Science

Our students understand that Science plays a central role in developing policies and personal practices promoting the health and sustainability of our diverse and ever-changing world.  The Tilton School science curriculum encourages students to get their hands dirty in learning about their world, testing out conceptual models in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, developing their capacity to employ Tilton’s Five Essential Skills.  The curriculum emphasizes sciences’ reach well beyond the lab—into mathematics, history, literature, art, government and the social justice issues confronting our communities and the larger environment.

The first part of a three-year curriculum, Conceptual Physics is a theme-based course. The themes, organized as major units of study, include: Mechanics, Properties of Matter, Heat, Sound & Light, Electricity & Magnetism, Atomic & Nuclear Physics. The development of Critical Thinking will be a major goal of the course. Students will learn through a wide range of methodology, with an emphasis on “hands-on” learning. A variety of means will be employed for evaluating and assessing student progress. Resources for the course include an introductory textbook, applied technology, films, computer simulations, and demonstrations. An honors distinction is available for 9th and 10th grade students through the completion of additional in-depth work.  There are no prerequisites for Conceptual Physics.

Biology is the second-year course in a three-year curriculum sequence of Tilton School core science. In Biology, topics include ecology, cellular structure and function, molecular genetics, evolution, plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. The course involves classroom discussions, lectures, investigations, weekly lab activities and dissections. Students will be evaluated on their understanding of concepts through a variety of assessments including written expression, problem solving, laboratory reports, and oral presentations. An honors distinction is available for  students through the completion of additional in-depth work.   There are no prerequisites for Biology.

The third course in the three-year science curriculum is an introductory chemistry course. Students will develop a solid understanding of the composition of substances (chemicals) and the changes they undergo (chemical reactions). Students will also be introduced to the major themes of materials, reactions, atmosphere and gases, atomic bonding, solutions, acids and bases. Examples from everyday life will be used to relate to the conceptual material. The course seeks to give each student an understanding and appreciation for the natural world around us and for the roles and effects of chemical substances in our lives and ecology. This course has a significant laboratory component which includes writing lab reports using a standard scientific format. Critical thinking skills as well as scientific communication skills are emphasized. Students are evaluated through a variety of means to assess their understanding, knowledge, and skills. There are no specific prerequisites for Chemistry, although Algebra skills at the Algebra II are recommended. If a student performs at a high level, this course can serve as a prerequisite for the AP Chemistry course.

The Advanced Chemistry course is an accelerated first year chemistry course. The course may be selected by students who have completed Biology and Conceptual Physics (or AP Physics) and have a strong interest and demonstrated aptitude in science, and the recommendation of their current science teacher. Students taking this course should have a strong background in advanced algebra topics. Advanced Chemistry supports the Tilton School mission in helping to prepare students for a science concentration in their college programs. Students mastering the understanding, skills, and knowledge in this course would be prepared for enrolling in the AP Chemistry course. With the recommendation of a science teacher and permission of the Division Head,  Advanced Chemistry can also be taken concurrently with Biology for rising sophomores who would like to prepare for multiple AP science courses in their junior and senior year.

 

Students will uncover chemistry topics in more depth and will get to some topics not generally covered in a first year chemistry class. Enduring understandings of the course are derived from concepts of atomic theory, stoichiometry, thermochemistry, chemical bonding, solubility, kinetics, equilibrium, and organic chemistry. This course has a significant laboratory component, which includes writing lab reports using a standard scientific format. Students are evaluated through a variety of means to assess their understanding, knowledge, and skills. 

In this class students investigate and design environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions in response to several real-world challenges that include developing climate-neutral energy alternatives to fossil fuels, ensuring food security for a growing world population, maintaining biodiversity in different ecosystems, supplying clean, safe, and abundant drinking water for the global community, providing for management of industrial, commercial, electronic and household waste, and other topics relevant to current global and local news.  Students demonstrate their knowledge of environmental science and sustainability through hands-on learning, activity and project-based team approaches, computer simulations, scientific field work and laboratory experiments, and site visits as they research and design potential solutions to these true-to-life problems.  Students compare and contrast diverse living environments and ecosystems, and the myriad organisms adapted to living within them, through both directed and independent lessons.  Students will also critically investigate past, current, and possible future environmental concerns and issues  as they develop a greater understanding of the interdependence of the parts of their world.

Anatomy and Physiology is an upper-level yearlong science elective course designed to meet the needs and interests of students who may pursue careers in sports medicine, health, exercise physiology, athletic training, or other medical or veterinary-related fields. The course is open to students with prior science coursework in biology and chemistry. The goal of the course is for students to learn the fundamental concepts, principles and knowledge of mammalian physiology. Some comparative work with other phyla will be included. The objectives include mastery of concepts and knowledge as well as attaining skills in organismal, organ and tissue analysis through laboratory work. Animal dissection laboratories will be conducted on a regular basis. Evaluation of student learning will take place through traditional means (quizzes, tests, lab reports) as well as through project presentations and authentic, practical skills assessments. An ongoing effort will be made to link student work with professional work in medical and veterinary research sites in the local area.

Science of Wellness is an upper-level elective that will focus on the health and well-being of the human species. Main units of the course include general health and wellness, sports medicine, human anatomy and physiology, nutritional science, psychology, the neurobiology of mental health, and mindfulness. Science of Wellness is a course that is relevant to each students’ personal life and growth as current topics will be uncovered and researched with applications to personal experience. Evaluation of student understanding, knowledge and application will be assessed through project-based assessments. 

