Science Curriculum

Science Introduction: 
With science and technology at the forefront of modernity and a global world-view, science courses at SMIC are designed to plant seeds of curiosity into the hearts and minds of students. After completing a course, a student will have a foundational understanding of how science works and the place that it has in our world today. Furthermore, students will be able to establish academic foundation that allows them to build connections between scientific concepts, their own lives, their communities, and the world at large.  With the combination of available contemporary technology together with more traditional pedagogical approaches, activities and experiments are designed to excite, engage, and provide students with opportunities to deeply explore science. Project-based learning, scientific inquiry, hands-on-learning, dialogue, and cooperative learning is emphasized in order to support all students in their weaknesses and to expand on their individual strengths.

Elementary Curriculum

All students have daily Reading, Grammar & Writing, Science/Social Studies, Math, and Chinese core classes.  1st through 3rd-grade students study core classes in their homerooms, specialized teachers teach Math and Science in upper elementary.

Middle School Curriculum

Grade 6

-How do plate tectonics impact the surface of Earth?
-How do people figure out that the Earth and life on Earth have changed over time?
-How do the materials in and on Earth’s crust change over time?
-Energy flows and matter cycles
-How does water influence weather, circulate in the oceans, and shape the Earth’s surface?
-Natural processes and the affects on society

Weather, Water, & Space:
-What factors interact and influence weather and climate?
-What is the relationship between humans and climate? How might it change?
-How do human activities affect Earth’s water systems?
-What is the history of water on Earth?
-What is Earth’s place in the Universe?
-What makes up our solar system?
-How can humans explore outside of Earth?

Grade 7
Cell Biology, Genetics, & Evolution:

-Microscope labs
-Organelles and functions
-Photosynthesis and cellular respiration
-Cell division
-DNA as genetic material
-How are genes passed?
-Project based learning
-History of life on Earth
-Extinctions and fossils
-Evidence of evolution
-Cooperative projects

System Structures, Ecosystem Dynamics, & The Human Body:
– Animal and plant classification
-Flower reproduction
-Scientific names
-How does energy flow in an ecosystem?
-How do huans interact with their ecosystems?
-How is food digested?
-Human body systems
-Interactions and relationships between organ systems

Grade 8
Forces, Work, & Energy:

-Velocity, acceleration, friction, momentum
-Newton’s Laws
-Fluids and Pressure
-Work and Power
-How are simple machiens involved in day-to-day life?
-In what ways is the human body like a machine?
-Humans and Energy
-How does matter behave?
-How does matter change?
-What is energy?

Atoms, Electromagnetic Waves, & Electricity:
-The periodic table of elements
-Trends, tendencies and behavior of elements
-Chemistry foundations
-Energy and waves
-Wave dynamics and interactions
-How is electricity generated and useful?
-What makes something magnetic?
-Electric revolution

Middle School Science Learning Outcomes:
-Cultivate and nurture a passionate scientific curiosity about the universe.
-Create opportunities for students to make connections between scientific concepts, themselves, community, and the world at large.
-Deeply Explore the nature of science through project based learning, inquiry, and cooperative learning.

High School Curriculum

Environmental Science (Grades 9 & 10)
This course will help the student to prepare for living in current and future society’s mixture of technology and mythology by presenting ideas and concepts about living systems and their environments. Policy makers and citizens are urgently needed to be aware and have a conscious understanding of ecological principles when exercising community responsibilities to handle the environmental problems of our times, such as water use, solid waste management, global warming, energy use, and conservation of irreplaceable natural resources, overpopulation, and the preservation of biodiversity. An understanding of biological and ecological principles and their application towards environmental challenges should give the student the confidence to be a trustworthy and active citizen, a conscientious steward of nature, and an agent of change for making a healthy, sustainable community and society. Regardless of the students’ field of study, as a citizen of both local and global communities, some environmental issues will impact their lives.

Biology (Grades 9 & 10)
Biology helps students develop a deeper understanding of biology by making connections visually across chapters and building the scientific skills needed for success in upper-level courses.  Themes discussed will include the chemistry of life, the cell, genetics, mechanisms of evolution, biological diversity, plant and animal form and function, and ecology.

Chemistry (Grades 10 & 11)
This course is designed to help students understand basic chemical principles and master problem-solving skills. Chemical topics covered in the course include basic science concepts, measurements, atomic theory, bonding, stoichiometry, states of matter, solutions, acids & bases, and nuclear chemistry.

Physics (Grade 11)
Physics is the study of matter, energy, and the interaction between them. The course exposes students to some of the major concepts in physics that they will encounter in a post-secondary physics course of study. Physics gives students the opportunity to develop skills and understanding of course concepts through lectures, discussions, experiments, and collaborative learning activities. It also allows students to develop strategies to enable and direct their own learning, which is the ultimate goal of education.

AP Environmental Science (Grades 10 & 11)
The AP Environmental Science course is designed to provide students with the scientific theories, models, and techniques that will allow them to analyze local, regional, and global environmental issues. A strong emphasis is placed on science, stewardship, and sustainability. Students will utilize critical, creative, logical, and reflective thinking to study and evaluate natural and human-induced environmental problems. The course requires an interdisciplinary view that ranges across the social sciences, ethics, politics, and many scientific fields. Labs, field trips, and special assignments are important aspects of the environmental science curriculum. Advanced Placement courses provide college-level material and instruction to prepare students for the optional externally-moderated exam in May.  Success in this exam can lead to university credit in the United States.

AP Chemistry (Grades 10 & 11)
This AP Chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first year of college. For most students, the course enables them to undertake, as a freshman, second year work in the chemistry sequence at their institution or to register in courses in other fields where general chemistry is a prerequisite. This course is structured around the six big ideas articulated in the AP Chemistry curriculum framework provided by the College Board. A special emphasis will be placed on the seven science practices, which capture important aspects of the work that scientists engage in, with learning objectives that combine content with inquiry and reasoning skills. AP Chemistry is open to all students that have completed a year of chemistry who wish to take part in a rigorous and academically challenging course. Advanced Placement courses provide college-level material and instruction to prepare students for the optional externally-moderated exam in May.  Success in this exam can lead to university credit in the United States.

AP Biology (Grade 11)
The AP Biology course is designed to enable you to develop advanced inquiry and reasoning skills, such as designing a plan for collecting data, analyzing data, applying mathematical routines, and connecting concepts in and across domains. The result will be readiness for the study of advanced topics in subsequent college courses — a goal of every AP course. The course provides college-level material and instruction to prepare students for the optional externally-moderated exam in May.  Success in this exam can lead to university credit in the United States.