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Science

High School

The curriculum choices offered by the Science department are designed to accommodate the wide range of needs and interests of our students.  This would include those students who intend to pursue the sciences as career choices as well as those who are looking to satisfy a curiosity of the world around them.  We offer students a variety of courses, including Advanced Placement courses in all the major disciplines and an array of courses dealing with the world in which we live.   In helping students achieve a well-balanced science education, the department provides a core curriculum of introductory chemistry and physics and a year of biology, as well as a wide range of electives. Four year colleges recommend three years of a lab science which traditionally include biology, chemistry, and physics. Computer-based experiments, dissection, inquiry-based laboratories, and independent science projects offer students vast opportunities for scientific exploration.

Grade Course Sequence (All levels)

Grade 9                  Introduction to Chemistry and Physics

Grade 10                Biology

Grades 11 & 12    Chemistry, Physics, or Electives*


*Electives: Anatomy and Physiology, Forensics, Research Methods in Science, Blue Planet, Human Impacts on the Environment, Understanding the Earth and AP Environmental Science.  

Courses

Introduction to Chemistry (CP -412201), (H -413201)

Semester Course  2.5 credits

Open to:  Grade 9                                  

Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation

Students in Introduction to Chemistry study the fundamental concepts of chemistry with a focus on solutions and energy. Laboratory investigations rely on quantitative and qualitative analysis to develop a conceptual understanding of chemistry. Numerous lab activities provide students with opportunities to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts covered in the curriculum as well as develop basic lab skills. Students will explore atomic structure, solutions, chemical reactions and energy.

Honors: Students in the honors level course incorporate more mathematical problem solving into their study of chemistry, such as conversion factors, molarity and stoichiometry. Students are required to think independently and design their own experiments during inquiry based laboratory instruction.

Honors Introduction to Chemistry with Research Methods (H) -43350

Semester Course 2.5 credits

Open to:  Grade 9                            

Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation

Students in this honors level course will be concurrently enrolled in Honors Research Methods in Science for one additional credit.  In addition to completing the honors level curriculum, students will complete an independent yearlong research/science fair project that can either be experimental in nature or an engineering or computer-based project. Students are required to also be enrolled in Honors Introduction to Physics with Research Methods. Students taking the course should have an interest in science and be able to work independently on a long-term project with the guidance of a mentor teacher.

Introduction to Physics (CP -412101), (H -413101)

Semester Course   2.5 credits

Open to:  Grade 9                             

Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation

Students of introductory physics study the fundamental concepts of physics by describing motion and energy verbally, graphically and mathematically. Numerous lab activities provide students with opportunities to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts covered in the curriculum as well as develop basic lab skills.  Mathematical representations of scientific relationships are used in the development of problem solving techniques. Topics include motion, forces, momentum, work and energy.

Honors: Students at the honors level will apply conceptual knowledge with a higher level of  mathematical problem solving. Students at the honors level will be expected to think independently and design their own experiments during inquiry-based laboratory instruction.  

Honors Introduction to Physics With Research Methods (H) -43360

Semester Course: 2.5 credits

Open to:  Grade 9                            

Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation

Students in this honors level course will be concurrently enrolled in Honors Research Methods in Science for one additional credit.  In addition to completing the honors level curriculum, students will complete an independent yearlong research/science fair project that can either be experimental in nature or an engineering or computer-based project. Students are required to also be enrolled in Honors Introduction to Chemistry with Research Methods. Students taking the course should have an interest in science and be able to work independently on a long-term project with the guidance of a mentor teacher.

Biology (CP -4221/4222), (H -4231/4232)

(2) Semester Course    3.0 credits/semester

Open to:  Grade 10 (6 periods/cycle)

Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation        

Students will study and gain an appreciation for various fields related to the biological sciences through curriculum developed and aligned with the Massachusetts State Frameworks.  Throughout the course, students will engage in scientific inquiry through experimentation and lab work, see the relevance of Biology to their daily lives, and explore how the living organism is important in the world today at the molecular, cellular, and ecological levels. Topics include: biochemistry, cellular biology, genetics, evolution, human anatomy and ecology.  A passing score on the Biology MCAS exam is required for graduation.

