Science at The Storm King School follows a physics-chemistry-biology sequence where students are not simply gaining knowledge but learning the processes of exploration, inquiry, and problem-solving. From there, Advanced Placement courses are offered in the core disciplines as well as Computer Science. Juniors and seniors have flexibility in their course choices to pursue their own interests in the study of science.
(typically taken sophomore year)
Chemistry is the study of matter, energy and the interactions between them. This course covers the basic principles of chemistry including atomic theory, the periodic table, chemical reactions, chemical quantities, chemical names with formulas, stoichiometry, and ionic/covalent bonding. Laboratory safety and techniques are emphasized in all experimental activities. This course is structured to develop critical thinking as well as independent and group problem solving skills. A student-centered instructional design is utilized that guides students to develop scientific models that describe their experimental observations.
This course provides academic support for students enrolled in the ASP program.
(typically taken junior or senior year)
Biology is the study of life itself. It has become the preeminent science of the 21st century. Advances in genetics and biotechnology have begun to allow humans to manipulate life to suit our needs. In this course we will study the things all life has in common, how life is passed down from generation to generation, how species change over time, and how life interacts with the environment. We are learning more than ever about life on Earth, including how we can shape its destiny.
This course seeks to investigate the science behind the major environmental issues of today. Students evaluate and discuss environmental resources from the Storm King School and the Black Rock Forest research facility to understand the issues, problems and possible solutions motivating current trends in environmental science.
The scientific field of physics has been central in the development of modern civilization, from common conveniences to advanced technologies to our understanding of our place in the Universe, and it will continue to lead us to new discoveries yet to be imagined. This physics course follows a modeling approach in which the students actively participate in the process of scientific inquiry. Major concepts are introduced with paradigm labs where students measure observable quantities, extract key relationships between the variables, and develop models to understand the observed phenomena. Multiple representations – schematic, graphical, and mathematical — are developed, which together define the models. Students regularly work in teams and both present and defend their work amongst each other. The curriculum includes kinematics, dynamics, energy, momentum, gravitation, wave phenomena, and simple electrical circuits, in addition to other topics, as time permits.
(Junior or senior elective, requires prior or concurrent enrollment in AP Calculus)
The science of physics and astronomy has played a profound role in human civilization from the ancient Greeks to modern times. Physics is at the heart of virtually all modern technology, and also provides the foundation for our understanding of the world. Within the field of astronomy, recent discoveries have dramatically changed our view of the origin and fate of the Universe. The focus of this course is (a) to develop an in-depth understanding of the principles and mathematics of classical physics (mechanics) in preparation for the AP Physics C exam, (b) to practice experimental data acquisition, analysis and reporting, and (c) to learn about fundamentals of astronomy and cosmology. Popular spreadsheet software will be used for data analysis, and several formal lab reports will be required. Calculus will be used throughout the course to gain a thorough understanding of concepts and to prepare students for college level courses. AP Physics is a demanding course that requires 4-5 hours of homework per week in addition to some work over the holidays.
AP Biology prepares students to carry out scientific investigations and to develop advanced inquiry and reasoning skills, and covers the “big ideas” of evolution, energy, information, and interaction within the living world. Students will explore experimental design, data collection and data analysis while conducting twelve laboratory exercises throughout the year. AP Biology is equivalent to a two-semester college introductory biology course, and pacing will be faster and less flexible than regular courses in order to cover all the required content. There will typically be 4-5 hours of homework per week, and several weekend classes may be required.
Computing affects almost all aspects of modern life and all students deserve access to a computing education that prepares them to pursue the wide array of intellectual and career opportunities that computing has made possible. The curriculum for this course is structured around five major units: (1) the Internet, (2) digital Information, (3) algorithms and programming, (4) big data and privacy, and (5) building apps. This course seeks to provide students with a “future proof” foundation in computing principles so that they are adequately prepared with both the knowledge and skills to live and meaningfully participate in our increasingly digital society, economy, and culture. Students must have access to a laptop computer (Windows or Mac) for class work and homework assignments.
(junior or senior elective)
AP Computer Science is both a college-prep course for potential computer science majors and a foundation course for students planning to study in not only other technical fields such as engineering, physics, and chemistry, but also many other fields that may require an awareness of programming concepts. This course places an emphasis on the application of standard Java programming methodology and object-oriented analysis and design practices. Students will become adept at applying the concepts of inheritance, encapsulation, abstraction, and polymorphism to solving real-world problems in computer science. A detailed examination of several case study programs serves as an introduction to Java building blocks and provides a solid foundation for success in the AP Computer Science Exam. AP Computer Science is a highly demanding course that requires 4-5 hours of homework per week in addition to some work over holidays. Students must have a laptop computer (Windows or Mac) that can be brought to class every day.
(Junior and senior elective)
Advanced Chemistry is a rigorous college preparatory course designed to prepare students who wish to take the Advanced Placement Examination their spring semester. Student’s taking this course will advance their understanding of a general chemistry course typically taken their sophomore year. This course places emphasis on atomic theory, the periodic table, bonding, molecular structure, gas laws, kinetic molecular theory, stoichiometry, electrochemistry, properties of solutions, acids and bases, equilibrium, rates of reaction, thermodynamics, nuclear chemistry, and organic chemistry. This course can be a highly demanding course that requires 4-5 hours of homework per week in addition to some work over holidays, and students choosing to take the AP exam are advised that they will need to set aside time for independent practice and review This course requires prior enrollment in general chemistry.
AP Computer Science Principles introduces students to the central ideas of computer science, instilling the ideas and practices of computational thinking, and inviting students to understand how computing changes the world. Students develop innovative computational artifacts using the same creative processes artists, writers, computer scientists, and engineers use to bring ideas to life. This course covers the same material as Intro to Computer Science with some additional content and project work in preparation for and fulfillment of the AP requirements. In addition to the AP exam at the end of the year, students must independently complete and submit two “performance tasks”: (1) a report exploring some aspect of current technology, and (2) an original computer application, designed and coded by the student. AP Computer Science Principles is complementary to AP Computer Science A (CSA); students may elect to take both courses in either order, although CSA is more technically challenging and is recommended only for students with prior programming experience and strong math skills.
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