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Los Altos High School
201 Almond Avenue
Los Altos, CA 94022
Office: (650) 960-8811
Fax: (650) 948-8672
Attendance: (650) 941-2761

MVLA > Los Altos High School > Academics > Science > Course Information
 
COURSE DESCRIPTIONS – SCIENCE

The University of California requires two years and recommends three years of laboratory science providing fundamental knowledge in two of the following subject areas: biology, chemistry and physics. Advanced placement (AP) courses in science are taught as second-year subject courses and are recommended for students who have successfully completed the first-year honors level course.

BIOLOGY 0329

Grades 9-12

Y

Credits – 10

Science

d

Yes

HS Graduation Req.

Univ. of Calif. Req.

Calif. State Univ. Req.

See below

Recommendations

CP

Level

Recommendations: Concurrent enrollment in Geometry

Click here for comparsion to Biology Honors

This course involves the study of life and the inter-relationships that exist among all living organisms and their environment. The teaching of biological concepts involves the completion of laboratory experiments, lecture/discussions, videos, projects, and reading assignments. Biology is a course for students intending to take more advanced science courses who plan to attend a four-year college.

BIOLOGY HONORS XXXX

Grades 9-12

Y

Credits – 10

Science

d

Yes

HS Graduation Req.

Univ. of Calif. Req.

Calif. State Univ. Req.

See below

Recommendations

CP

Level

Recommendations: Concurrent enrollment in Geometry Honors

Click here for comparsion to Biology

Biology is the study of living organisms.  This course is designed to help the student better understand the relationships between organisms and their environment. It will be conducted at an advanced rate compared to general biology and students are expected to work accordingly.  Topics covered in this college preparatory biology course include: the nature of science, the classification and characteristics of living things, biochemistry and energetics, cell structure and function, evolution, Mendelian and molecular genetics, plant and animal systems, and ecology.  An inquiry-based method of learning is used as well as reading, note taking (lectures and book), lab experiments, and group/class discussions.  Student will participate in a science fair and complete a 2nd semester project.

BIOLOGY AP 0332

Grades 10-12

Y

Credits – 10

Science

d

Yes

HS Graduation Req.

Univ. of Calif. Req

Calif. State Univ. Req.

See below

Recommendations

AP

Level

Recommendations: Grades of A- or above in Biology Honors and Chemistry Honors

This second year biology course is designed to be equivalent to a general biology course taken in the first year of college. The three areas of study will be: a) molecules and cells, b) genetics and evolution, and c) organisms and populations. In addition to submitting reports on the intensive labs that accompany each unit, students will be spending considerable time on individual research projects. The intent of this course is to prepare students to take the Advanced Placement Biology examination in May, and it is the expectation of the instructor that all students enrolled will take the exam.

CHEMISTRY 0347

Grades 10-12

Y

Credits – 10

Science

d

Yes

HS Graduation Req.

Univ. of Calif. Req.

Calif. State Univ. Req.

See below

Recommendations

CP

Level

Recommendations: Concurrent enrollment in Algebra II or higher

Chemistry is a course designed to develop student understanding of the basic concepts and techniques of general chemistry. Topics include the atomic structure, stoichiometry, solution chemistry, kinetic molecular theory, and acid-base reactions. This course emphasizes mastering techniques of chemical exploration through regular laboratory exercises and the application of principles in group activities. An adequate level of problem solving skills, reflected by his/her mathematics background, is required for success.

CHEMISTRY HONORS XXXX

Grades 10-12

Y

Credits – 10

Science

d

Yes

HS Graduation Req.

Univ. of Calif. Req.

Calif. State Univ. Req.

See below

Recommendations

CP

Level

Recommendations: Concurrent enrollment in Algebra II Honors or higher

Chemistry Honors is a course designed to develop an in-depth and detailed understanding of the nature of matter. Through lectures, weekly labs, homework, and projects, we focus on strengthening logical reasoning processes, enhancing problem solving strategies, and developing skills in organizing the products of scientific thought and experimentation into coherent reports. The fundamental concepts of chemistry are covered as well as advanced topics in quantitative analysis, nuclear chemistry, organic chemistry, and oxidation-reduction reactions.

CHEMISTRY AP 0350

Grades 10-12

Y

Credits – 10

Science

d

Yes

HS Graduation Req.

Univ. of Calif. Req.

Calif. State Univ. Req.

See below

Recommendations

AP

Level

Recommendations: Concurrent enrollment in Trigonometry/Math Analysis; grades of A- or above in Biology Honors and Chemistry Honors

This is a second year chemistry course designed to be the equivalent of a general chemistry course in the first year of college. Topics include: atomic theory and structure, periodic relationships, nuclear chemistry, thermodynamics, states of matter, reactions types, equilibrium, kinetics, laboratory measurements, and descriptive chemistry. The intent of this course is to prepare students to take the Advanced Placement Chemistry examination in May, and it is the expectation of the instructor that all students enrolled will take the exam.

EARTH SCIENCE 0309

Grades 9-10

Y

Credits – 10

Science

g

Yes

HS Graduation Req.

Univ. of Calif. Req.

Calif. State Univ. Req.

See below

Recommendations

CP

Level

Recommendations:

Concurrent enrollment in Algebra I

This course is an introductory study of the earth, its history, energy, processes, and matter. Topics include the study of geological features and occurrences, meteorology, oceanography, and solar system-astronomy. This course is an activity- oriented introduction to a laboratory science. The students will develop skills such as lab analysis, writing, and note taking.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AP XXXX

Grades 11-12

Y

Credits – 10

Science

d

Yes

HS Graduation Req.

Univ. of Calif. Req.