Advanced Placement Biology (AP) -4241/4242

(2) Semester Course  3.5 credits/semester

Open to:  Grades 10-12 (7 periods/cycle) Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation

Intro to Chemistry (H), Intro to Physics (H) recommended

AP Biology is designed to be the equivalent of a first-year college-level biology course for students who show a strong interest and aptitude for the biological sciences.  The course uses a syllabus approved by the College Board and prepares students to take the Advanced Placement Biology Examination in May. Students who demonstrate competency on this exam may be deemed course credit and/or a course waiver by their college or university.   It is important that students are highly motivated, can learn independently, and have strong reading comprehension and writing skills. In addition to learning content at an accelerated pace, students will perform inquiry-based laboratory exercises that will provide them with opportunities to hone science practice skills and apply the concepts presented in their readings, lectures, and class discussions.  The major goals of the course are to help students deepen their fundamental understanding of biology and how it relates to their own health and the environment, as well as to improve their critical thinking and analysis skills. Major topics addressed in the course include biochemistry, cell biology, cellular energetics, cell division, cell communication, genetics, evolution, animal systems and ecology. Students will be asked to complete several assignments before the opening of school in the fall.  These assignments will review some basic concepts, prepare students for the fast pace and rigor of the course and introduce them to the exciting world of biology!

Chemistry (CP -4321/4322), (H -4331/4332)

(2) Semester Course 3.0 credits/semester

Open to:  Grades 11-12 (6 periods/cycle) Honors Prerequisites: teacher recommendation, concurrently enrolled in Honors or Accelerated Algebra II

Students explore the fundamental principles of chemistry (the properties of matter and how it reacts) with an emphasis on the applications of chemical concepts to current events and daily life.  Topics include measurement, atomic structure, electron configuration, the periodic table, bonding, gas laws, properties of liquids and solids, solutions, stoichiometry, reactions, kinetics, equilibrium and acids and bases.Computer-based and traditional laboratory techniques are used to obtain, organize and analyze data. The structure of the course relies on long term retention and application of the course material as well as strong analytical skills and a solid foundation in mathematics. Prospective students should have strong algebra skills (particularly working with word problems manipulating fractions, percents, and graphing).  

Honors Chemistry:

Students in Honors Chemistry will need to be able to synthesize their understandings of chemistry across multiple topics and apply their knowledge to complex scenarios in open response questions and through project work.  Topics in Honors Chemistry are covered in more depth and at a faster pace than College Preparatory Chemistry.

Advanced Placement Chemistry (AP) -4381/4382

(2) Semester Course  3.5 credits/semester

Open to:  Grades 11-12 (7 periods/cycle) Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation,      Acc. Geometry or Acc. Algebra II recommended

Advanced Placement Chemistry is designed to be the equivalent of the general course usually taken during the first year of college. Due to the complexity of the problems, students enrolled in AP Chemistry need outstanding math and problem solving skills. There is a significant lab component to the course. It is assumed that students will spend at least five hours a week in unsupervised individual study. Topics covered include: structure of matter, states and properties of matter, reactions (including acid/base and redox reactions), equilibrium, kinetics and thermodynamics. Over the summer, students use online resources to review selected topics and take several online quizzes before the opening of school.

Conceptual Physics: Mechanics (CP) -4411

Semester course 2.5 credits

Open to:  Grades 11-12                                    

Prerequisites: Algebra II (or concurrently enrolled)   

When watching a game of football, you can’t fully enjoy the game unless you know its rules. Likewise when a student understands the basic concepts of physics they can more fully appreciate the world around them. In this semester course, students will have an opportunity to explore some of the fundamental understandings of physics as they pertain to the laws of motion.  In this hands-on course students will be engaged in experiments and demonstrations of basic physics concepts that will enable them to understand physical phenomena we experience everyday. For example, students will investigate: Do heavy objects fall faster than light objects? Why are seat belts and airbags so important? How do you shoot a perfect free throw? Why are roller coasters so much fun, and could you play your favorite sport on the moon? These topics, and more, are discussed on a conceptual basis with mathematical equations used to guide our thinking.

Conceptual Physics: Electromagnetism (CP) -4412

Semester course  2.5 credits

Open to:  Grades 11-12                               

Prerequisites: Algebra II (or concurrently enrolled)

When watching a game of football, you can’t fully enjoy the game unless you know its rules. Likewise when a student understands the basic concepts of physics they can more fully appreciate the world around them. In this semester course, students will have an opportunity to explore some of the fundamental understandings of electricity, magnetism and waves.  This hands-on course incorporates experiments and demonstrations of basic physics concepts that enable students to understand physical phenomena they experience everyday.  For example, students will investigate: How does wind (or moving water) generate electricity? Why are magnets only attracted to certain metals and not all metals? Would we actually hear large explosions in space like they show in our favorite sci-fi movies? These topics, and more, are discussed on a conceptual basis with mathematical equations used to guide our thinking.

