SSL Certificate

Science

The objectives of the Science Department are to help students develop a life-long interest in science and to become scientifically literate citizens, capable of analyzing real world problems and proposing solutions.

Through a variety of learning experiences, students are encouraged to:

  • engage in scientific inquiry to observe scientific principles that are established through careful observation:
  • weigh facts and arrive at valid conclusions; and
  • recognize that science does not consist merely of facts, it is an exciting, dynamic process!

Our middle school students take a 3-year sequence of physical, life, and earth sciences. High school students are required to take 3 years of laboratory science. A fourth year of science is encouraged by offering a variety of electives, including 3 Advanced Placement courses.

In addition to the required sciences, a 3-year Science Research program is offered to students entering their sophomore year. This program allows students, with the help of a mentor, to conduct authentic scientific research on a topic of their choosing.

Physical Science

The 6th grade physical science program focuses on fundamental chemistry and physics concepts. Students begin the year studying the different states of matter, then continue on to study atomic structure and chemical reactions. Students will learn the scientific method through engaging labs, research projects and independent research. Observational skills and technologically-related components will become second nature to the physical science students.

Have you ever wondered why astronauts "float" in space? Or what is air made of? And why do oil and water never mix? If you are always asking tricky questions like these, this is the course for you! Come join us on our quest for knowledge!

Available to grade 6; Full Year

Life Science

The seventh grade science course teaches students to understand and appreciate the world in which we live. This course focuses on the study of living organisms, their building blocks, behavior patterns, needs, and the changing environment around them. Students will also have a chance to study the basic unit of life: the cell. Skills learned in this course include the use of the scientific method, organization and analysis of data and variables in experimentation.

This course also includes a health component, an extremely important piece for developing teenagers. Topics include nutrition, body image, diseases and reproduction. The classroom provides a safe place to explore questions about physical, mental, and social wellness. Students are encouraged to discuss important issues affecting their health. The goal is to increase awareness and empower students to make educated decisions. Basic concepts of human biology are important features of the course addressed via class discussions and debates.

Available to grade 7; Full Year

Earth Science

An investigation of Earth Science touches upon phenomena that we observe almost every day of our lives. It incorporates various aspects of biology, physics, and chemistry and their applications. In this course, students will be introduced to topics in Earth's history, structure, systems, natural disasters, weather, and climate. They will discuss the impact that these natural events have on their lives while exploring the effects that humans have on the Earth. Students will learn about these phenomena through an integration of hands-on activities, labs, projects, lectures, and computer work.

Available to grade 8; Full Year

Earth Science Honors

Have you ever wondered why the seasons change? Or what causes natural disasters like tsunamis and hurricanes? Earth Science Honors is a high school level laboratory course offering an investigation of earth science that touches upon phenomena we observe almost every day. The class investigates a wide array of topics that include geology, astronomy, and meteorology. Human impact on the Earth and sustainability is a focus throughout the year. Students will learn about these phenomena through an integration of hands-on activities, labs, projects, lectures, and computer work.

Available to grade 8; Full Year

Biology

What are the characteristics of living things? What are living things made of? How do they interact with each other and the environment? How does inheritance work? These are some of the questions that will be answered by students in the biology course. Topics of study include Ecology, the Cell, Classification of Organisms, Kingdoms of Living Things, Evolution, and Genetics. Through individual and group project work, students are encouraged to investigate topics such as decomposition, where food comes from, and how the human body works. Special emphasis is given to hands-on laboratory investigations.

Available to grade 9; Full Year

Biology Honors

This course provides general understanding of the fundamental principles of biology and to provide extended understanding in selected areas. The course consists of a basic core of seven units: the study of life, maintenance in animals, maintenance in plants, reproduction and development, transmission of traits from one generation to another, evolution and diversity, plants and animals in their environment. Individual and group work are emphasized in class assignments and laboratory investigations. In addition are selected areas of biochemistry, modern genetics, modern evolutionary theories and ecology. Interactive technology and audio-visual material reinforce concepts and processes.

