Science Courses

BIOLOGY I - SC310 (BIO)

Credit: 1
Grade: 9
Prerequisite: Prior completion of IPC or enrollment in 9th grade required

Biology is the study of living things. This course covers a variety of topics focused around five central themes: cell structure and function; mechanisms of genetics; biological evolution and classification; biological processes and systems; and interdependence within environmental systems. This program promotes scientific thinking through problem-solving, a process that encourages curiosity and careful inquiry. The teaching method will center on active student learning revolving around class work, group work, and laboratory investigations.

  • Credit: 1
  • Grade 9
  • Prerequisite: None
BIOLOGY I HONORS - SC311 (BIO)

Credit: 1
Grade: 9
Prerequisite: Grade average of 90 or higher in 8th grade science.

Biology I Honors is an advanced course designed for the first-year biology student who has the interest to pursue a major in biological sciences. Special emphasis is on three areas of study: molecules and cells; heredity and evolution; and organisms and populations. Pervasive in these three areas are eight major themes: science as a process, evolution, energy transfer, continuity and change, relationship of structure to function, regulation, interdependence in nature, and science, technology and society. Traditionally students successful in Biology I Honors have strong reading comprehension skills, and have a willingness to invest sufficient outside time for enrichment assignments.

  • Credit: 1
  • Grade 9
  • HONORS
INTEGRATED PHYSICS AND CHEMISTRY - SC301 (IPC)

Credit: 1
Grade: 10
Prerequisite: None

This course uses a laboratory approach to integrate the disciplines of physics, mathematics, and chemistry in the following topics: motion, waves, energy transformations, properties of matter, changes in matter, and solution chemistry. Knowledge of certain math skills such as graphing, basic algebra and problem-solving are essential. This course is encouraged for those students needing a solid background for both disciplines whether or not the student will be pursuing Chemistry I and/or Physics I enrollment. Students may not be concurrently enrolled or have passed Chemistry or Physics. IPC taken in the 8th grade will earn elective credit.

  • Credit: 1
  • Grade 10
  • Prerequisite: None
CHEMISTRY I - SC320 (CHEM)

Credit: 1
Grade: 10-11
Prerequisite: Credit for Algebra I and one year of high school science

This course is designed to look at both the practical and theoretical aspects of chemistry. Students will build on topics learned in previous sciences, such as unit conversions and laboratory measurement. Students will also conduct investigations to study a variety of topics that include nomenclature, reactions, periodicity, stoichiometry, kinetics, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry. There is a large emphasis on mathematical calculations and laboratory skills.

  • Credit: 1
  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
CHEMISTRY I HONORS - SC321 (CHEM)

Credit: 1
Grade: 10-11
Prerequisite: Completion of Geometry, Concurrent enrollment or completion of Algebra II and 1 year of high school science .


This course is designed to provide the student interested in enrolling in a college level class, either Chemistry AP at Westlake or later in college, with a strong background in chemical topics. The course will be taught at a rigorous pace, and the curriculum will cover the higher level topics of thermodynamics, equilibrium, kinetics, and electrochemistry. Knowledge of certain topics covered in physical science will be assumed, and if lacking, individual outside preparation will be necessary. The laboratory component of the course will be modeled after a college laboratory. Many of the labs will involve the use of technology in the collection of data.

  • Credit: 1
  • Fee
  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
  • HONORS
PHYSICS I - SC331 (PHYSICS)

Credit: 1
Grade: 11-12
Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment or completion of Algebra II

This course is an integration of the theoretical and mathematical aspects of physics. Students will acquire lab-oriented skills while getting an introduction to the fundamental laws of physics. Major fields of study are mechanics, energy and heat, electricity, waves, light and nuclear physics. Upon completion of this course, students may continue their physics studies in AP Physics 1, 2.

  • Credit: 1
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
AP PHYSICS 1 - SC332 (APPHYS1)

Credit: 1
Grade: 11-12
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Chemistry and concurrent enrollment or successful completion of Pre-Calculus

AP Physics 1 is equivalent to a first semester college algebra-based Physics course. Students are required to integrate their math abilities with science knowledge, reading comprehension and problem-solving skills in order to be successful. This course will cover in detail Newtonian Mechanics (including rotational dynamics and angular momentum), work, energy, mechanical waves and sound. This course will also touch on the following topics of fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity, magnetism, optics, and atomic and nuclear physics in order to satisfy the state requirements to earn physics credit . By the end of the year students will be prepared to take the AP Physics 1 exam. Upon completion of this course, students may continue their physics studies in AP Physics 2 (Beginning in 2021-2022).

