The Pius X Science program provides a variety of laboratory and inquiry-based courses designed to promote critical thinking and reasoning skills, as well as problem solving abilities and scientific literacy. The Science department aims to increase understanding of our natural environment and our complex technological and medical world to produce more informed citizens and to provide a sound foundation for students who want to pursue further study in science. The science curriculum provides a basic background in biology, chemistry, and physics, with opportunities for advanced studies in these areas.
College-bound students are urged to take biology, chemistry, and physics. Juniors and seniors may enroll for more than one science course.
- Physical Science
- Earth, Energy and Environment
- Accelerated Physics
- Anatomy and Physiology
- AP Environmental Science
- Advanced Chemistry
- AP Biology
- AP Physics (PACE)
- Academic Decathlon
Stories from Science classes
An eye dissection brought an Anatomy lesson into focus for students in Jenna Steenson’s classes. Students are learning to identify the parts of a sheep’s
Students in the AP Physics (PACE) class designed and launched paper rockets as part of a class lesson. They considered design, weight, length, aerodynamics, and
Students in Jenna Steenson’s Biology classes are gathering data to analyze, then reach an appropriate conclusion based on the data. In one scenario, students listen
Teacher Jim Bertrand has students explore the impact of drag and lift and wings and weight using a computer simulation in his Physical Science class.
PHYSICAL SCIENCE – 9, 10, 11 – (Yr. – 10 credits)
[Not open to 9th graders enrolled in Geometry, or students who have earned credit in Chemistry or Physics.]
This physical science course covers basic topics in chemistry and physics. Students will be introduced to scientific thought in these areas and perform labs to enrich their learning.
BIOLOGY – 9, 10, 11, 12 – (Yr. – 10 credits)
This course will cover topics in ecology, the cell and cell processes, genetics, evolution, and diversity of life. This course requires extensive and technical reading, therefore strong reading comprehension skills are recommended.
CHEMISTRY – 10, 11, 12 – (Yr. – 10 credits)
This general course in first-year Chemistry places special emphasis on atomic structure, the mole concept, the theory of chemical reactions, laboratory techniques, and properties of common compounds.
EARTH, ENERGY, AND ENVIRONMENT – 11, 12 – (Yr. – 10 credits)
[Prerequisite: Biology and either Physical Science or Chemistry]
This course introduces students to the concepts of Earth and Environmental Science. Topics of study include environmental issues, earth composition, rocks and soil, weather and climate, water issues, plate tectonics, geologic time and astronomy. The course will benefit those who are interested in the fields of geology, meteorology, agriculture or environmental science.
PHYSICS – 11, 12 – (Yr. – 10 credits)
[Prerequisite: Chemistry and Geometry]
This course will include the study of velocity, acceleration, forces, momentum, and energy. Students will perform numerous hands-on, inquiry-based lab activities and will complete several major projects, which typically include a timer, a toothpick bridge, an egg drop, and rockets.
ACCELERATED PHYSICS – 11, 12 – (Yr. – 10 credits)
[Prerequisite: Chemistry, Pre-Calculus or Pre-Calculus concurrently, Qualifying test score]
Prerequisite: Physics or Accelerated Physics Semester 1) The first semester of this course will include the study of velocity, acceleration, forces, momentum, and energy. The second semester of this course will include the study of fluids and thermodynamics, waves and optics, and atomic and nuclear physics. These topics will be discussed in-depth and at an accelerated pace. Students will perform numerous hands-on, inquiry-based lab activities and will complete several major projects.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY – 11, 12 – (Yr. – 10 credits)
Anatomy and Physiology is for students interested in health careers or in careers aided by a background in anatomy and physiology. The course will cover the physiological and anatomical levels of organization of the human body. Medical terminology, diseases, and disorders will also be part of the course of study. Laboratory work, dissections, lectures, discussions and field trips will be utilized. This course will prepare students for a college anatomy and physiology course. Students strongly interested in medical careers should consider taking Anatomy and Physiology as a junior to maximize course options as a senior.
AP ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE – 11, 12 – (Yr. – 10 credits)
[Prerequisite: Chemistry and Algebra II]
AP Environmental Science is a one-year course that will follow the Advanced Placement curriculum. The course will provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and man-made, to evaluate risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Laboratory work, lectures, readings, class discussions, research, case-studies, and field trips will be utilized throughout the course. At the end of the year, students will have an opportunity to take the AP Environmental Science exam to earn possible college credit.
ADVANCED CHEMISTRY – 12 – (Yr. – 10 credits)
[Prerequisite: Physics or Physics concurrently]
Advanced Chemistry covers topics in stoichiometry, nuclear chemistry, chemical reactions, organic chemistry, thermochemistry, etc. This course includes lectures, discussions, laboratory projects, as well as other activities that are arranged for the individual and group. This course is recommended for those wishing to pursue medical careers or planning a college major in Chemistry or Biology
AP BIOLOGY – 12 – (Yr. – 10 credits)
AP Biology will follow the Advanced Placement curriculum including interaction and energy use in biological systems, genetics and evolution. Laboratory work, lectures, discussions, field trips, and out of class reading will be utilized. At the end of the year, students will have the opportunity to take the AP Biology exam to earn possible college credit.
AP PHYSICS (PACE) – 12 – (Yr. – 10 credits)
[Prerequisite: Physics and Pre-Calculus] Taken concurrently with AP Calculus (PACE).
PACE (Physics and Applied Calculus for Engineers) is a double-period calculus and calculus-based physics course with an emphasis on engineering applications. This course will include the study of limits, derivatives, integrals, and series in calculus and the study of mechanics and electricity and magnetism in physics. Students will complete several major projects and will compete in the Pius X Machine Contest. PACE will prepare students to take the AP Calculus BC exam and the AP Physics C exams for possible college credit. Graphing calculator required. TI 83+ or TI 84 series is recommended.
ACADEMIC DECATHLON – 9, 10, 11, 12 – (Yr. – 10 credits)
If this course is successfully completed four full years, it may satisfy 5 credits of Science electives, but cannot replace Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
Academic Decathlon is an accelerated and intensive year-long course of study in science, social studies, math, English (literature, critical reading, and writing), art, music, speech and economics. A new theme focuses the study each year, so a student may take this course more than once. Students are encouraged to participate in at least one scrimmage the first semester. A select group of twelve students will compete in Regional, and if successful, State, and possibly National Competitions. Because students in Academic Decathlon must come from three academic levels (A, B, and C or below) as determined by selected portions of their GPA, students of varying ability and grade will be in class together. Grading standards for this course are adjusted for grade and ability. Summer reading is encouraged.