Lowell Science Course Pathways 2021-2022

Lowell Science Course Pathways 2021-2022

Mission Statement and Department Vision/Goals

Mission Statement: The goal of the Lowell Science program is to develop positive and critical attitudes towards science and its role in society.  To tap and nurture the innate scientist in Lowell students of all backgrounds so that they graduate from high school scientifically and ecologically literate. This will be realized through rigorous and engaging science education connected to life-worthy and lifelong learning that fosters 21st century dispositions and skills (identifying problems and designing solutions, observation and questioning, analyzing evidence, creativity, communication, and collaboration). Students will be able to use data collection and analysis equipment to make observations of their environments, draw meaningful conclusions about these observations and communicate these conclusions clearly to their peers.

Vision: The vision of the Science Program at Lowell High School for our students involves:

  • Develop critical thinking and problem solving through a scientific mindset.
  • Creativity
  • A scientific foundation of knowledge
  • Play a positive role in shaping the future
  • Relevancy of science and importance in everyday life

Goals:  The goals of the Science Program at Lowell High School are:

  • To produce students with personal appreciation and respect for life leading to a positive involvement with the environment.
  • To encourage students to practice rational, critical thinking based on objective observations and open-mindedness, which are the essential ingredients of the scientific method of inquiry
  • To develop curriculum and classroom culture to maximize each student's development emotional and physical safety.
  • To develop skills in manipulating materials and equipment for gathering, organizing and communicating scientific information based on observations and interpretations.
  • To ensure that the scientifically literate person has a substantial base of facts, concepts, processes and skills which enable that individual to continue to learn and think logically.
  • To have students appreciate the value of science and technology in society and to understand its limitations.
  • To prepare for implementation of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
  • To promote teacher collaboration as much as possible.

Lowell Science Department Course Offerings, Descriptions, and Prerequisites 2021-22

Reminder: SFUSD requires students to take at least one year each of biological and physical science. In addition to this, the UC and CSU systems strongly recommend that students take a third year of science before graduating from high school.

 

Biology & AP Biology

What is it? Biology is the study of living organisms. It examines the structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution and classification of living things. This includes the study of cells, cellular reproduction, genetics, microbes, fungi, plants, animals, the chemistry of life, the history of life and how living organisms interact with each other and the environment.

UC considers this a... Biological Science.

 

Which course is right for me?

Biology: If you are reading this bulletin, you have most likely either already taken this course or are taking it now. It is the standard 9th grade science course.

Grade Level: 9

 

AP Biology: This course is intended to be the equivalent of an introductory college biology course and goes beyond the topics covered in first-year biology. This is a lab-intensive course that follows the College Board curriculum. Depending on your score on the AP exam and the college and major you enroll in, you may receive college credit and recognition of coursework completion.

Grade Level: 11-12 (10 with permission of the instructor.)

Know Before You Sign Up: This course assumes knowledge of material covered in Biology and Chemistry; success in this course strongly correlates with having earned at least a B in both. For 10th graders, concurrent enrollment in Chemistry or Honors Chemistry is required, as is permission of the instructor.

 

Biotechnology

What is it? This lab-based course explores genetics and molecular biology, with an emphasis on the applications of these fields. Labs include gel electrophoresis, DNA splicing and other innovative technologies.

UC considers this a... Biological Science.

Grade Level: 11-12 in a normal school year (11th only at Lowell for 2021-2022)

Know Before You Sign Up: This course assumes knowledge of material covered in Biology. Chemistry is also recommended.

   

 

Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, Organic Chemistry & AP Chemistry

What is it? Chemistry is the study of the composition, structure and properties of matter. Topics include chemical reactions and the quantitative limits on them, the role of energy in reactions, gases, solutions and the structure of atoms and molecules.

UC considers this a..... Physical Science - Chemistry.

 

Which course is right for me?

NGSS Chemistry: This course covers the general principals of general chemistry with emphasis on making observations and recording quantitative laboratory measurements to enable the student to understand chemical concepts.