Trimester 1: Nutrition

Trimester 2: Neuroscience of Mental Health

Trimester 3: Sports Medicine

Introduction to Computer Science is a full year course designed to introduce students to the fundamental concepts of computational thinking through the use of an industry-standard programming language. The course will adopt a hybrid online/flipped design to efficiently maximize the time spent in class while enabling the students to work independently and to experience certain elements of online instruction. Specific learning goals include: the process of writing and debugging a program, developing reusable solutions to similar problems, formulating problems in computational language, representing data through models and simulations, automating solutions through algorithmic thinking, and seeking efficient and elegant solutions programming problems.

Engineering is an upper level science course for students who have completed the core science requirements. The course is intended for students who want to investigate beginner engineer principles, specifically the engineer design process, and apply these principle to a project with an outside partner. The students will begin the year by practicing these engineering design principles, before applying these principles outside of the classroom. Students will meet with partners, travel to project sites, and contact outside experts to better the students’ understanding of the material. The final goal for the partnership project is for partners to use student work, and for students to see their ideas become fully realized and used in the world.  Evaluation of the students will be based on presentations, peer evaluations, and frequent feedback given by the instructor.

Advanced Placement Biology is a laboratory course designed for 11th- and 12th-graders that have sufficient background preparation in biology and chemistry. Entrance to the class is by permission of the science department faculty and the Academic Dean. Our studies focus on the four big ideas that are set by the Advanced Placement Biology curriculum. This course utilizes a rigorous, college-level textbook. Consequently, this course is both reading and writing intensive. There is limited time during the school year to cover the extensive material of the AP curriculum. Students who wish to prepare for the AP exam must make a commitment to independent work, including the prior summer and extended vacations. Students are assessed on daily class preparation, essay tests, papers of varying length, and special projects.

The AP Chemistry course is a rigorous and challenging one, equivalent to a general chemistry course taken by college freshmen. Receiving a good score on the Advanced Placement examination in chemistry may allow students to by-pass a similar course in some colleges. The course is designed for students who have done well in an introductory high school chemistry course. Students should have also completed a high school physics course or its equivalent before taking this one. A high level of mathematical sophistication is also required, and entrance to the course will also be determined by students’ proficiency in advanced algebra. Enrollment in the course is by permission of the science department faculty and the Academic Dean. The course content covers the major concepts of inorganic chemistry in both breadth and depth. Through consistent work and self-directed effort, students are expected to gain a fairly sophisticated level of understanding of concepts through experience in solving chemical problems and engaging in laboratory experiments. Success in the course means that students will have achieved abilities to think clearly and to express their ideas with clarity in their written work. Laboratory work is an integral part of the course, and students will be expected to write laboratory reports in addition to their regular assignments in the course.

The course has limited time to cover the amount of necessary material. Therefore, it will also be expected that students make a commitment to independent work, including the prior summer and extended holidays

AP Physics 1 is a full year course that follows the latest revision of the College Board curriculum. It is both algebra and inquiry based while focusing on the “Big Ideas” of introductory college Physics. Enrollment in the course is by permission of the Science Dept. faculty and the Division Head. The typical topics of a first semester introductory college level physics course are covered; kinematics, Newton’s Laws, rotational motion, harmonic motion, momentum, energy and work, electrostatics, DC current, and sound. We use a college level text and a College Board guidebook. Students are expected to take initiative in their work, independently solving problems and using available resources. A commitment to some independent work, including during the prior summer and on extended vacations, is expected of students in the AP curriculum. Inquiry based laboratory work is an important aspect of the course. Students will be discovering the important underlying concepts and mathematical relationships through this work. 

Students must have successfully completed Pre-calculus mathematics prior to taking this course.

AP Physics C: Mechanics is a full year course that follows the latest revision of the College Board curriculum. It is both calculus and inquiry based while focusing on the “Big Ideas” of introductory college Physics. This course serves as the foundation in physics for students hoping to major in the physical sciences or engineering and the subject matter is classical mechanics.  Topics include kinematics; Newton’s laws of motion, work, energy and power; systems of particles and linear momentum; circular motion and rotation; oscillations; and gravitation. Calculus is used freely in formulating principles and in solving problems.  Enrollment in the course is by permission of the Science Dept. faculty and the Division Head. We use a college level text and a College Board guidebook. Students are expected to take initiative in their work, independently solving problems and to use available resources. A commitment to some independent work, including during the prior summer and on extended vacations, is expected of students in the AP curriculum. Inquiry based laboratory work is an important aspect of the course. Students will be discovering the important underlying concepts and mathematical relationships through this work. Students must have successfully completed or be currently enrolled in calculus mathematics or be curren prior to taking this course.

 

At Tilton, student scientists learn by doing—designing and executing lab, working through problem solving investigations, debating environmental and economic policy implications and doing hands-on project work in the field and in the lab.  Whether through a chemistry experiment, an investigation of an ecological dilemma, a design challenge in Engineering, an internship with the Athletic Training staff, or a bridge-building project in Conceptual Physics, students create hypotheses, gather and analyze data, check assumptions, consider alternate points of view, generate reliable conclusions, and present their work, with special attention to the consequences and implication of their study and to the clarity, depth of insight and precision of their presentation.