Tappan Zee High School

Science

The Science Department at Tappan Zee High School follows the recommendations set forth by the New York State Education Department as well as guidelines proposed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Science Teachers Association. The core of the Science Program is comprised of Regents courses in The Living Environment, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Science. Other science courses are offered in an attempt to meet the needs and interests of all students. Advanced Placement courses are available to juniors and seniors who have demonstrated a special interest and aptitude in the sciences. Students who successfully complete Advanced Placement courses may receive, in addition to high school credit, one or more college credits at most of the major colleges and universities across the country. Courses marked as college level give students the option to enroll for credit, for a fee, through a SUNY school while taking the class at TZHS.

To meet graduation requirements, the student must complete the following:

  1. Complete three years (3 credits) of high school level science courses. One of those 3 credits must be in either Living Environment or Honors Living Environment.
  2. Complete a minimum of one Regents science course and meet the lab requirement of 1200 minutes of documented lab time.
  3. Take and pass at least one Regent’s science examination. If, however, a student takes and passes two or more Regents science exams, he/she may be eligible for an Advanced Regents diploma.

Regents core-based courses are: Regents Earth Science, Regents Living Environment, Honors Living Environment, Regents Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, Regents Physics, AP Physics 1. Standards-based courses are: Bio-Ethics, Astronomy, Forensics, Environmental, Oceanography, General Science, Active Physics, AP Physics C, AP Biology, AP Environmental and AP Chemistry.

The Science Department strongly recommends that all students take the four Regents science courses (Earth Science, Living Environment, Physics, and Chemistry) prior to graduating. Additionally, students taking the AP courses should have a strong work ethic, interest in the subject, and willingness to put in a lot of time into the subject. Labs in our Regents and A.P. courses involve a double period every other day and provide hands-on experience with laboratory techniques and experiments.

Non-Regents science courses count towards graduation but receive no extra weighting in calculating grade point averages. Regents level courses are weighted by a factor of 1.03, Honors courses by a factor of 1.05, and Advanced Placement and college level courses are weighted at 1.10.

Regents Living Environment (9) Regents level with lab
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. All students must complete 1200 minutes of documented lab time to be eligible to take the Regents exam.

Living Environment Honors (9) Honors level with lab
Full Year, 1 credit
Prerequisites: Algebra Honors, Regents Earth Science
This rigorous  and fast-paced course is designed for the advanced biology student. In addition to the materials covered in Living Environment, this course explores in great detail cellular respiration, photosynthesis, cellular reproduction, genetics, biodiversity including a survey of the six kingdoms, human impact on the environment, structure and physiology of vascular plants, human anatomy, and human physiology. This course focuses on analytical problem solving, inquiry based laboratory experiences and critical thinking throughout the curriculum. Students are expected to devote approximately 1 hour per night reading the textbook, writing independent notes, completing challenging homework assignments, designing multi-page formal lab reports, and submitting online quizzes in order to excel. This course has three laboratory sessions per six-day cycle. Students will also be prepared for the SAT II in Biology at the end of this course of study. All students must complete 1200 minutes of documented lab time to be eligible to take the Regents exam.

Advanced Placement Biology (10, 11, 12) AP/College level with lab
Full Year, 1 credit
Co-requisite: Algebra II, Regents or Honor Chemistry
Prerequisite: Regents or Honors Living Environment and Regents Chemistry as well as 85% or higher on all previous science regents classes and exams.
AP Biology is designed to be the equivalent of the general biology course taken during the first year of college. 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.

Regents Earth Science/Physical Setting (10, 11, 12) Regents level with lab
Full Year, 1 credit
Prerequisite: Living Environment
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. Each class meets once every day of the six-day cycle and labs meet every other day. All students must complete 1200 minutes of documented lab time to be eligible to take the regents exam.

Regents Chemistry/The Physical Setting (10, 11, 12) Regents level with lab
Full Year, 1 credit
Prerequisite: Regents Living Environment
Co-requisite: Math – Geometry or Algebra II
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 nuclear chemistry. All students must complete 1200 minutes of documented lab time to be eligible to take the regents exam.