Calif. State Univ. Req.

See below

Recommendations

AP

Level

Recommendations: Grades of A- or above in Biology and Chemistry

Environmental Science AP is designed to be the equivalent of an introductory college course in environmental science The goal of the Environmental Science AP course is to provide students with 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 or preventing them. The Environmental Science AP course is an excellent option for any interested student who has completed two years of laboratory science in Biology and Chemistry.

The course includes laboratory and field investigations. The goal of this component is to complement the classroom portion of the course by allowing students to learn about the environment through firsthand observation. Experiences both in the laboratory and in the field provide students with important opportunities to test concepts and principles that are introduced in the classroom, explore specific problems with a depth not easily achieved otherwise and gain an awareness of the importance confounding variables that exist in the “real world”.

FORENSICS 0377

Grades 11-12

Y

Credits – 10

Science

g

Yes

HS Graduation Req.

Univ. of Calif. Req.

Calif. State Univ. Req.

See below

Prerequisites

CP

Level

Recommendations: Biology with a C or better, Chemistry or Physics with a C or better, Algebra II with a C or better

Forensic science (criminalistics) is an introduction to the analysis of crime scenes by collecting and analyzing physical evidence. This course is designed to integrate the core scientific disciplines while giving students both theory and hands-on experience with the skills and knowledge required of a forensic crime scene investigator. This multidisciplinary course will cover topics in biology, chemistry, physics, technology, earth science, math, social studies and language arts. Sample evidence for analysis will include fingerprints, DNA, handwriting, trajectories, hair, fiber, toxicology, blood spatter patterns, ballistics, chromatography, forgery and tool marks. Students will be asked to use process skills including comparative analysis, critical thinking, deductive reasoning, interviewing, observation, organization, problem solving, research, communication, evidence collection and technical reading. Students should be aware of the sensitive/serious nature of the material presented and be ready to respond in a mature manner.

INTEGRATED SCIENCE I 0301

Grades 9-12

Y

Credits – 10

Science

No

No

HS Graduation Req.

Univ. of Calif. Req.

Calif. State Univ. Req.

None

Recommendations

NCP

Level

This course introduces students to the basic skills used in science, the various science disciplines, and develops in students a fundamental understanding of science in the “real world” while improving study skills. This course utilizes various instructional approaches including projects, group work, and individual assignments. This instructional approach enables the student to experience what is being learned. The theme of this introductory course revolves around life sciences: characteristics of living things, variety of life, cell structure and function, ecology, evolution, heredity, and the human body.

INTEGRATED SCIENCE II 0302

Grades 10-12

Y

Credits – 10

Science

No

No

HS Graduation Req.

Univ. of Calif. Req.

Calif. State Univ. Req.

See below

Recommendations

NCP

Level

The focus of this course is on the physical sciences. The teaching approach to this class is one of a “hands-on”, interactive, laboratory based methodology. The student will also be responsible for both individual and group/cooperative learning. The topics covered will fall under the four major categories of the physical sciences: chemistry, earth science and physics. Students will be assessed based on their homework, tests, and lab reports, as well as group and individual projects.

PHYSICS 0365

Grades 11-12

Y

Credits – 10

Science

d

Yes

HS Graduation Req.

Univ. of Calif. Req.

Calif. State Univ. Req.

See below

Recommendations

CP

Level

Recommendations: Concurrent enrollment in Trig/Math Analysis or higher

The focus of this course is to introduce students to the fundamentals of classical physics.  Topics to be studied in this course include kinematics, Newton’s laws or motion, circular motion, energy, impulse & momentum, thermodynamics, wave phenomenon, electrostatics, dc circuits, magnetism and electromagnetic induction. Students will use algebra, right triangle trigonometry and concepts in physics to build mathematical models designed to make predictions of naturally occurring phenomenon. Laboratory activities will be performed to verify theoretical predictions. Instructional approaches include lectures, demonstrations, laboratories, class discussions, student worksheets, homework sets, quizzes, tests, student projects and possibly guest speakers or field trips.

PHYSICS HONORS 0366

Grades 11-12

Y

Credits – 10

Science

d

Yes

HS Graduation Req.

Univ. of Calif. Req.

Calif. State Univ. Req.

See below

Recommendations

H

Level

Recommendations: Concurrent enrollment in Trig./Math Analysis or higher; A- or better in Chemistry Honors

This is an introductory course in which students learn the fundamental laws of physics and how they govern our lives. Students complete various experiments and activities, including computer-based labs, problem sets and semester projects. Students gain both a mathematical and conceptual understanding of the basic laws of physics. Topics include: mechanics waves, sound light, electricity, and magnetism. Physics Honors differs from Physics in that certain topics will be covered in greater depth. Students are expected to have a stronger mathematical background.

PHYSICS C AP 0369

Grade 12

Y

Credits – 10

Science

d

Yes

HS Graduation Req.

Univ. of Calif. Req.

Calif. State Univ. Req.

See below

Recommendations

AP

Level

Recommendations: Concurrent enrollment in Calculus and completion of Physics or Physics Honors

This is a second year, calculus based physics course designed to be the equivalent of a general physics course taken in the first semester of college by physical science or engineering majors. This course is designed to prepare students to pass the College Board’s AP Physics C - Mechanics exam in May.  It is expected that all students who enroll in AP Physics will take the AP exam. Topics include: kinematics, Newton’s laws of motion, Work & Energy, Impulse & Momentum, Rotational Dynamics, Gravitation and Oscillations, Laboratory activities will be performed to verify theoretical predictions. Instructional approaches include lectures, demonstrations, laboratories, class discussions, student worksheets, homework sets, quizzes, tests.