Grade Level: 10-12

Know Before You Sign Up: This course assumes knowledge of material covered in Algebra and Biology.

 

NGSS Chemistry Honors: This course covers the same material as general Chemistry but at greater depth and at a faster pace, with more lab work. It is intended for students with a strong mathematics background and the ability to understand and apply difficult theoretical concepts.

Grade Level: 10-12

Know Before You Sign Up: This course assumes knowledge of material covered in Algebra and Biology. Success in this course strongly correlates with having earned at least a B in both as well as being able to score at least 66% on the UC Mathematical Analysis Readiness Test - see note

 

Organic Chemistry: Organic chemistry is the study of the properties and reactions of compounds containing carbon-carbon bonds. This course is intended as preparation for a university-level organic chemistry course, which is required for premed and pre-pharmacy students.

Grade Level: 11-12

Know Before You Sign Up: This course assumes knowledge of material covered in Chemistry/ Honors Chemistry.

Organic Chemistry will not be offered during the 2021-22 or 2022-23 school years due to scheduling limitations because of the pandemic. It will be offered again the following year (2023-24).

 

AP Chemistry: This course is intended to be the equivalent of an introductory college chemistry course and goes beyond the topics covered in first-year chemistry. Depending on your score on the AP exam and the college and major you enroll in, you may receive college credit and recognition of coursework completion.

Grade Level: 11-12

Know Before You Sign Up: This course assumes knowledge of material covered in Chemistry/ Honors Chemistry. Success in this course strongly correlates with having earned at least a B in either, and, for students who took Chemistry instead of Honors Chemistry, being able to score at least 66% on the UC Mathematical Analysis Readiness Test - see note at the bottom of this page.

 

 

Scientific Research: Drosophila Fruit Fly Research

What is it? Drosophila Research is an open-ended research-based course taught in collaboration with the Seung Kim Lab at Stanford Medical School. Students will learn cutting-edge genetic and molecular biology techniques to explore the common fruit fly's genome.

Additionally, students will work with Lowell instructors and the Kim Lab to present - and potentially publish - their research. Labs include fly breeding and mating, DNA amplification, and gel electrophoresis.

UC considers this an... Interdisciplinary Science. 

Grade Level: 11-12

Know Before You Sign Up: A strong background in biology is recommended. Past research experience would be desirable.

 

 

Environmental Science & AP Environmental Science

What is it? Environmental Science is the study of the interrelationships of the natural world and environmental problems both natural and human-made. The subjects covered include ecosystems, natural cycles, habitats, natural resources and human dependency and impact on all of these. The courses integrate aspects of biology, chemistry, physics, the earth sciences and public policy.

UC considers this an... Interdisciplinary Science

 

Which course is right for me?

Environmental Science: This course offers a hands-on approach to current and emerging ecological issues. It is not oriented toward and does not culminate with an AP exam.

Grade Level: 11-12

Know Before You Sign Up: This course assumes knowledge of material covered in Biology. Chemistry is also recommended.

 

AP Environmental Science: This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to current and emerging ecological issues, drawing on a range of scientific disciplines as well as incorporating ethics and politics.

Grade Level: 11-12

Know Before You Sign Up: This course assumes knowledge of material covered in Biology and Algebra. Chemistry or another science course is recommended).

 

 

Geology

What is it? Geology is the study of rocks, landforms, and what they tell us about the processes that form and shape the earth as well as the history of the earth. Topics include volcanoes, mountain building, erosion, sedimentation, the role of water and ice in shaping the landscape, natural resources, plate tectonics and the geologic history of California.

UC considers this an... Interdisciplinary Science. 

Grade Level: 11-12

Geology will not be offered during the 2021-22 school year. It will be offered again the following year (2022-23).

 

 

Marine Science

What is it? Marine Science is the study of the biology, ecology, chemistry, physics and geology of the ocean and oceanic settings.