  • AP
  • Credit: 1
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
  • Science
AP PHYSICS I & 2 - SC335 (APPHYS1 and APPHYS2)

Credit: 2
Grade: 11-12
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Chemistry and concurrent enrollment or successful completion of Pre-Calculus

* GPA points will be awarded for one credit only *

AP Physics 1&2 is equivalent to a full year freshman college level algebra-based Physics course. A steady pace is maintained throughout the year in order to master the objectives outlined by the College Board. Students are required to integrate their math abilities with science knowledge, reading comprehension and problem-solving skills in order to be successful. By the end of the year students should be prepared to take the AP Physics 1and 2 exams and/or the SAT II subject exam. In addition students will have the pre-requisite knowledge and skills to take future calculus based physics courses.  GPA points are only given to the first of the two-credit course.

  • AP
  • Credit: 2
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
AP CHEMISTRY - SC325 (AP-CHEM)

Credit: 1
Grade: 11-12
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Algebra II and Chemistry I Pre-AP or Chemistry I with an ‘A’ semester average. Credits earned through online programs such as the University of Texas or Texas Tech high school programs, that do not have a laboratory component are NOT satisfactory prerequisites for enrollment in AP Chemistry. The lack of rigor and content in these courses does not adequately prepare students for AP Chemistry.
 

AP Chemistry meets the needs of the student who plans to major in science, engineering, premed or other applied fields. Students who do not take the AP exam should be well prepared for freshman chemistry in college. Like freshman college chemistry, this course is lab- oriented and requires strong math skills and also non-math problem-solving skills. A strict time schedule will be adhered to in order to cover all of the required material before the AP test the first week in May.

  • AP
  • Credit: 1
  • Elective
  • Fee
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
ORGANIC CHEMISTRY - SC352 (ORGCHEM)

Credit: 1
Grade: 12
Prerequisite: Completion of AP Chemistry AND a minimum AP Chemistry exam score of 3, 4, or 5

This course is intended for seniors who have a serious interest in the sciences and are considering pursuing pre-med, chemistry, or biology majors in college. This course is equivalent to a sophomore level organic chemistry class offered at the university level. Students will receive lectures and assignments equivalent in nature to a college organic class along with labs teaching basic organic techniques. As with any college class, independent learning and self-motivated study are necessary for success.

  • Credit: 1
  • Elective
  • Grade 12
AP BIOLOGY - SC315 (AP-BIO)

Credit: 1
Grade: 11-12
Prerequisite: Successful completion of lab-based Biology I and Chemistry I; in addition to Algebra II.

Advanced Placement Biology is designed to be the equivalent of a college introductory biology course, and only open to Juniors and Seniors. Biology II AP meets the needs of the student who plans to major in science or an allied field as well as the intellectually curious non-science major. The course is designed to be taken by students after the successful completion of a first course in biology and chemistry. The syllabus was developed by the AP Biology committee. Three broad areas of study include molecules and cells, genetics and evolution, and organisms and populations. The textbooks used for the course are those used by colleges for their introductory courses. Laboratory experiments include topics and equipment used in college laboratories. 

  • AP
  • Credit: 1
  • Elective
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
ASTRONOMY - SC351 (ASTRMY)

Credit: 1
Grade: 11-12
Prerequisite: 2 high school science credits, Algebra I and Geometry or concurrent enrollment in Geometry

This course is designed to provide a broad overview of the universe and human’s place within it. The first semester emphasizes basic astronomical concepts such as light, gravity, measurements, and motion. In addition, students will study the formation and structure of the solar system, and study the Earth/Moon system and each of the other worlds. The second semester emphasizes stellar astronomy which includes stellar evolution, black holes, star clusters, galaxies, the formation of the universe, and extraterrestrial life. The topics will be examined through both class work and the laboratory.

  • Credit: 1
  • Elective
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE - SC346 (ESS)

Credit: 1
Grade: 11-12
Prerequisite: 2 high school science credits, Algebra I and Geometry or concurrent enrollment in Geometry

Earth and Space Science is an upper-division science elective course that combines topics from other sciences, including astronomy, geology, climatology, chemistry, physics, and paleontology, in order to explain the processes that formed our universe, solar system, planet, and the environment around us. Students will explore the topics covered in this course using scientific inquiry and project-based learning.

  • Credit: 1
  • Elective
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
AP PHYSICS C - SC334 (APPHYSCE and APPHYSCM)

Credit: 2
Grade: 12
Prerequisite: Successful completion of AP Physics 1 & 2 and concurrent enrollment or successful completion of AP Calculus required

* GPA points will be awarded for one credit only. *

AP Physics C is a full-year course based on calculus to prepare students to take two Advanced Placement Physics C examinations.* This course covers the topics of vectors; kinematics; free-fall; two-dimensional motion; Newton’s Laws of Motion; friction; work; energy; linear momentum and collisions; rotational kinematics and dynamics; equilibrium; oscillations; gravitation; Coulomb’s Law and electric field; Gauss’s Law of Electrostatics and potential; capacitors and dielectrics; circuits; magnetic field; Ampere’s Law; Biot-Savart Law; Faraday’s Law of Induction and Inductance; Inductive-Capacitive circuits; Maxwell’s Equations of Electromagnetism. A two-week review for the Advanced Placement Physics C exams will be provided.

