Shalhevet Science Department strives to provide students with learning opportunities that provide both solid foundations of scientific processes as well as foster curiosity and desire to develop as innovators and creators of a better world. Shalhevet Science Department offers a range of courses ranging from in-depth academic explorations in Advanced (SAS) Biology, SAS Chemistry, and Physics, as well as complex interdisciplinary learning opportunities such as Environmental Science and Bioethics. Shalhevet is also one of few independent high schools offering Biochemistry as an upper class high school elective. Additionally, science faculty is constantly busy brainstorming and developing new courses that will allow our students opportunities for engaged learning as well as increasing their competitiveness in college application process.
Science department is committed to effective differentiated instruction and a variety of instructional approaches: from Project Based Learning, to Inquiry Based Learning and traditional lectures and labs. An emphasis is made on Experiential learning and providing students with opportunities to learn in a realistic setting.
9th Grade: Biology
10th Grade: Chemistry
11th or 12th Grade: Advanced Biology (SAS), Advanced Physics (SAS), Physics, Chemistry (SAS), Biochemistry (SAS), Computer Science (SAS), Environmental Science, Bioethics
Biology (9th Grade Requirement)
This class provides Shalhevet students with foundational skillset required in other Science classes, such as Scientific Method, basic research methodology and data analysis, as well as scientific reading and laboratory skills. The bulk of the course content is focused on developing understanding of key biological concepts such as Central Dogma, the cellular basis of life, gene expression, cellular energetics, reproduction and development, molecular and organismal evolution, ecology and diversity, and science as a way of knowing. These topics build upon each other throughout the course. Students demonstrate their mastery of material and skills through project work and presentations, laboratory work, quizzes, tests, and productive and engaged participation.
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 theory and structure, the periodic table, and the underlying principles of bonding and chemical reactions. The second semester of the course expands on these topics and also includes phases of matter, chemistry of water, acid/base chemistry, oxidation reduction reactions, and Nuclear Chemistry. Critical thinking and laboratory investigations are integral components of the curriculum, as well as observations, research, and presentations.
In this course students will be asked to push their boundaries of understanding along two dimensions: modern issues associated with advancements in life sciences, and current advanced scientific concepts. Students will be introduced to different scientific dilemmas and will be asked to develop a set of core arguments that will have to utilize scientific argumentation. Throughout each module, students will learn via combination of classroom discussion, lecture presentation, laboratory activities, field trips, and most importantly classroom debate. Students learning will be assessed based on in-class participation, research papers, and reading quizzes. Some of the proposed discussion topics include: childhood sports participation, genetic testing, ethics of vaccination, compassionate use: investigational treatments, as well as organ donation.
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.
Physics is a lab-science class that explores natural phenomena through examination of Laws of Physics and their applications. 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.
Advanced Biology (SAS)
Advanced Biology (AB) is a course designed for students that have successfully completed the general Biology and Chemistry courses. 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 demonstrate understanding and mastery of the material through quizzes, tests, participation, lab reports, and presentations. Pre-requisite: Minimum of B+ in both semesters of Biology and instructor approval. Exceptions may be made for qualified students.
In this course, students will acquire a detailed understanding of the chemical processes within living systems via scientific inquiry and analysis. Students will develop an understanding of how the concepts of thermodynamics act on a molecular level in order to drive all living functions. Laboratory investigations allow students to ask questions, plan and carry out investigations, analyze and interpret data, form arguments from evidence and discuss scientific concepts. The main content areas of focus are enzymes, nucleic acids, bio signaling, and metabolism. Students will advance their skills in reading, planning, and analysis through lab reports, primary literature examination, and individual research projects. The ultimate goal of this course is to provide students who are passionate about life science with deep immersion into Biochemistry, a foundational science for Molecular Biology, Pharmacology, and Biotechnology.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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).
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.