Available to grade 9 students in the Honors Program: Full year 

Chemistry 10

This course will deal with the fundamental concepts of modern chemistry with an emphasis towards the practical and environmental aspects of chemistry. Topics included will be the structure and reactions of matter along with general descriptive chemistry, and selected areas in consumer chemistry. Lab work and numerous hands on activities reinforce concepts as well as enliven this chemistry course.

Available to grade 10; Full Year

Chemistry

This course deals with the fundamental concepts of modern chemistry with particular emphasis on the descriptive as well as the mathematical application to modern chemical theory. Lab and classwork will include the structure of matter and reactions, acid-base chemistry,  chemical kinetics, energy, understanding the Periodic Table and nuclear chemistry. Environmental issues will also be investigated and discussed.

Available to grade 10; Full Year

Chemistry Honors

Why does ice float? Why don't oil and water mix? What causes the color of fireworks? Why do balloons get smaller when brought out into the cold? You can find out all this and much more in Honors Chemistry.

This interesting and exciting class will introduce the student to the essential concepts of modern chemistry and their application to our day to day world. Topics such as matter & energy, acids & bases, chemical kinetics, nucear chemistry, and chemical reactions are among those covered with a particular emphasis on the mathematical applications. Lab work throughout the year enhances the lectures and brings theory alive.

Available to grade 10; Full Year

Physics 11

This course utilizes basic mathematics with a conceptual emphasis on the study of the physical phenomena with a goal of attaining an understanding of the physical world while developing critical thinking and problem solving skills and having fun! This is accomplished through a combination of labs, lectures, computer work, and various hands-on-activities as the following topics are studied: Kinematics, Dynamics, Work and Energy, Circuits and Alternative Energy. The class concludes with an authentic project-based learning experience. Their final work will be published in a class-created multimedia website to present the research findings.

Available to grade 11; Full Year

Physics

Mathematics meets nature. Physics is the study of the way matter and energy interact. Topics covered in this class include Kinematics, Dynamics, Periodic Motion, Work and Energy and Electrical Circuits. A combination of lectures, labs, computer work and various hands-on activities focus on the application of these topics to the everyday world. Discover new things and learn to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills to understand the physical world around you while having fun.

Available to grade 11; Full Year

Physics Honors

Honors Physics is the course where mathematics and scientific concepts come together. Your analytical thinking skills will blossom as you study gravity, mechanics, electricity, magnetism, waves, heat, light, and sound. Class and laboratory work combine to give you a deeper understanding of the topics covered and a better understanding of the workings of the world around you. The course requires a combination of hard work and an open mind. If you are interested in developing an intellectual mindset that will grow with you, this is the perfect class for you. If you work hard, force yourself to stay focused, and use your energy wisely, the power of physics will be yours. "Be prepared to be impressed."

Available to grade 11; Full Year

Advanced Placement Physics

The AP Physics 1 course is an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course. In this course, students cultivate their understanding of physics through inquiry-based investigations as they explore these topics: kinematics; dynamics; circular motion and gravitation; energy; momentum; simple harmonic motion; torque and rotational motion; electric charge and electric force; DC circuits; and mechanical waves and sound. This course allows students to make connections across domains through a broader way of thinking about the physical world. In addition, it enables students to engage in science practices that establishes lines of evidences and use them to develop and refine testable explanation and predictions of natural phenomena.

Students are required to take the AP examination at the completion of the course.

Available to grades 11-12; Full year

Advanced Placement Environmental Science

The goal of AP Environmental Science is to provide students with the scientific principles and concepts 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. Environmental Science is interdisciplinary; it embraces a wide variety of topics from different areas of study (e.g. biology, chemistry, earth science, geography, government, economics). This course has a significant laboratory and field investigation component. The goal of this component is to complement the classroom portion of the course by allowing students to learn about the environment through firsthand observations. Students are required to take the AP examination at the completion of the course.

Available to grades 11 - 12; Full Year

Advanced Placement Biology

AP Biology is an introductory college-level biology course. The aim of the course is to further deepen and develop an understanding of the basic concepts of biology. These include characteristics, unity and diversity of living things; the concepts of evolution as an explanation of unity and diversity; homeostatic mechanisms of feedback control in cellular, organismal, and ecological systems; the nature of science as an ongoing human enterprise. The student should be familiar with evidence which supports the major concepts in biology including experimental design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data and the application of concepts involving humans and society. Students are required to take the AP examination at the completion of the course.

