• SCIENCE
    Dept. Chairperson: Henry Pizzonia

    To graduate and earn a Regents Diploma: Students MUST earn three units of credit in science.
    The three credits must include one Living Environment credit and one Physical Setting credit –
    Earth Science, Chemistry, or Physics. The third credit may come from taking another science
    course ending in a Regents exam, Elements of Chemistry and Physics, Basic Physics, a science
    elective, or an MST course. All students must take a Science Regents exam and earn a grade of 65
    or better.
    To earn an Advanced Regents Diploma: Students MUST earn three units of credit in science. The
    three credits must include one Living Environment credit and one Physical Setting credit – Earth
    Science, Chemistry, or Physics. The third credit may come from taking another science course
    ending in a Regents exam, Elements of Chemistry and Physics, a science elective, or an MST
    course. Students must take two science Regents exams, one in the Living Environment and one
    from the Physical Setting (Earth Science, Chemistry, or Physics) and earn grades of 65 or better on
    both exams.
    NOTE: The New York State Education Department mandates that all students taking Regents
    laboratory courses complete a laboratory requirement in order to sit for the Regents exam. To
    complete the laboratory requirement, a Valley Central student must produce satisfactorily written
    reports of the work accomplished during 90 laboratory periods (3,600 total minutes). The written
    reports must be satisfactorily completed by the deadline established by the Valley Central Science
    Department. Students and parents will be informed of the deadline.


    THE LIVING ENVIRONMENT

    1 UNIT OF CREDIT
    The Living Environment course of study will focus on understanding important biological
    relationships, processes and mechanisms, and the application of biological concepts. Major course
    topics include ecology, cell biology, cell biochemistry, the maintenance of homeostasis in animals
    and plants, human anatomy and physiology, genetics and evolution. Students are required to do
    extensive microscope and lab work including labs required by New York State, which will be tested
    on the Regents exam. Students MUST satisfactorily complete all required laboratory experiences in
    order to sit for the Regents exam.

    THE LIVING ENVIRONMENT AD

    1 UNIT OF CREDIT

    This Living Environment Advanced course of study is designed for students who can learn at an
    accelerated pace. The course focus is the understanding important biological relationships,
    processes and mechanisms, and the application of biological concepts. Major course topics include
    ecology, cell biology, cell biochemistry, the maintenance of homeostasis in animals and plants,
    human anatomy and physiology, genetics and evolution. The level of difficulty in the Advanced
    course is designed to offer a challenge to capable students. As such, course concepts will be
    examined in greater detail and at a level that far exceeds the Regents course of study. The quantity
    of material studied as well as the level of expectation of assignments must reflect a greater depth of
    understanding on the part of the student. Students in the Advanced course are also expected to
    participate more and willingly meet the additional challenge. Students MUST satisfactorily complete
    all required laboratory experiences in order to sit for the Regents examination.
    Prerequisite: Students must successfully complete 8th grade science with a grade of 85 or
    higher and teacher recommendation.

    THE LIVING ENVIRONMENT - ACADEMIC INTERVENTION SERVICES (AIS)

    NO CREDIT
    This AIS science course is designed to provide students with assistance in mastering The Living
    Environment/Regents Biology course of study and Regents exam. The course meets on alternate
    days.



    THE PHYSICAL SETTING: EARTH SCIENCE

    1 UNIT OF CREDIT
    The Physical Setting/Earth Science course of study is designed to encourage students to understand
    the processes of change in earth and space through first-hand observation and inference.
    Throughout the various units, including Rocks and Minerals, Earthquakes, Landscapes, Geological
    History, Meteorology and Astronomy, emphasis is placed on scientific inquiry an analysis of data
    relevant to the NYS Learning Standards. Students will be taught to formulate questions that relate to
    their experiences and to use their acquired skills to investigate these questions. Throughout the
    year, timely environmental issues such as global warming and environmental pollution will be
    explored, with an emphasis on how we interact with the planet Earth, and our responsibility to
    understand and value our natural environment. Students MUST satisfactorily complete all required
    laboratory experiences in order to sit for the Regents examination.
    Prerequisite: Students must have passed the Living Environment course or be taking Living
    Environment concurrently with Earth Science.

    THE PHYSICAL SETTING: EARTH SCIENCE AD

    1 UNIT OF CREDIT
    The Physical Setting/Earth Science Advanced course of study is designed for students who can learn
    at an accelerated pace. The course focus encourages students to understand the processes of
    change in earth and space through first-hand observation and inference. Throughout the various
    units, including Rocks and Minerals, Earthquakes, Landscapes, geological History, Meteorology and
    Astronomy, emphasis is placed on scientific inquiry and analysis of data relevant to the NYS
    Learning Standards. Students will be taught to formulate questions that relate to their experiences

    and to use their acquired skills to investigate these questions. Throughout the year, timely
    environmental issues such as global warming and environmental pollution will be explored, with an
    emphasis on how we interact with the planet Earth, and our responsibility to understand and value
    our natural environment. The level of difficulty in the Advanced course is designed to offer a
    challenge to capable students. As such, course concepts will be examined in greater detail and at a
    level that far exceeds the Regents course of study. The quantity of material studied as well as the
    level of expectation of assignments must reflect a greater depth of understanding on the part of the
    student. Students in the Advanced course are also expected to participate more and willingly meet
    the additional challenge. Students MUST satisfactorily complete all required laboratory experiences
    in order to sit for the Regents examination.
    Prerequisite: Students must have mastered the Living Environment course with an
    unweighted average of 85 or higher, an 80 or higher on the Living Environment Regents exam
    and permission of their Living Environment teacher.

