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Course Descriptions   

Regents core-based courses are: Regents Earth Science, Regents Living Environment, Regents Chemistry, Regents Physics, Active Physics, AP Physics B 

Regents’ standards-based courses are: General Chemistry, Bio-Ethics, Astronomy, Forensics, AP Physics C, AP Biology, and AP Chemistry.

The Science Department strongly recommends that all students take the four core science courses (Earth Science, Living Environment, Physics, and Chemistry) prior to graduating.





The Living Environment  (9,10)                  Full Year, 1 credit 

The Living Environment is a course that has been designed to comply with the New York State Learning Standards for Math, Science and Technology. Topics covered include biochemistry, plant and animal anatomy and physiology, reproduction and development, evolution, ecology, classification, genetics, cell biology and molecular genetics.  Focus is placed on understanding important relationships, processes, mechanisms and application of concepts.  Scientific inquiry is incorporated to develop explanations of natural phenomena.  There are three laboratory sessions per six-day cycle.  Students who have completed the course qualify for and take the Regents examination, which serves as the final examination.  It should be noted that students must complete 1200 minutes of laboratory experience with satisfactory written reports for each laboratory investigation.  Various lab activities will enable the student to demonstrate the achievement of required laboratory skills.




Regents Earth Science/Physical Setting   (10,11,and 12)    Full Year, 1 credit

The curriculum reflects the New York State Learning Standards for Mathematics, Science and Technology.  Topics covered include mapping skills, rocks and minerals, plate tectonics, erosion, Earth’s geological history, meteorology, climate and astronomy. The course will emphasize a student-centered problem solving approach to stated learning objectives and laboratory assignments using scientific inquiry to develop explanations of natural phenomena. Students must successfully complete 1200 minutes of laboratory experience with satisfactory written reports for each investigation. Each class meets once every day of the six-day cycle and labs meet every other day.




Regents Chemistry/The Physical Setting              Full Year, 1 credit 
Co-requisite: Integrated Geometry

Regents Chemistry is based on course content and laboratory investigations (3 per 6 day cycle) as prescribed by the Regents Chemistry Syllabus.  Lectures and laboratory assignments include the following units of study: atomic structure, electron configuration, the Periodic Law and the Periodic Table, chemical bonding, chemical composition, writing chemical formulas and equations, gas laws, molecular composition of gases, liquids and solids, the solution process, ionization, acids and bases, stoichiometry, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, electrochemistry, organic chemistry and natural radioactivity. 




Active Science              Full Year, 1 credit

Too often, students view science as a system of separate, unrelated abstractions or as a compilation of facts and difficult-sounding terms. However, science is simply the study of nature, and there are certain underlying principles, or themes, that are common to the study of all areas of science. The following themes may be explored throughout the year: energy, systems, structures, changes over time, and cycles.

Student Focus:
Thematic Science is a course designed for students in grades 10-12 to take as a science elective once Regents Living Environment and Regents Earth Science have been completed (pre-requisites).

Classroom Use:
Class discussions will use various themes to provide a framework of understanding for students. For example, whether you are studying photosynthesis or the way in which the forces of nature have shaped the physical appearance of the Earth, the theme of Energy can be discussed.

Furthermore, in biology, one subject can be addressed from the viewpoint of many different themes. In discussing an organism such as a zebra, Energy can be applied in a discussion of how the zebra takes in food from the environment; Changes over Time can be discussed in relation to how the zebra’s structures are adaptations to its environment; and Cycles can be introduced in a discussion of how the zebra’s migration habits are based on the seasons.

This Year:
This year Active Science will focus on Themes in Biology. Exploratory units of study will include Marine Biology, Zoology, Ecology, and Evolution.




Regents Physics (10,11,12)                               Full Year, 1 credit
Co-requisite: Integrated Geometry

The study of acoustics, optics, electricity, magnetism, waves, motion, machine theory, forces and classical and quantum mechanics. The course uses basic algebra and involves experiments, projects and formulas that explain the basic laws of the physical world. The course will reinforce and help students see the real-life application of the Math learned in Math A and A/B. It uses simple algebra designed for students in grades 10,11,or 12. Physics will give students an essential foundation for real understanding in later study of medicine, chemistry and earth science as well as the fields of engineering, architecture, mathematics, electronics and computer science. The course has a laboratory requirement and ends in a Regents exam.


Advanced Placement Biology                          Full Year, 1 credit
Prerequisite: Regents Living Environment, Regents Chemistry, plus teacher APPROVAL

Students enrolled are expected to take the AP Biology exam in May. The major content areas of this course are: biological chemistry, cytology of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, including mitosis and meiosis: energy transfer, including glycolysis, fermentation and aerobic respiration: molecular genetics; heredity and Mendelian genetics; population genetics: evolution; ecology; taxonomy, including a survey of the six kingdoms; structure and physiology of vascular plants; human anatomy, physiology, development and behavior. There are 3 lab sessions per six-day cycle. Students must complete and submit required laboratory reports.


Advanced Placement Chemistry (11,12)                            Full Year, 1 credit
Prerequisite: Regents Chemistry, Co-requisite: Pre-Calculus or higher

It is strongly recommended that students complete Regents Physics, or take it concurrently with AP Chemistry. AP Chemistry is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first year of college. 

