Shalhevet’s Science Department provides students with a solid background in the basic sciences with a primary goal of developing students’ scientific fluency and literacy. Courses provide the intellectual foundations that empower students to critically review and analyze scientific information from texts, research, and literature, and evaluate the sources. Another primary goal is to build a foundation to prepare students for continued success at the collegiate level. The Science Department provides diverse instruction, implementing modules of laboratory inquiry-based investigations, group learning, and moral discussions in addition to standard didactic instruction. With modest laboratory facilities and resources, we focus on qualitative versus quantitative aspects of scientific inquiry. Subject content is largely dictated by National and State Educational Standards, while framed in the context of current research and social, moral, as well as religious issues.
9th Grade: Biology
10th Grade: Chemistry
11th or 12th Grade: Advanced Biology (SAS), Advanced Physics (SAS), Physics, AP Chemistry, Computer Science (SAS), Environmental Science, Computer Science (SAS).
Biology (9th Grade Requirement)
Provide the basic understanding of Biological concepts by focusing on the central themes of biology: the cellular basis of life, information and heredity, matter and energy, reproduction and growth, homeostasis, evolution, structure and function, the unity and diversity of life, interdependence in nature, and science as a way of knowing. These topics build upon each other throughout the course.In general, students complete a generous amount of reading at home, as the most important concepts are discussed through lectures and further unpacked through class discussions, inquiry-based laboratory activities, and discussions on relevant articles. Students demonstrate understanding and mastery of the material through quizzes, tests, participation, lab reports, and oral as well as written reports.
Chemistry (10th Grade Requirement)
This course builds a strong understanding of the fundamental concepts, applications, and laboratory techniques in chemistry. Successful completion of the course will effectively prepare students for advanced coursework in science. The first semester of the course surveys the basic concepts of chemistry, including: properties and changes of matter, atomic structure, the periodic table, formation and types of compounds, and the underlying principles of bonding and chemical reactions. The second semester of the course expands on these topics and also includes atomic theory, periodic properties of the elements, kinetic theory, behavior of gases, moles and stoichiometry, acid/base chemistry, oxidationreduction reactions, and electrochemistry. Critical thinking and laboratory investigations are integral components of the curriculum
Advanced Biology (SAS)
Advanced Biology (AB) is a course designed for students that have successfully completed the general Biology and Chemistry courses. Specifically, AB seeks to enroll highly motivated students that are truly fascinated by biology and are interested in pursuing a Science major in college. This is particularly important since this is a rigorous course that will demand significant effort and dedication from the students. AB will loosely follow the major focal themes of the Advanced Placement Biology curriculum, focusing heavily on concepts related to evolution, molecular and cell biology, and with a strong emphasis on biotechnology techniques and applications. The AB curriculum should deepen the understanding of basic concepts already covered in general Biology, and further expand on them through readings and discussions of related primary literature. Indeed, a major goal for the class is to increase scientific literacy, which will be accomplished by students learning to read scientific primary literature, writing laboratory reports, and delivering oral presentations to the class. The course also covers neurobiology, and students will be reading scientific research articles that apply biotechnology techniques to understand how an aspect of the brain works. Other topics that will be discussed include: gene therapy, genetic engineering and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), cancer, the use of stem cells in disease, and biotechnology techniques such as gel electrophoresis and bacterial transformation. Students will be expected to complete a generous amount of reading at home, as the most important concepts will be discussed through lectures and further unpacked through class discussions, inquiry-based laboratory activities, and round-table discussions on relevant articles. Students will demonstrate understanding and mastery of the material through quizzes, tests, participation, lab reports, and both oral and written reports. Pre-requisite: Minimum of B+ in both semesters of Biology and instructor approval. Exceptions may be made for qualified students. Priority given to rising 12th graders.
