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Department of Science

Academy students must complete a minimum of three science courses before graduation. The Science Department laboratory courses are divided into three divisions: (1) the Life Sciences, (2) the Physical Sciences, and (3) the Earth Sciences. Students may also select from a variety of one semester, non-laboratory enrichment courses.

Each student must receive a passing grade for a minimum of four semesters of laboratory science. It should be recognized, however, that the laboratory science graduation requirement is not sufficient for a student who is college bound. A good guideline for acceptance into most colleges is that a student, while in high school, should complete a minimum of three years of laboratory science, two of which come from either biology, chemistry or physics.

Acceptance into a class for the freshman year is based upon grades earned in junior high school, on student performance on standardized tests and on the recommendations of junior high school personnel. Students may be recommended for modified placement based upon the same criteria. Students are not “tracked” in the science curriculum. For example, a student who takes Regular Chemistry one year might choose to take Honors Physics the next year. Science teachers will assist students in trying to determine the level that is most appropriate for each student based upon his/her own strengths and limitations.

Courses Offered

Biology 9 – Regular: 1 Credit

In this introductory course, students investigate the application of biological principles to everyday life. The topics covered include scientific method, scientific measurement, microscopy, basic and organic chemistry, cell theory and division, reproduction and development, genetics, evolution, classification, anatomy and physiology. Throughout this course, students will develop their skills in reading comprehension, note-taking, critical thinking, organization, and the application of information.

Homework requirement: 3 hours per week

Concepts of Biology: 1 Credit

This course invites the student to explore the world of living things and to appreciate his or her relationship with these other life forms and how we all interact with the environment. In addition to teaching the fundamentals of biology, the course devotes time to developing and strengthening the skills necessary to be an effective learner. Students will focus on note taking, study skills, and research techniques. Throughout the course, lab experiments are done to enrich and concretize the week’s discussion. Individual and group projects are assigned regularly, allowing the students the opportunity to research varied topics, and present oral and written reports.

Homework requirement: 3 hours per week

Physical Science: 1 Credit

Through lecture, lab and various hands on projects, students will investigate the nature of matter, the nature of energy, forces and motion, and historical perspectives. Some of the topics covered include: atomic structure, bonding forces, radioactivity, periodic table, pH, energy, waves, motion and various theories.

Concepts of Chemistry 10 – Regular: 1 Credit

Chemistry is the study of matter and how it changes. This course is designed to help the student  discover and understand the principles of  physical science and notice the chemistry that is present  all around us in our everyday lives.  A focus on observation of matter  through labs and group activities, will enrich the student’s  learning and understanding the fundamentals of chemistry. Problem solving math is explored but is not an integral part of the curriculum.

Homework requirement: 3 hours per week

Chemistry 10 – Regular: 1 Credit

This is an introductory, college preparatory course. It begins with an in-depth study of the structure and properties of matter, the formation of chemical reactions, and the energy associated with these reactions. Other topics studied include kinetic theory, equilibrium, oxidation-reduction reactions, acids, bases, and organic chemistry. The homework and laboratory components of this course are extensive; however, the double period classes allow students to complete most assignments in-class.

Homework requirement: 1-2 hours per week

Chemistry 10 – Honors: 1 Credit

This first year Honors Chemistry course is geared for students with a strong math background. The topics covered in-depth include the structure and properties of matter, the formation of chemical reactions, the energy associated with these reactions, kinetic theory, equilibrium, oxidation-reduction reactions, acids, bases, and organic chemistry. Students collect and analyze data using the scientific inquiry approach to problem solving. This course is intended for the self-motivated students, and will strengthen independent problem solving skills.