Chemistry Honors – Honors level with lab
Full Year, 1 credit
Prerequisite: Honors Geometry and Honors Living Environment or teacher approval
This course is designed for the advanced Chemistry student. This course focuses on more independent and analytical problem solving with an increased number and more rigorous labs than in Regents Chemistry. Various topics are covered in much more detail, such as the ideal gas equation, Graham’s law, Hess’s law, aspects of aqueous reactions, oxidation-reduction reactions, hybridization, acid-base equilibrium and thermodynamics. Students will be prepared to take the SAT II in Chemistry and will, therefore, not rely on the Regents Chemistry Reference Table. At the end of this course students will be ready to move on to AP Chemistry. All students must complete 1200 minutes of documented lab time to be eligible to take the regents exam.

Advanced Placement Chemistry (11, 12) AP/College level with lab
Full Year, 1 credit
Prerequisite: Regents or Honors Living Environment, and Regents or Honors Chemistry as well as Mastery (85 or better) in all previous Science Regents classes and exams. 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. Students are expected to take the AP examination in May.

Regents Physics/The Physical Setting (10, 11,12) Regents level with lab
Full Year, 1 credit
Prerequisite: Algebra I
Co-requisite: 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 integrated algebra. 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 chemistry and earth science as well as the fields of engineering, architecture, mathematics, electronics and computer science. All students must complete 1200 minutes of documented lab time to be eligible to take the regents exam.

AP Physics I (10, 11,12) AP/College level with Regents exam and lab
Full Year, 1 credit
Prerequisite: Geometry as well as Mastery (85 or better) in all previous Regents classes and exams.
Corequisite: Algebra II
AP Physics I is taught at an accelerated level, preparing students for both the Regents Physics and AP Physics I examinations all in one year of study. It includes the study of motion, forces, rotation, acoustics, electricity, magnetism, oscillations, waves, geometric optics, and modern physics (including quantum mechanics). The course uses algebra and trigonometry is designed to be taken while taking Algebra II/ Trigonometry or higher. 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 physics, chemistry, earth science, engineering, architecture, mathematics, technology, electronics, and computer science. Twenty-five percent of instructional time is devoted to hands-on laboratory work with an emphasis on inquiry-based investigations. Investigations will require students to ask questions, make observations and predictions, design experiments, analyze data, and construct arguments in a collaborative setting, where they direct and monitor their progress. It ends in a final college-level exam for all students in May and a Regents exam in June. Students are expected to take the AP examination in May. Optional college credit (Physics 101/102) from SUNY New Paltz is available for a fee.

Advanced Placement Physics C (Theoretical Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism) (12) AP/College level with lab
Full Year, 1 credit
Prerequisite: Regents Physics or AP Physics 1 with a course grade of 85 or more
Co-requisite: Any Calculus course offered at TZHS
This is second year Physics course which prepares students for both the Advanced Placement Mechanics C and Electricity & Magnetism C examinations, in which students use more advanced mathematics, including calculus, to solve problems involving motion, force, energy, momentum, oscillations, rotation, torque and gravity. This course is designed to be the equivalent of the two semesters of college Physics for students interested in majoring in engineering, physics or mathematics. It is typically worth between 6 -10 college credits (3 – 5 credits per semester). There are 3 double lab periods per six-day cycle. Two separate, 90-minute A.P. Physics examinations are given in May and students receive two independent A.P. scores; one in Mechanics C and one in Electricity & Magnetism C.

Active Physics (11, 12) General Science level
Full year, 1 credit
Prerequisite: Two years of High School science, Algebra I
A hands-on science course centered on experiments, projects, problems, and activities involving forces, motion, energy, sound, light, electricity, magnetism, heat and technology. Physics problems in this course involve formulas that use basic algebra that will actively seek to reinforce the problem solving skills taught in Algebra I. Active Physics counts as general science credit toward graduation and meets once each day (no double-lab periods). Students who wish to take the Regents examination for Regents credit should instead take Regents Physics.

Alternative Fuels (11, 12) Pending Approval and Enrollment
Semester, 1/2 credit
This course covers fundamentals of thermodynamics, chemistry, flow and transport processes as applied to energy systems. Topics include analysis of energy conversion in thermomechanical, thermochemical, electrochemical, and photoelectric processes in existing and future power and transportation systems, with emphasis on efficiency, environmental impact and performance. Systems utilizing fossil fuels, hydrogen and renewable resources, over a range of sizes and scales are discussed. Applications include fuel reforming, hydrogen and synthetic fuel production, fuel cells and batteries, combustion, hybrids, photovoltaics, etc. The course also deals with different forms of energy storage and transmission, and optimal source utilization and fuel-life cycle analysis. Students will apply concepts to the real world by experimenting with wind turbines, hydrogen fuel cells, biofuels, solar arrays, etc.

