Science

All science offerings place emphasis on the comprehension and application of modern scientific concepts and on the scientific processes used by scientists to learn new information. Courses are developed around the following unifying concepts and processes: systems, order and organization, evidence, models and explanations, change, constancy and measurement, evolution and equilibrium, and form and function. All students are required to take three years of lab science. Typically students take the required courses in the following sequence: Physics or Integrated Science 9 in ninth grade, Chemistry or Integrated Science 10 in tenth grade, and Biology or Integrated Science 11 in eleventh grade. AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics, and departmental electives are open to students who have completed a first-level science course. The Science Department recommends that students who take these advanced courses have at least a B in the previous science course and require that the student consult the teacher or department chair for further recommendations. Direct placement into the advanced or AP courses can only be done with the recommendation of the course teacher, the department chair, and the Director of Upper School.

Science Faculty

Physics
Year - 6 credits

Open to students in all grades. Prerequisites: Students entering this class must have successfully completed Algebra 1 and be enrolled in Algebra 2 with Geometry Year 1 (or above). This physics course is a math-based physics course where the focus will be on understanding the evolution of physics via a mathematical lens. This course gives an introduction to measurement and symbols, forces and linear motion, two-dimensional and periodic motion, energy transformation, matter/wave interactions, and electricity and magnetism. Teaching methods include interactive lecture, discussion, demonstration, laboratory work, and group work. A special emphasis will be placed on correlating concepts learned in lecture and discussion to hands-on laboratory work and the presentation of that laboratory work in proper scientific forms.

Chemistry
Year - 6 credits

Open to all sophomores, juniors, and seniors, although this is primarily a sophomore-level course. Pre-requisites: Students entering this class must have successfully completed Algebra 2 with Geometry Year 1 and be enrolled in Algebra 2 with Geometry Year 2 (or above) for sophomore year. This chemistry course is a math-based chemistry course where the focus will be on understanding the concepts in chemistry through a physical and mathematical lens. This course gives an introduction to the structure and properties of atoms, molecules, and ions; stoichiometry; thermochemistry; electronic structure of atoms; periodic properties of the elements; chemical bonding; molecular geometry and bonding theories; gases; intermolecular forces, liquids, and solids; and properties of solutions. Teaching methods include interactive lecture, discussion, demonstration, computer simulation, laboratory work, and group work. A special emphasis will be placed on correlating concepts learned in lecture and discussion to hands-on laboratory work and the presentation of that laboratory work in proper scientific forms.

Integrated Science 10: Environmental Chemistry
Year - 6 credits

Open to sophomores. Prerequisite: successful completion of Physics. The Environmental Chemistry course is the first progression through the sustainability-focused science option. It is designed to highlight chemistry’s application through environmental science concepts. The class will look at the major chemistry-influenced concepts in environmental science including: water/soil quality, alternative energy, air pollution, and climate . The Environmental Chemistry class will be project-based, focusing on hands-on, guided inquiry labs. It will allow for both independent and group work that will be geared towards various methods of assessment. There will also be a heavy City as Our Campus component through Three Rivers Quest and similar organizations.

Biology
Year - 6 credits

Biology is a laboratory-based course comprised of units relating to the four big ideas and many of the enduring understandings contained within the College Board Curriculum Framework for Advanced Placement Biology. The biology course offers an integrated study of the foundational concepts relating to the living world. Emphasis will be placed on introductory biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, regulation, biodiversity, heredity, evolution, interactions between biological systems, and conservation biology. Student understanding of the biological themes presented will be accompanied by a diverse collection of inquiry-based laboratory investigations, research, reading assignments, discussions, and other projects.

Integrated Science 11: Environmental Biology
Year - 6 credits

Environmental Biology is the second course offering for the sustainability-themed science option. Environmental Biology is a laboratory-based course designed as an introduction to the biological principles upon which environmental decisions are based. Areas of discussion will include biodiversity, evolution, resource use, population dynamics, conservation biology, and environmental policy. Students will evaluate the role of the human and non-human organism within environmental systems and investigate current issues relating to Earth’s resources. Students will also explore the role of technology relating to the study of natural systems, as well as consider practical alternatives for protecting the environment and moving toward a sustainable future. These concepts will be examined from a global perspective through laboratory experiences, field work, and projects designed to help students develop a unique appreciation for the inquiry-based nature of scientific investigation.

AP Biology
Year - 6 credits

AP Biology is a laboratory-based course designed for students who have successfully completed General Biology and Chemistry. AP Biology includes topics regularly covered in a two-semester college introductory biology course and differs significantly from the General Biology course with regard to the type of textbook used, breadth and depth of topics covered, investigative and skills-based nature of laboratory investigations, and time and effort required on the part of the student. AP Biology provides students with the conceptual framework, factual knowledge, and analytical skills necessary to deal critically with the rapidly changing science of biology. The thematic units covered relate to the overarching big ideas and enduring understandings contained within the College Board Curriculum Framework for Advanced Placement Biology. Major topics of discussion will include evolution, energy transfer, continuity and change, relationship between structure and function, homeostatic control, interdependence in nature, and the role of biotechnology in society. Students are required to complete reading assignments from the textbook and primary literature sources. These resources will be used to relate concepts learned in class to matters on a global scale. This course is designed to prepare students for the Biology College Board Advanced Placement Exam at the end of the school year.