Homework requirement: 1-2 hours per week

Physics 11 – Regular: 1 Credit

This course covers topics of modern physics that have been so important in shaping the world and modern society. Students study a wide range of topics including kinematics (the study of motion), Newtonian mechanics, conservation of energy, light, sound, electricity, and magnetism. Class discussion and lab activities are an exceedingly important part of the curriculum. Emphasis is placed on multiple representations of physical systems such as graphs, mathematics, diagrams, flow-charts, and motion maps.. In this course, students will build on their critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Homework expectation: 2-3 hours per week

Physics 11 – Honors: 1 Credit

In this Honors Physics course, the goal is to lead students to construct a sound background of Newtonian mechanics in terms of particle models. The class will extend these models to other situations including electricity, magnetism, waves and light. This process gives students a real scientific experience that will be helpful in future science courses. This class utilizes a hands-on approach to learning. All models and representations will be developed through experimentation; thus much of the student’s time will be spent developing labs and writing lab reports. In addition, class presentations are used to develop models from experimental data. Emphasis is placed on multiple representations of physical systems such as graphs, mathematics, diagrams, flow charts, and computer programs.

Homework expectation: 3-4 hours per week

A. P. Physics C: 1 Credit

Prerequisite: Honors Physics

The primary focus of this course is to prepare students for the Newtonian Mechanics and Electricity and Magnetism exams administered by the College Board in May. The first half of the course focuses on classical mechanics. Students will be expected to use calculus to solve problems, as the course progresses. New topics in mechanics that are not covered in Accelerated Physics include: rotational motion, air and fluid resistance, center of mass, and Newton’s law of gravitation. The second half of the course builds up to Maxwell’s Equations with significant use of calculus. Students expecting to take this course must have completed Accelerated Physics, and be currently enrolled in or have completed, A. P. Calculus.

Homework requirement: 4-5 hours per week

A. P. Physics 1: 1 Credit

Designed by the College Board, AP Physics 1 is an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course that explores topics such as Newtonian mechanics (including rotational motion); work, energy and power; mechanical waves and sound; and introductory, simple circuits. Through inquiry-based learning, students will develop scientific critical thinking and reasoning skills.

Homework requirement: 4-5 hours per week

A. P. Chemistry: 1 Credit

The AP chemistry course is a college level science course that prepares the student for the AP chemistry test offered by the College Board in May. Prerequisites are honors chemistry and department recommendation. The main themes of this course are: structures of matter,(atomic theory and atomic structure, chemical bonding), states of matter: (gases, liquids, solids and solutions), reactions(reaction types, stoichiometry, equilibrium, kinetics, thermodynamics), descriptive chemistry (relationships in the periodic table), laboratory(physical manipulation; processes and procedures, observations and data manipulation, communication, group collaboration, and lab report). The course emphasizes chemical calculations and the mathematical formulation of principles. The course includes a laboratory component comparable to college-level laboratories. A minimum of one double period per week or its equivalent is spent engaged in laboratory work. A hands-on laboratory component is required. Each student should complete a lab notebook or portfolio of lab reports. 5-10 hours of weekly homework are involved.

Homework requirement: 4-5 hours per week

A. P. Biology: 1 Credit

Prerequisite: Open to seniors and juniors; minimum grade point average of B in both Biology 9 and honors Chemistry 10 (or A in grade level chemistry) and departmental approval. Successful completion of summer assignment. In this college-level biology course, considerable talent and interest in science are necessary for success. This course teaches content in biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and physiology, with evolution as the unifying theme. Emphasis is placed on the scientific method and scientific writing through extensive laboratory work and formal lab reports. Laboratories include gel electrophoreses, fruit fly genetics, bacterial transformation, PCR, and plant and animal dissections. This course prepares students for the college-level examination of the Advanced Placement Program. Success on this exam may entitle students to college credit, advanced college placement, or both. This course meets 10 periods per week.

Homework requirement: 5-10 hours per week

Earth Science – Regular: 1 Credit

This course is designed as a senior science elective, serving as a capstone to the high school science experience. Students will study the earth systematically, beginning with an overview of earth science as a discipline then moving into details of the earth’s composition and dynamic history. The course will explore weather and other environmental forces and their impact on the earth’s waters and land. To enhance their learning and scientific thinking, students will conduct laboratory experiments over time, as well as doing independent literature-based research.