Students attain a depth of understanding of fundamentals and a reasonable competence in dealing with chemical problems.  The course will contribute to the development of the students' abilities to think clearly and express themselves orally, and in writing, with clarity and logic.  Course content includes more advanced study of topics in Regents Chemistry.  Students are expected to take the AP Examination in May.  There are 3 labs per six-day cycle. 


AP Physics B/The Physical Setting  (10,11,12)with SAT II and AP test preparation Co-requisite: Integrated Geometry                                          Full Year, 1 credit

AP Physics B is taught at an accelerated level, preparing students for the Regents Physics, AP B and SAT2 Physics subject examinations all in one year of study. It includes the study of relativity, acoustics, optics, electricity, magnetism, waves, motion, machine theory, forces, thermodynamics, hydrostatics, hydrodynamics, aerodynamics, and classical and quantum mechanics. The course uses algebra and trigonometry at a level that assumes prior mastery of Math A and A/B and is designed to be taken while taking Math B or immediately afterward. It involves experiments, projects, and formulas that explain the basic laws of the physical world. The course will reinforce and help students see the real life applications of mathematics as it is used in the real world applications especially to technology. It is designed for advanced Math students in grades 10, 11, or 12. Physics will also give students an essential foundation for real understanding in later advanced study of medicine, chemistry, earth science, engineering, architecture, mathematics, technology, electronics, and computer science. The course has a laboratory requirement (1200 minutes of documented lab time) and ends in a Regents exam.


Advanced Placement Physics C (Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism)(12)    Full Year, 1 credit
Prerequisite: Regents Physics or Regents Physics AP B
Co-requisite: AP Calculus plus teacher approval.

This course prepares students who have previously taken Regents Physics for the AP Physics Mechanics C and Electricity & Magnetism C exams, in which students use calculus more advanced mathematics, and computer simulations, to solve problems involving motion, force, energy, momentum, oscillations, rotation, torque and gravity, AC and DC circuits, capacitors, transformers, Maxwell's equations, Gauss' law and electrostatic and electromagnetic Theory. This type of calculus-based mechanics Physics course is usually taken over 2 semesters by all engineering students and Physics majors in their first year of college and is also recommended for students who are interested in majoring in one of the physical sciences, mathematics, or computers. It is typically worth 6 to 8 college credits since it includes a laboratory component. The course meets 9 times in every 6 day cycle.


(11,12)                                               Cycle, 1/2 credit
Prerequisite:  Regents Living Environment.
Juniors and Seniors only

This course will explore advances in the "new biology" and its ethical implications.  The "gene future" has the potential to impact enormously on medicine, agriculture, industry, law, and the environment.  Students will investigate the promises and perils of DNA fingerprinting, cloning, genetic engineering, and creation of transgenic plants and animals. The following questions will be addressed:

What are the chances of unknowingly doing harm to the biosphere?  What present controversies exist over the dangers of moving molecular biology from the laboratory to hospitals, farms, and families?  How can knowledge about the "new biology" be disseminated to assure informed decisions by citizens on issues that can greatly influence their lives and the lives of all creatures great and small? 




Forensic Science                                                Cycle, 1/2 credit
Prerequisite: Two years of science and two years of Mathematics
Juniors and seniors only.

Forensic Science literally means debating the evidence of a crime. Course content deals with procedures used at a crime scene and in a police science laboratory.  Students apply scientific skills and concepts using investigative techniques and methodologies.  Topics of study include fingerprinting, DNA analysis, and blood analysis, soil analysis, ballistics, particle identification, qualitative and quantitative analysis, crime searches methods and causes of death.  The practical application of scientific study will be explored through field trip experiences and guest speakers (Medical Examiner's Offices, Rockland County Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Crime Scene Search Unit, New York State Bureau of Criminal Investigation).



                                                   Semester, 1/2 credit
Prerequisite: Two Regents Science classes. Seniors only.

This course will explore the universe in which we live. Students will investigate galaxies, constellations, and stars including the sun and the planets that make up our solar system. The United States’ space program will also be investigated from the Mercury missions up to the present day

International Space Station. Scientific inquiry will be stressed, with hands-on activities guiding students through modern day problems such as the materials needed for a modern day space station and how the Hubbell space telescope shows us the Universe. Viewing of the night sky will be planned to correspond with activities performed in class. Assessments will be based on essays, papers, projects and participation on class assignments.    




Science Research Course (10,11,12) Three Year Program consisting of 3 courses, 1 credit each year

This course enables students to practice authentic and original scientific research in an independent manner by creating their own original science project in whatever they choose.  This three year program affords students the opportunity to participate in the community of scientific research and scholarship as part of their high school experience by working outside the school with a mentor scientist in their field of research. Students may do independent research in any one area of interest of their choice: medicine, biology, chemistry, physics, computers, weather, astronomy, geology, engineering, technology, mathematics, psychology or the social sciences. Research students are required to use computers and the internet to search for articles and make PowerPoint presentations, to occasionally visit libraries to obtain scientific literature, to use e-mail to communicate with mentor scientists and the teacher of the course and maintain a portfolio of their research.

Students maintain a portfolio of their research. Assessment is accomplished through biweekly conferences, in-class activities and research projects and presentations. The final assessment consists of participation in the annual TZHS Science symposium. All students are required to enter local, regional and national scientific competitions in their senior year. This program allows students to obtain as many as 12 college credits and one Regents credit. Candidates for the course are accepted through an application and interview process, and enrollment is limited.