paced course. Students are expected to take the College Board AP Chemistry Test.

AP Environmental Science
Open to: All 11th & 12th grade students
Length: Year-long
The goal of this course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them.