Homework requirement: 4-5 hours per week

Health Education: 0.5 credit

Health Education includes personal health (nutrition, mental health and stress management, drug/alcohol abuse prevention, disease prevention, and first aid) and consumer health issues. The course includes brief studies of environmental health, personal development, and community resources.

Homework requirement: 1-2 hours per week.

STEM: Research and Design: 0.5 Credit

Students will explore the multidisciplinary concept of STEM/STEAM and relate this to their own personal and professional goals. Students will pose a STEM/STEAM research problem and design an operational solution or simulation. Students will utilize both the Scientific Method and the Engineering Design Process in the development of their proposal and communicate their results to a specified audience at Ida Crown Jewish Academy.

Homework requirement: 4-5 hours per week

STEM:Architectural Design: 0.5 Credit

Architectural Design is a new one-semester senior elective course at ICJA where students will express themselves visually and showcase their creativity. Students will learn elements of design, architectural history, technical drafting, sketching, and 3D computer design. Students will engage in a critique of their architectural designs, the designs of others, and designs by professional architects. The course is project-driven and will incorporate field trips around Chicago, meetings with architects, and externally graded model building. Students will design at least two structures by the conclusion of the course. To create these models students will use cutting-edge technology, including virtual reality, 3D printing, and laser-cut modeling.

Homework requirement: 4-5 hours per week

STEM: Electronics/Telecommunication: 0.5 Credit

In this class the students will learn the fundamentals of electronics and telecommunication. This will include principles of electricity and how the basic components of resistors, capacitors, transistors and others components operate in a simple circuit. There will be hands on experience of building electronic equipment from scratch or from kits. All of this and more, will be learned through the introduction of amateur radio. Each student will progress though a well mapped out course that teaches the basics of radio and electronic theory and Morse Code. Towards the end of the course each student will take a required FCC examination that will earn them their own Amateur Radio License. With this license, students will be able to communicate with the world using a wide variety of different forms of communication.

Homework requirement: 4-5 hours per week

STEM: Innovation and Creation: 0.5 Credit

This one-semester course is designed around Ida Crown’s new and still developing Innovation Lab. The lab incudes a vinyl cutter and a 3D printer. Students taking the course will help determine what additional tools are needed. The class is designed to empower students to develop as innovators and creators. The instructor will facilitate student’s exploration of design and engineering principles that will enable them to create and design projects that matter to them. During the first quarter of the course, students will proceed through guided projects that will help students learn principles of design and practical use of the tools. During the second quarter, students will be expected to design and complete a personal project that showcases their learning and uses the tools in a useful and creative manner.

Homework requirement: 4-5 hours per week

Emergency Medical Technician

The EMT course studies duties performed by emergency medical technicians, following the National EMS Education Standards.  Contents include CPR, human anatomy, vital signs, ventilation, cardiac emergencies, resuscitation, automated external defibrillation, pharmacology, bleeding and shock, fractures, injuries, childbirth, lifting and moving of patients, legal and ethical issues.  Practical skill performance is heavily emphasized throughout the course.  This course is approved by Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and successful completion of the course qualifies students to take IDPH’s EMT licensing examination upon reaching the age of 18.

Homework requirement: 4-5 hours per week and some additional practicum requirements.

STEM: Introduction to Engineering: 1 Credit

This course integrates technology-oriented applications of mathematics and science into hands-on pre-engineering activities for students. Course topics will include: basic circuitry, electrical theory, computer programming, 3-d printing design, and project management. This course combines both theory and practice and allows the student to choose an appropriate level of complexity. Students complete multiple projects using Arduino boards that incorporates sensors of every variety.

Homework requirement: 3-4 hours per week

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