Available to grades 11-12; Full Year

Engineering Design Innovation

This is an exciting hands-on Introduction to Engineering course, which is centered on authentic projects that require students to envision a project, design it and make it come to life. Through these projects, real world skills, such as working in teams, using microcontrollers, fabrication tools and equipment, material and labor cost estimating, listing and purchasing raw materials, and process documentations are developed. Projects will incorporate various elements of mechanical, civil and electrical engineering.

Available to grade 12; Full Year

Human Nutrition

How can we make healthy food choices when we live in a society that is filled with so much fast and processed food? How can we sort fact from fiction in a culture that often presents conflicting messages about nutrition? In a discussion format combined with lecture and student presentations, students will gain an in-depth understanding of the foods and nutrients that make up a healthy diet.

Topics include the physical, psychological, and environmental factors that drive our food choices, the science of taste, organic foods, the truth about carbohydrates, making healthy fast food choices, vegetarian diets, dietary supplements, body image, and maintaining a healthy body weight. Special emphasis will be placed on investigating the relationship between diet and disease prevention.

Throughout the course, students will prepare simple healthy recipes and will work towards achieving personal healthy eating goals. As a culminating project, students will use their knowledge to develop a school-wide nutrition campaign or classroom lesson to educate their peers.

Available to grades 11-12; Full Year

Anatomy and Physiology

Ever wonder about goose bumps? Pondered why we fall in love? Imagine performing a heart bypass surgery? Anatomy & Physiology will provide you with the opportunity to explore these topics and other fantastic workings of our bodies. During the year, students will explore the human systems, participate in dissections, research cancer, investigate epidemiology, and evaluate current medical literature. While great for prospective science majors, this course will engage and challenge all students interested in the human machine.

Available to grades 11-12; Full Year

Marine Science

"Dive in" to the world of water. This course provides an interactive look at marine science, exploring both the physical and biological components of the world's oceans. We start off with a general overview, and then move on to learn about specific ecosystems like beaches, coral reefs, polar seas, and our very own Long Island Sound. Through videos, projects, and lab activities, learn all you ever wanted to know about life underwater. The course culminates with a trip to the aquarium.

Available to grades 11-12; Full Year

Science Research 10-11

The Science Research course is designed for students looking for an opportunity to learn about and participate in scientific research. The student’s interest can be in engineering, physics, biology, medicine, health, chemistry or behavioral science/psychology. This course is intended to be an elective science course to be taken along with, not in place of, the regular science curriculum. The class will meet every day as a group and time will be scheduled for individual conferences with the instructor. Students will be taught how to do electronic searches of literature, collect, organize, analyze data, give classroom presentations of research, and eventually under a scientist mentor, do original research. This original research must be presented in a formal research paper, meeting the format requirements of national science competitions.

Students will be required to participate in local science competitions and, by senior year, will be required to enter state, national and international science competitions. At the completion of the course each student will have a research portfolio documenting three years of work. This course is designed to provide a unique research opportunity to the student and requires a time commitment above and beyond the ordinary school schedule.

Available to grades 10-11; Full Year

Science Research 12

The Science Research course is designed for students looking for an opportunity to learn about and participate in scientific research. The student’s interest can be in engineering, physics, biology, medicine, health, chemistry or behavioral science/psychology. This course is intended to be an elective science course to be taken along with, not in place of, the regular science curriculum. The class will meet every day as a group and time will be scheduled for individual conferences with the instructor. Students will enter this course having completed original data collection over the summer and will be prepared to start writing their research paper and apply to science competitions in the fall. This original research must be presented in a formal research paper, meeting the format requirements of national science competitions. At the completion of the course, each student will have a research virtual portfolio documenting three years of work. This course is designed to provide a unique research opportunity to the student and requires a time commitment above and beyond the ordinary school schedule.

Available to grade 12; Full Year

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THE URSULINE SCHOOL   |   1354 NORTH AVENUE   |   NEW ROCHELLE, NY 10804-2192 © 2013
A Catholic, college preparatory school for girls, grades 6 through 12
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