 

Honors Physics (H) -4431/4432

(2) Semester Course  3.0 credits/semester

Open to:  Grades 11-12 (6 periods/cycle)

Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation,      Honors Algebra II recommended                    

Honors Physics engages students in the development of graphical and mathematical models to represent physical phenomena. Models developed include: constant velocity, uniform acceleration, balanced force, constant force, energy and fundamentals of charge and electricity. Teaching methodologies develop student abilities to make sense of physical experience, understand scientific claims, articulate coherent opinions of their own and defend them with cogent arguments based on evidence. The basics of trigonometry and vector analysis are applied within the framework of the course so a solid foundation in Algebra II, geometry and precalculus is advised. The course stresses the application of physics in today’s technology and everyday life.

 

Advanced Placement Physics C: Mechanics (AP) -4451/4452

(2) Semester Course  3.5 credits/semester (7 periods/cycle)

Open to:  Grade 12 

Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation, Completed or concurrently enrolled in Calculus  

AP Physics C:Mechanics is a full year high school class which is equivalent to a one-semester, calculus based, college-level physics course, especially appropriate for students planning to specialize or major in physical science or engineering. The course explores topics such as kinematics; Newton’s laws of motion; work, energy and power; systems of particles and linear momentum; circular motion and rotation; and oscillations and gravitation. Introductory differential and integral calculus is used throughout the course.   A minimum of 20% of classroom time will be spent on scientific investigations using principles of scientific inquiry where students will design and conduct experiments; organize, display, and critically analyze data and communicate results.

 

Advanced Placement Physics 1 (AP) -4441/4442

(2) Semester Course  3.5 credits/semester

Open to:  Grade 12 (7 periods/cycle)

Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation,        Honors Algebra II recommended

AP Physics 1 is a full year course which is equivalent to a one-semester, algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course. Students cultivate their understanding of Physics through inquiry-based investigations as they explore topics such as Newtonian mechanics (including rotational motion); work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sound; and introductory, simple circuits.  This course requires that 25% of the instructional time will be spent in hands-on laboratory work, with an emphasis on inquiry based investigations that provide students with opportunities to apply the science practices. Students should have completed geometry and be concurrently taking Algebra II or an equivalent course. The course includes basic use of trigonometric functions, this understanding can be gained either in the concurrent math course or in the AP Physics 1 course itself.

Blue Planet: The Role of Water (CP) -4253

Semester Course  2.5 credits

Open to:  Grades 11-12                                    

Prerequisites: None

This course takes an interdisciplinary approach through which students study water and how it shapes our planet and human life.  This course gives students the opportunity to apply their understanding of the concepts they learned during their coursework in the physical and life sciences. Topics include fresh water, oceans, pollution, and water resources used by people.  Case studies will introduce many worldwide water issues giving students a global perspective of the state of water on Earth and their role as a citizen.

Human Impacts on the Environment (CP) -4252

Semester Course   2.5 credits

Open to: Grades 11-12                                     

Prerequisites:  None

In this course students use current research and news articles to investigate the impact of human activities on the environment.   National and international case studies are used to explore the role that human-introduced chemicals, acid rain, agriculture, mining and logging have had on the environment. Students use various technological tools and online resources to acquire, process and report conclusions through the production and publication of various projects.

Understanding the Earth (CP) -4251

Semester Course  2.5 credits

Open to: Grades 11-12                                      

Prerequisites:  None

Student taking this course study the physical and biological dynamics of the Earth.  Current research and news articles as well as other tools are used to study the components of Earth, geologic hazards, geologic time, and erosion.  Students use various technological tools and online resources to acquire, process and report conclusions through the production and publication of various projects.

Advanced Placement Environmental Science (AP) -4501/4502

(2) Semester Course 3.5 credits/semester (7 periods/cycle)

Open to:  Grades 11-12 

Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation

The AP Environmental Science course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science. By the interdisciplinary nature of the topics and their relevance to current events, this course appeals to a wide range of students who have interests in the nature and the environment, science and engineering, and social sciences, law, economics, technology, literature, and drama.  Students examine the interrelationships within the natural world, identify and analyze environmental problems, both natural and human-made, evaluate relative risks associated with these problems, and examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them. AP Environmental Science is a blended class. A blended learning approach combines face-to-face classroom methods and computer-mediated activities to form an integrated instructional approach. Through laboratory work, readings, and quarterly group projects, students will prepare to take the Advanced Placement® Environmental Science Examination.