UC considers this an... Interdisciplinary Science.

Grade Level: 11-12

Know Before You Sign Up: This course assumes knowledge of material covered in Biology and builds upon knowledge of material covered in Chemistry and Physics.

Marine Science will not be offered during the 2021-22 school year due to scheduling limitations because of the pandemic. It will be offered again the following year (2022-23).

 

 

Physiology

What is it? This course is an introduction to the structure and function of the human body. Topics include basic biochemistry, cell and tissue biology, foods, nutrition and disease.

UC considers this a... Biological Science.

Grade Level: 12

Know Before You Sign Up: This course assumes knowledge of material covered in Biology. Chemistry is also recommended.

 

 

Physics, AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics "2X" & AP Physics C

What is it? Physics is the study of the behavior of matter and the forces and energy states that affect it. Topics for all courses include the laws of motion, conservation of energy and momentum, electricity and magnetism. All courses except AP Physics C cover wave behavior, including sound and light. Other possible topics include fluids, heat, nuclear and quantum physics.

UC considers this a... Physical Science - Physics.

 

Which course is right for me?

Physics: This course is intended as a general survey of physics. It is intended to emphasize concepts; problem-solving required requires basic algebra skills.

Grade Level: 10-12

Know Before You Sign Up: This course assumes knowledge of material covered in Algebra.

 

AP Physics 1: This course focuses on classical mechanics - motion, Newton's Laws, mechanical energy and mechanical waves - and also introduces electric circuits. This course emphasizes problem solving, requiring greater mathematical skill than the general Physics course. It is equivalent to the first semester of an algebra-based college physics course, and is also intended to be preparation for AP Physics C or its college equivalent.

Grade Level: 10-12

Know Before You Sign Up: This course assumes knowledge of material covered in Algebra. Success in this course strongly correlates with having earned at least a B in Algebra as well as being able to score at least 66% on the UC Mathematical Analysis Readiness Test - see note on p. 8.

 

AP Physics 2: This course is a continuation of a sequence that begins with AP Physics 1. Topics include electricity & magnetism, electro-magnetic waves, optics, fluids, thermodynamics and modern physics. Correlates to the second semester of an algebra- based college physics course. It is reasonable to take AP Physics 2 and AP Physics C concurrently.

Grade Level: 11-12

Know Before You Sign Up: This course assumes knowledge of material covered in AP Physics 1.

 

AP Physics "2X" (a.k.a. AP Physics 1/2): This course covers all the material from AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2 in a single year! Student take both the AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2 exams. It is intended for students with very strong mathematical aptitude.

Grade Level: 11-12 (10 if a student is very mathematically proficient)

Prerequisites: This course assumes knowledge of material covered in Algebra. Success in this course strongly correlates with having earned at least an A in Algebra as well as being able to score at least 66% on the UC Mathematical Analysis Readiness Test if a student has taken a previous Physics course, or at least 80% on the UC Mathematical Analysis Readiness Test if a student has not - see note at the bottom of this section.

 

AP Physics C Mechanics + E&M: This course is intended to be the equivalent to the first two semesters of a calculus-based college physics course. There are two AP exams for this course: AP Physics C Mechanics and AP Physics C Electricity & Magnetism. It is reasonable to take AP Physics 2 and AP Physics C concurrently.

Grade Level: 12 (11 only with instructor approval)

Know Before You Sign Up: This course assumes knowledge of material covered in AP Physics 1 or AP Physics "2X," as well as Calculus (AB or BC); it is expected that students will be concurrently enrolled AP Physics C and Calculus.

  

Note about math skills in the algebra-based AP Physics courses, Honors Chemistry and AP Chemistry: For these courses, it is strongly advised that one have a strong ability in math. If you are not sure of your math skills, go to http://mdtp-wri.ucsd.edu/practice_tests/index.php and select either test.

Students who are able to answer at least 2/3 of the questions correctly are the ones who are most likely to succeed in these courses.