AP Chemistry
Year - 6 credits

Open to eleventh and twelfth graders. Prerequisite: successful completion of Chemistry. AP Chemistry is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first college year. It will enable students to attain a depth of understanding of fundamentals and a reasonable competence in dealing with chemical problems. The course contributes to the development of the students’ abilities to think clearly and to express their ideas, orally and in writing, with clarity and logic. AP Chemistry provides rigorous treatment of college-level topics such as chemical behavior, bonding theory, thermodynamics, quantum theory, kinetics, equilibrium, electrochemistry, and organic chemistry. Emphasis on problem solving and extensive laboratory work prepares students for the AP examination in Chemistry.

AP Psychology
Year - 6 credits

Prerequisites: Open only to seniors. Juniors will be considered only if the class does not fill. It is recommended that students have at least a B in previous science and humanities courses. The purpose of the Advanced Placement course in Psychology is to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of behavior and mental processes of human beings and animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with the major subfields within psychology. They also learn about the methods psychologists use in their science and practice. (Taken from the Advanced Placement Course Description in Psychology by the College Board). The first trimester will focus on the biological basis of psychology, the second trimester on learning and development, and the third trimester on personality, abnormal psychology, and social psychology. Students are expected to have both strong writing and analytical skills and have shown proficiency in experimental design and interpretation. Basic math skills are also required for the interpretation of statistical data.

NOTE: This course does not meet the WT graduation requirement for the third year of history.

AP Physics C
Year - 6 credits

Open to students who have successfully completed AP Calculus 1. It is strongly suggested that students have completed a prior physics course as well. AP Physics C is modeled off of a traditional calculus-based introductory college physics course. This course follows the content outlined in the College Board’s Advanced Placement Physics C syllabus which outlines two college semesters of calculus-based introductory physics. It is intended for students planning to major in a physical science or engineering. Two major topics are focused on equally throughout the year. The major topic for the first half of the class is mechanics and the major topic for the second half is electricity and magnetism. Emphasis is placed on both theoretical and mathematical concepts. Students will be expected to complete laboratory work that includes quantitative measurement and analysis using traditional and modern instrumental techniques. Students will be required to sit for at least one of the two exams (one focusing on mechanics and one focusing on electricity and magnetism).

Applied Environmental Science and Ecology
Year - 6 credits

Open to juniors and seniors. Prerequisite: Successful completion of ninth and tenth grade science. In addition, students must either have successfully completed or be concurrently enrolled in biology. Applied Environmental Science and Ecology is a project-based course which focuses on the interplay between science, people, society, and the environment of the Pittsburgh region. Students will use advanced investigative methods and technologies to examine the practices which challenge our understanding of ecosystems, where the study of complex human-biological interactions plays a critical role in the design of sustainable urban environments. Students will explore the complex ecological relationships and biodiversity of the Pittsburgh region through a variety of research experiences. The course will focus specifically on student-designed laboratory investigations and fieldwork in the areas of ecology, microbiology, sustainable food production, genetics, and bio-engineering. The Applied Environmental Science and Ecology course offers students the opportunity to engage with the local scientific community through their own research; possibilities for collaboration may include research partnerships with Carnegie Melon University, the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham University, and other local organizations. As part of a final year research project, students will be responsible for sharing the results of their work with the regional community through local symposia, print media, or other suitable modes of communication. Students will also be encouraged to participate in regional, state, and national science competitions where appropriate.

Research Science
Year – 6 credits

Open to tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders. Prerequisite: Successful completion of ninth grade science. Sophomores and juniors must also be concurrently enrolled in a core lab science. Recommended: Prior computer sciences courses (i.e. Physical Computing). The Research Science course offers students a distinct learning opportunity by emphasizing the application of science research through integrated projects that utilize the engineering cycle for prototype development. In consultation with the course instructor, students will work as individuals or in small groups on all projects. This student-centered course is designed to highlight the creativity and design aspects associated with science. There will be a heavy focus on CAD modeling and 3D-printing for rapid prototyping. Integrating electrical circuits, sensors, and/or microcontrollers is an option for those with experience. City as Our Campus partnerships highlighted in this course include working with designers from Daedalus, Inc. and opportunities for students to utilize Tech Shop memberships. Other City as Our Campus connections will be tailored to students’ projects. Students will be responsible for sharing their designs with members of the broader scientific community through local symposia, print media, or other suitable modes of communication. Students will be encouraged to consider participating in possible regional, state, and national science competitions, when appropriate.

Applied Physics and Astronomy
Year - 6 credits

This course is open to students in grades 10-12 who have already taken Physics and Pre-calculus. Applied Physics and Astronomy is a project-based course where students will actually see how physics is applied in real-world situations. The course will center on the application of content learned in physics, while introducing new physics content and concepts of astronomy. Students will dive deep through projects that involve, but are not limited to launching satellites and analyzing spectral data from planets and stars. Students will have a chance to design and execute their own project as the course progresses.

Apply Now
Make a Gift

Contact Us

City Campus
555 Morewood Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
P: 412-578-7500
F: 412-578-7504

North Hills Campus
4225 Middle Road
Allison Park, PA 15101
P: 412-486-8341
F: 412-486-8378

Powered by Finalsite