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Science

The focus of science education must not merely focus on the development of future scientists and engineers.  It must be equally concerned with the development of citizens who are scientifically literate and who understand science in multidimensional and multidisciplinary ways.  By doing so, students will be able to participate intelligently in critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making about how science is used for future growth and development of society.

The Pacifica Science Department endeavors to provide students with hands-on opportunities to develop an inquiring mind and a systematic approach to problem solving.  To this end, the department seeks to guide students toward mastering scientific concepts, problem solving, and decision-making skills that will provide a solid technical foundation in order to encourage and inspire their continued pursuit of science studies beyond high school.  The department further endeavors to enable students to become informed citizens in matters concerning science and society.


Science Courses

Graduation requirement: 3 years

Biology

(Year Course)
UC Approved

This course provides students with a systematic study of living things from the molecular level through cells, systems, and populations.  Biological laboratory techniques, experimental design and data analysis are stressed.  Major topics include animal behavior, the chemistry of living things, cell structure and function, cell transport and reproduction, DNA replication, synthesis of proteins, animal structure and function, selected human systems, and the biology of diseases, including AIDS and cancers.  Critical thinking, problem-solving, and human impact on the natural world are emphasized throughout the course.

Honors Biology

(Year Course)
UC Approved

Prerequisite: Algebra 1 with a B or higher, cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher

This course provides students with a systematic study of living things from the molecular level through cells, systems, and populations.  Biological laboratory techniques, experimental design and data analysis are stressed.  Major topics include animal behavior, the chemistry of living things, cell structure and function, cell transport and reproduction, DNA replication, synthesis of proteins, animal structure and function, selected human systems, and the biology of diseases, including AIDS and cancers.  Critical thinking, problem solving, and human impact on the natural world are emphasized throughout the course. This honors level class moves at an accelerated pace, requires more advanced problem solving than non-honors sections, and exposes students to more complex concepts.

Chemistry

(Year Course)
UC Approved

Prerequisite: Completion of Biology

This course concerns the structure and properties of matter.  The course design emphasizes problem solving, analysis, and application.  Topics include the atomic theory, the mole concept, nomenclature, properties of solids, liquids, and gases, chemical bonding and reactions, acid-base chemistry, and chemical equilibrium. Laboratories and activities are an essential part of the course.

Honors Chemistry

(Year Course)
UC Approved

Prerequisite: Completion of Biology with an A or Honors Biology with a B or better and concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2, and instructor approval.

This course concerns the structure and properties of matter.  The course design emphasizes measurement, problem solving, analysis, and application.  Topics include the atomic theory, the mole concept, nomenclature of compounds and acids, properties of solids, liquids, and gases, chemical bonding, chemical reactions, acid-base chemistry, and chemical equilibrium.  Laboratories and activities are an essential part of the course. This honors level class moves at an accelerated pace, requires more advanced problem solving than non-honors sections, and exposes students to more complex chemical concepts.

AP Chemistry

(Year Course)
UC Approved

Prerequisite: Completion of Biology and Chemistry with an A or Honors Biology and Honors Chemistry with a B or better.

The AP Chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course offered during the first year of most colleges. Students will obtain a depth of understanding in fundamental chemistry ideas. Students will learn to logically think through various chemistry problems and express their ideas orally and in writing.  In addition to a large amount of reading and writing assignments, this course also involves in-depth laboratory experiments that will require students to meet at times outside the normal school hours.

AP Biology

(Year Course)
UC Approved

Prerequisite: Completion of Biology and Chemistry with an A, or Honors Biology and Honors Chemistry with a B or better and a math and science teacher’s recommendations. Students must pass a math placement test in order to enroll.

This class is a college-level course which expands on the principles introduced in Biology.  It also helps students prepare for the national Advanced Placement Biology Examination. This course includes rigorous laboratory experiment that involve statistical analysis (chi-square, standard deviation, etc.) as well as intensive reading and writing assignments.  This course will require meetings outside of the normal class time arranged by the teacher.

Physics

(Year Course)
UC Approved

Prerequisite: Completion of Chemistry and completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2

This class is an overview of the major topics in classical Physics. Topics include motion, forces and Newton’s Laws, work and energy, gravity and planetary motion, fluids, heat and thermodynamics, light and optics, and electricity and magnetism.  The course stresses conceptual understanding, mathematical problem solving, and critical thinking.  Students participate in laboratories and projects to reveal underlying laws and quantitative relationships.

AP Physics 1: Algebra-based

(Year Course)
UC Approved

Prerequisite: Completion of Algebra 2 and Honors Chemistry with a B or better, or Chemistry with an A, and concurrent enrollment or completion of Pre-calculus, AP Calculus, or AP Statistics and instructor approval.

This course is the equivalent to a first-semester college course in algebra-based introductory physics. The course covers Newtonian mechanics (including rotational dynamics and angular momentum); work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sound; electrostatics and DC electric circuits. This course is designed to prepare students for the AP Physics 1 Examination published by the College Board.  Students should have a strong foundation in algebra and

Geometry with some experience in trigonometry.  Emphasis will be given to conceptual understanding and inquiry as well as mathematical problem solving.   Students will engage the material through reading, problem sets, guided and inquiry-based laboratory experiments, and class discussion.  This course will require extensive summer work prior to the beginning of the fall semester, meeting outside of normal class time as well as extensive individual study.

ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

(Year Course)
UC Approved

Prerequisite: Completion of Biology and Chemistry

This is an introductory course to the anatomy and physiology of the human body in which students will learn the major systems of the body and how they interact to maintain dynamic homeostasis; how exercise, nutrition, and life choices impact physiology and long-term health; and how diseases and genetic disorders result from disruptions in the delicate balance of molecules and processes that make the body work. This course will require at least 3 to 4 hours of independent study per week. Students will heavily rely on the textbook and study guide, as well as on lectures, videos and animations, and web-based instructional resources. In addition to lectures, weekly homework and quizzes, and unit exams, students will be assessed via projects and investigations on a regular basis.

Science Department

pacifica-faculty-david-sumida

Dr. David Sumida
Science & Engineering Department Chair

B.S. Physics, Wheaton College
M.S. Physics, USC
Ph.D. Physics, USC

T: 310.828.7015 ext. 122

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