The Science Department at HSCL facilitates opportunities for students to engage in scientific inquiry to investigate the principles of life, interpret data, arrive at valid conclusions, and to help students understand themselves and the world around them. Students perform hands-on learning by conducting experiments, recognizing problems, collecting data, and forming and testing hypotheses. The Science Department is committed to connecting students to science incorporated into the human experiences of history, society, culture, politics, and technology.
Living Environment is a comprehensive introductory biology course that includes a laboratory component. The course includes units on biomolecules, cells, human body systems, reproduction and development, genetics, evolution, and the environment. The themes of scientific inquiry and the scientific method are used as “lenses” for learning throughout the entire year. The nature of student work (in terms of the skills gained and content learned) reflects the work of real-life scientists in the field to the fullest extent possible. In addition to state-mandated laboratories, numerous supplemental laboratory investigations are performed, including a shark dissection, owl pellet examination, bacterial growth study, and tests for water pollution. The course is designed to prepare students for the New York State Living Environment Regents Exam. To be eligible to take the Regents Exam, students must satisfactorily complete all laboratory activities.
Chemistry is the study of matter, all of its elements, and all of the reactions these elements can undergo. Students taking this course should expect to walk away with a greater appreciation and knowledge of chemistry, and improved problem-solving skills. Throughout the course students will be immersed in various topics including matter and change, atomic structure, understanding the periodic table, bonding, learning various formulas and equations, phases of matter, solutions, acids and bases, redox, organic, and nuclear. A major emphasis of this course to help students develop scientific literacy in chemistry. Of equal importance is to increase students’ excitement and interest in chemistry. To that end, a number of different teaching strategies are employed allowing students to learn by becoming actively involved in the class. Laboratory work is an integral part of this experience. Labs that align with the unit being taught will be completed on a weekly basis. Materials for classes are drawn from the New York State Regents curriculum and are intended to prepare students for the New York State Regents Examination in Chemistry upon completion of the course.
Regents physics examines the relationship between matter and energy. Through inquiry, students are introduced to how work and energy surround us. Newton’s Laws, as well as the various kinds of energy, form the core topics students study during the first part of the semester. After acquiring this base knowledge, students then explore concepts such as mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, waves and sound, as well as light and optics. The class culminates with an introduction to Quantum Theory and a study of the basic concepts of nuclear physics.
Forensics is an honors elective course currently offered on Saturday mornings. The subject matter in this course revolves around the application of basic biological, chemical, and physical science principles and practices for the purposes of analyzing crime scene evidence.
Comparative Anatomy and Physiology
Comparative Anatomy and Physiology is an honors elective course currently offered on Saturday mornings. The course integrates lectures with relevant laboratory activities in order to foster a deeper understanding of the comparative method and phylogenetic relationships among vertebrates. Through dissection, students will be given opportunities to analyze and compare various tissue structures and their organization in vertebrates such as the cat, rat, frog, sheep, and cow, with a particular focus on the role of the nervous system.
Advanced Placement Biology
AP Biology is a year-long course that is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Exam in Biology. Students are expected to develop the skills necessary to work successfully at a college level. It will be necessary for all students to read independently, attend all lecture and lab classes, develop good note-taking ability and finish assigned laboratory activities in a timely manner to successfully complete this course. The course is designed around the new AP Biology curriculum framework that focuses on the big ideas in biology and their connections.
Advanced Placement Physics
AP Physics: Mechanics is a second-year, college-level course designed for students interested in pursuing a career in science, math or engineering. The course is offered to students who excelled in both Regents physics and algebra 2/trigonometry during 11th grade and wish to delve deeper into the subject. Unlike Regents physics, which surveys a wide range of topics, the AP physics class we offer is an exploration into the subject of mechanics.