 

Anatomy & Physiology (CP -4361/4362), (H -4351/4352)

(2) Semester Course  2.5 credits/semester

Open to: Grades 11-12                                     

Prerequisites:  None

This course is designed to explore the relationship between structure and function in the human body. Initial understanding of cells and tissues will give the students the background necessary to explore this relationship while they investigate the systems of the human body. In addition to classroom exercises and laboratories, dissection, independent and group research projects, focused internet-based coursework and essays will be used throughout the course.

Forensics (CP) (Hybrid) -4490

Semester Course   2.5 credits

Open to: Grades 11-12                                      

Prerequisites:  None                       

This hybrid course is meant to be an introductory course in forensic science. The focus of the course will be for students to learn how science is used to solve crimes.  Ultimately their knowledge from this course may help them to serve on a jury, spark their interest in a career in forensic science, or just enhance their general interest in science.  Topics include, but are not limited to, the history of forensic science, chromatography, fingerprinting, hair analysis, blood stain analysis, arson crimes, DNA fingerprinting and  human decomposition and bone analysis.

The nature of the course is multidisciplinary and includes areas of chemistry, anatomy, genetics, physics, medicine, law, math, sociology, and communications. This course is a lab-based course and requires that students practice and use the lab techniques of a real forensic scientist. Students will be assessed on their class participation, lab techniques, homework completion, quizzes and tests. Students will need to gather data and solve real-world problems based on what they observe. There is one online session in a seven-day rotation in which students are required to complete online assignments independently.  It is expected that students check their email and google classroom daily for updates and reminders. There is a final exam that is cumulative and includes an assessment of both forensic science content and laboratory skills.

Honors Research Methods in Science I -43331/43332, -43341/43342, III -43371/43372, IV -43381/43382

(2) Semester Course     1.0 credit/semester

Open to: Grades 9-12           

Prerequisites:  None

The Honors Research Methods in Science class is an online course taken by students in addition to a full course-load. The purpose of the course is to provide students with the opportunity to complete an in-depth engineering project or scientific experiment in an area of their choosing.   Through the completion of a full-year project students gain a rich understanding of the scientific process and have an opportunity to present their research to professionals. Students are assigned a teacher mentor who monitors their progress on the project (through various checkpoints and deadlines) and works with the students throughout the year as they research their topic, design their experiment, collect, analyze and present their data. Students use online resources located on Google classroom to research a topic, create a plan and carry out an investigation. Students are expected to compete in the high school science fair in late February. Students may then go on to compete at the regional, state or international level. All students will be required to write a research paper at the conclusion of the course based upon their work during the year. Students taking the course should have an interest in science and be able to work independently on a long-term project. The course can be taken more than once. Students participating for the first time should enroll in Research Methods I.  Research Methods II, III, and IV are for students who have completed a previous science or engineering fair project. Each year the student should show growth in the depth, sophistication, and analysis of their experiment/engineering design. Students in all four sections will receive one credit per semester.

General Science

(2) Semester Course  2.5 credits/semester

Open to: Grades 9-12 

Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation

The general science curriculum enables students to develop skills and understandings that relate to a variety of topics and experiences in the physical, biological, and/or earth sciences. The course objectives are taught each year according to each student’s instructional level.

Contact Us

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Jennifer Smith

Titles: Chemistry Teacher, Science Department SML
Locations: Hopkinton High School
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Marjorie Billeter

Titles: Chemistry Teacher
Locations: Hopkinton High School
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Andrew Couto

Titles: BiologyTeacher
Locations: Hopkinton High School
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Michael Graeber

Titles: Physics Teacher
Locations: Hopkinton High School
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Bryan King

Titles: Biology Teacher
Locations: Hopkinton High School
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Douglas Levitt

Titles: Chemistry Teacher
Locations: Hopkinton High School
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Catherine McCahill

Titles: Anatomy Teacher
Locations: Hopkinton High School
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Kristen Murphy

Titles: Chemistry Teacher
Locations: Hopkinton High School
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Patricia Noblett

Titles: Physics Teacher
Locations: Hopkinton High School
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Michelle Odierna

Titles: Biology Teacher
Locations: Hopkinton High School
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