Advanced Physics (SAS)
This course is designed for students with a strong foundation in mathematics and the physical sciences. Specifically, SAS Physics seeks to enroll highly motivated students that are truly fascinated by physical aspect of phenomena in the world around them, and are interested in pursuing a science or engineering major in college. This is particularly important since this is a rigorous course that will demand significant effort and dedication from the students. The format will include lecture, discussion, problem-solving, and laboratory work. Quantitative skills learned in second year algebra/trigonometry and chemistry will be employed in the problem solving concepts covered. An emphasis is placed on a mathematical understanding of the physics principles that are presented. There are projects which demonstrate students’ mastery of course materials. Class activities in this course are focusing on the natural laws that govern physical phenomenon throughout the universe. General areas of study will include concepts of Newtonian mechanics, motion, energy, astronomy, light, magnetism, and electricity. Student evaluation will be based on homework, periodic quizzes, tests at the end of each chapter, and a comprehensive final exam. Pre-requisite: Two years of science, and concurrent enrollment in Precalculus.
Physics is a lab-science class that explores the motion of objects and the causes of motion. Students learn scientific reasoning and problem solving skills by applying mathematical models to the behavior of matter and energy. Topics include Newton’s Laws, conservation of energy and momentum, the physics of fluids, vibration and sound, modern Physics, and the structure of matter. Pre-requisite: Two years of science, and concurrent enrollment in Precalculus.
This course provides students with a foundation to support future advanced course work in chemistry - the study of matter and change. Through inquiry-based learning and rigorous problem solving, students develop critical thinking and reasoning skills. Students cultivate their understanding of chemistry and science practices as they explore topics such as atomic structure, intermolecular forces and bonding, chemical reactions, kinetics, thermodynamics, and equilibrium. AP Chemistry's prerequisites are math proficiency through at least Algebra II and completion of General Chemistry. This course is available to students in the 11th or 12th grades. Pre-requisite: Minimum of B+ in both semesters of Chemistry and instructor approval. Exceptions may be made for qualified students.
Computer Science (SAS)
Computer Science SAS is conducted in a seminar style which emphasizes object-oriented programming methodology with focus on problem solving and algorithm development and is meant to be the equivalent of a first-semester course in computer science. It also includes the study of data structures and abstraction. The seminar orientation is supported by in-class and threaded Schoology online discussions. This is a course in learning how to learn and acquire computer language and problem solving skills. The overall goal for designing a piece of software (a computer program) is to correctly solve the given problem while specifying and designing a program that is understandable, and can be adapted to changing circumstances. The design process needs to be based on a thorough understanding of the problem to be solved. Part of the problem-solving process is the statement of solutions in a precise form that invites review and analysis. The implementation of solutions in the Java programming language reinforces concepts, allows potential solutions to be tested, and encourages discussion of solutions and alternatives. It also includes the analysis of programs or algorithms in order to understand their time and space requirements when applied to different data sets. Data structures are used to represent information within a program. Abstraction is an important theme in the development and application of data structures. Standard algorithms serve as examples of good solutions to standard problems. An awareness of the ethical and social implications of computing systems is necessary for the study of computer science. These topics and others will be covered in detail throughout the course. This class will be held after school on Friday and will involve significant independent work outside of the scheduled class sessions. Laptop required (iPads and Chromebooks are insufficient).
Environmental Science introduces students to fundamental topics in earth and environmental science, and emphasizes their connection to everyday life. The goal is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Additional topics include: earth's history and geology, global climates, biodiversity and ecosystem services, human history, modern environmental impacts, global climate change, and alternative energy. Students complete labs that prompt them to explore their local Los Angeles environment or dig into favorite topics in greater depth. Lab work helps students build scientific research and communication skills through mapping, graphing, analyzing data, researching the scientific literature, and presenting findings in class.
CIJE-Tech High School Engineering Program
CIJE-Tech is an exciting two-year program that allows students to explore the world of engineering by giving them hands-on experience with electronics, robotics and 3-D design and printing. The students gain invaluable experience in both engineering technology and teamwork through completing student-directed projects in a faculty-guided environment.