*Students who complete this course will be eligible to take both the AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism and the AP Physics C: Mechanics exams.  Students will receive 2 credits for this class, though GPA points will only be awarded for the first credit.

  • AP
  • Credit: 2
  • Elective
  • Grade 12
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY - SC340 (ANAT&PHY)

Credit: 1
Grade: 11-12
Prerequisite: Biology I Pre-AP and Chemistry I; Medical Terminology strongly encouraged

Anatomy and Physiology is designed to meet the needs of the student who plans to major in biological health-oriented sciences, or is an intellectually curious non-science major. The first semester focuses on the organization of the human body, embryological development, and support and movement. The second semester concentrates on integration and control, maintenance, and reproduction. The textbooks used for the course are those used by colleges for their introductory courses. Laboratory exploration includes topics and experiments used in the medical laboratory. Diagnostic procedures and results will supplement the lectures. Students will have research assignments each semester using peer-reviewed sources and scientific medical journals. A large animal dissection is required for this course.  This course receives the same weight as an Honors course.

  • Credit: 1
  • Elective
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
BIOTECHNOLOGY - SC316 (ADVBIOT)

Credit: 1
Grade: 11-12
Prerequisite: Biology and Chemistry

This course is an introduction to biotechnology including career exploration, history, and applications of DNA/RNA technology, molecular biology, bioethics, cell culturing, engineering, and laboratory safe practices. This course is supplemented with laboratory exercises, and demonstrations that illustrate the basic techniques of biotechnology. The course concludes with a consideration of bioethical issues relating to this powerful new technology.

  • Credit: 1
  • Elective
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
ROBOTICS III - SC356 (SCI/R&D2)

Credit: 1
Grade: 12
Prerequisite: Robotics II, and Teacher Approval
Note: Fee $275.00

This class, which requires extracurricular participation, is focused on the FIRST Robotics Contest program and contest teams. This class is designed for students wishing to increase skills and knowledge about aspects related to the robotics team including engineering, programming, leadership and shop tools. Students will participate in all robotics contests and serve in leadership positions on the robotics competitive team. Each student will be responsible for creating a portfolio about a research project related to the competitive robotics team. Students will be required to be full participants in designated work sessions and team meetings twice a week after school during Fall semester weekly meetings and on 4 weekdays and Saturdays during January-March. FRC students are expected to attend at least one tournament. FTC students are expected to attend all local tournaments. This course receives the same weight as an Honors course.

  • Credit: 1
  • Elective
  • Fee
  • Grade 12
AP ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE - SC341 (AP-ENVIR)

Credit: 1
Grade: 11-12
Prerequisite: Biology & Chemistry

This course is designed to be the equivalent of a college introductory environmental science course. The course integrates the sciences, including biology, chemistry, and earth science with the social sciences to analyze contemporary environmental problems, such as pollution, resource acquisition, biodiversity, global warming and overpopulation. Students will examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing these environmental problems. A strong laboratory and field investigation component is included. Students should have a willingness to invest sufficient outside time to engage in enrichment assignments.

  • AP
  • Credit: 1
  • Elective
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS - SC342 (ENVIRSYS)

Credit: 1
Grade: 11-12
Prerequisite: 2 high school science credits, Algebra I and Geometry or concurrent enrollment in Geometry

In Environmental Systems, students conduct field and laboratory investigations and make informed decisions using critical thinking and scientific problem-solving. Students study a variety of topics including biotic and abiotic factors; ecosystems and biomes; interrelationships between species, communities and populations; sources and flow of energy and matter through an environmental system; and change in environmental systems. Students will also examine alternative solutions to preventing environmental problems.

  • Credit: 1
  • Elective
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12
ENGINEERING - SC350 (SCITECH)

Credit: 1
Grade: 11-12
Prerequisite: Algebra II and concurrent enrollment in or completion of Physics I.

This is a high-level, hands-on science and engineering course. Through self and peer evaluation, Engineering requires students to interact verbally, in writing, and through improving the performance of devices. This course is designed to engage students in authentic engineering practices in a project-based environment. Students will complete a series of relevant design challenges to develop engineering design skills and habits of mind. This is a survey engineering course where students will work in design teams to solve challenges related to various engineering disciplines including mechanical; civil; electrical; systems; and reverse engineering. The course will require the purposeful application of engineering principles, along with relevant science, technology, and mathematics concepts. This course receives the same weight as an Honors course.

  • Credit: 1
  • Elective
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12