Advanced Placement Environmental Sciences (11, 12) AP/College level with lab
Full year, 1 credit
Prerequisite: Regents Earth Science, Regents or Honors Living Environment, EITHER Regents or Honors Chemistry OR Regents Physics/AP Physics, Algebra Honors or Geometry Honors. All with a course grade of 85 or more or teacher approval.
The AP Environmental Sciences course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester introductory college course in environmental sciences. Unlike most other AP science courses Environmental Sciences brings together all of the other disciplines, thus the need for the pre/co-requisites. It is designed to emphasize the collection and analysis of data involving scientific principles and therefore there is a laboratory component which will meet 3 times every 6 day cycle. The course will encompass the following themes in an inquiry, hands-on approach: Science is a process, Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes, the Earth itself is one interconnected system, Humans alter natural systems, and Environmental problems have a cultural and social context. Every student is expected to take the AP exam in May.

Bioethics (11, 12) General Science credit
Semester or Cycle, 1/2 credit
Prerequisite: Regents Living Environment (11, 12)
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: 1.What are the chances of unknowingly doing harm to the biosphere? 2. What present controversies exist over the dangers of moving molecular biology from the laboratory to hospitals, farms, and families? 3. 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 (11, 12) General Science credit
Semester or Cycle, 1/2 credit
Prerequisite: Two Regents science classes (11, 12)
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, forensic anthropology (study of bones), toxicology, fiber analysis, arson, 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, and New York State Bureau of Criminal Investigation).

Astronomy (12) General Science credit
One Semester, 1/2 credit
Prerequisite: Two Regents Science classes (12)
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.

Environmental Science (11, 12) General Science credit
One Semester, 1/2 credit
Prerequisite: Two Regents Science classes. Juniors and Seniors only
This course will focus on understanding 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. Topics covered will be ecosystems, populations, resources, and pollution. Scientific inquiry will be stressed, with hands-on activities guiding students throughout the course. Assessments will be based on experiments, activities, essays, formal written exams, and participation on class assignments.

General Science: Marine Biology  (10, 11, 12) General Science credit
Full Year, 1 credit
Prerequisites: Regents Living Environment or Teacher Approval
Marine Science is the study of life in the sea. We will focus on the study of basic geological principles as they pertain to marine life.

General Science: Earth Studies  (10, 11, 12) General Science credit
Full Year, 1 credit
Prerequisites: Regents Living Environment or Teacher Approval
Throughout the year we will study countless exciting topics, some including: observation, measurement, models, topographic mapping, rocks, minerals, plate tectonics, earth quakes, volcanoes, weathering, erosion, streams, fossils, geologic history, weather, climate, and astronomy.

Oceanography (11, 12) College or General Science credit
One semester; 1/2 credit
Prerequisites: Passing Regents Living Environment and Regents Earth Science classes and exams
This advanced earth science course will explore numerous aspects pertaining to the field of oceanography and how they interact with one another. Topics covered include the chemistry of ocean water, the physics of wave patterns and tides, seafloor geology and topography, and marine biology. Research techniques, both modern and historical, will also be studied. We will also discuss the impact that climate change is having on our oceans around the world. Scientific inquiry will be stressed. Assessments will be through class discussions, activities, essays, formal written exams, and projects. Successful completion of this advanced course and the college level projects incorporated in it will make students eligible to receive three college credits through SUNY Oneonta.

Science Research Course (9, 10, 11, 12) General Science credit
Cycled, 1/2 credit
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 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.

Assessment is accomplished through in-class activities and research projects and presentations. The final assessment consists of participation in the annual TZHS Science symposium. All students are encouraged to enter local, regional and national scientific competitions in their senior year.

The following semester courses are also available through Virtual High School (VHS):
General Science credit, One semester, ½ credit
Animal Behavior and Zoology
Biotechnology
DNA Technology
Epidemics: Ecology or Evolution’
Genes and Disease
Great Inventions and Scientific Discoveries
Integrated Mechanical Physics
Meteorology: A Study of Atmospheric Interactions
Nuclear Physics: Science, Technology and Society
Pre-veterinary medicine
The Human Body

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