    EARTH SCIENCE - ACADEMIC INTERVENTION SERVICES (AIS)

    NO CREDIT
    Earth Science Academic Intervention This AIS science course is designed to provide students with
    assistance in mastering the Physical Setting/Regents Earth Science course of study and Regents
    exam. The course meets on alternate days.



    THE PHYSICAL SETTING: CHEMISTRY

    1 UNIT OF CREDIT
    The Physical Setting/Chemistry course of study is intended to provide the student with an
    understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects of chemistry and the ability to handle
    equipment and chemicals safely. This course is intended for average and above average students
    with a history of successfully completing Regents level Science courses. The topics in chemistry
    include: matter and energy, atomic structure, bonding, the periodic table, mathematics of
    chemistry, kinetics and equilibrium acids and bases, redox and electrochemistry, nuclear chemistry
    and organic chemistry. There are five lecture periods each week plus a chemistry lab that meets
    alternate days each week. Students MUST satisfactorily complete all required laboratory
    experiences in order to sit the Regents examination. Prerequisite: Successful completion of
    Regents Geometry or concurrent enrollment in Geometry AD. Students must also have
    successfully completed Regents Earth Science and passed the NYS Earth Science Regents
    exam. Earth Science AD students may concurrently take Regents Chemistry with permission
    of their science teacher. Any student not meeting these criteria needs permission of the Science
    Department Chair.

    ELEMENTS OF SCIENCE

    1 UNIT OF CREDIT
    Available as an alternative or introduction to Physical Setting/Chemistry, this course covers the basic
    concepts of chemistry and physics as outlined in the New York State Learning Standards in
    Mathematics, Science and Technology. The chemistry portion of the curriculum, comprising 50% of
    the course, covers the basic nature, composition and structure of matter, elements, compounds and

    mixtures, the types of chemical reactions, solutions, and the properties of acids, bases, and salts. In
    the physics portion of the course, which encompasses the remaining 50% of the curriculum, the
    main topics include magnetism and electricity, heat, light, and sound. The course will begin with a
    review of the scientific method and metric system. There is no state-mandated laboratory
    component for this course. Laboratory work, done at the discretion of the teacher, will be
    incorporated within the regularly scheduled class period. Recommended: Students must have
    successfully completed the Living Environment and Earth Science courses or be taking Earth
    Science concurrently with Elements of Science


    BASIC PHYSICS

    1 UNIT OF CREDIT
    This course is designed as an alternative to Physical Setting/ Physics. Mathematical skills are
    necessary, but are more limited than in Regents Physics, and are mostly algebraic in nature. Topics
    covered include scientific notation, metric system measurement, graphing, kinetics, dynamics,
    harmonic motion, circular and projectile motion magnetism electricity, laws of gravitation and
    energy. There will be an emphasis on applying physics principles, concepts and skills to robotics
    based projects. Students will be expected to work cooperatively to design and construct simple
    devices and to problem solve. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Physical Setting/Regents
    Chemistry(passing) or successful completion of Elements of Science with a 75 average.

    THE PHYSICAL SETTING: PHYSICS

    1 UNIT OF CREDIT
    This course of study for The Physical Setting/Physics presents a modern view of physics with
    emphasis on both theoretical and practical aspects. The five core areas studied are mechanics,
    energy, electricity and magnetism, wave phenomena and atomic and nuclear physics. There are five
    lectures and alternate day laboratory periods scheduled each week. Students must meet the
    minimum number of completed lab requirements to be admitted to The Physical Setting/Regents
    Physic exam. Students MUST satisfactorily complete all required laboratory experiences in order to
    sit for the Regents examination. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Algebra 2 and
    Trigonometry R or concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2 and Trigonometry AD. Successful
    completion of Regents Chemistry with a grade of 75 or higher. Advanced students may
    concurrently take Regents Chemistry and Regents Physics with permission of their science
    teacher.

    ELECTIVES and ADVANCED CLASSES

    ADVANCED PLACEMENT BIOLOGY

    1 UNIT OF CREDIT
    The Advanced Placement Biology course is designed to be taken by students after the mastery of a
    first course in high school biology and high school chemistry. It aims to provide students with the
    conceptual framework, factual knowledge and analytical skills necessary to deal critically with the
    rapidly changing science of biology. Three basic areas of study are included in the course: molecules
    and cells, genetics and evolutions, organisms and populations. Students will take the Advanced
    Placement exam at the end of the course which may permit them to be eligible to receive college
    credit. Five lecture periods meet each week. In addition, Advanced Placement Biology lab meets
    every other day. Prerequisite: Successful completion of The Physical Setting/Chemistry and
    passing grade on the Chemistry Regents exam or approval by administration. Advanced
    Placement science students are expected to complete the 4 Regents Science courses (Living
    Environment, Earth Science, Chemistry and Physics) prior to graduation.

    ADVANCED PLACEMENT CHEMISTRY

    1 UNIT OF CREDIT
    The Advanced Placement Chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of the first year college
    general chemistry course. Students should attain a depth of understanding of fundamentals and a
    competence in dealing with chemical problems. The course requires students to think clearly and
    express their ideas logically, both in writing and speaking. There is an emphasis on chemical
    calculations and mathematical formulation or principles. Extensive laboratory experiences are
    required accompanied by formal written laboratory reports to be submitted by each student. The
    topics covered in depth during the course are: structure of matter, states of matter, chemical
    reactions, descriptive chemistry and laboratory. Students MUST have a mastery of Regents
    Chemistry and Math 11R. Students will take the Advance Placement Chemistry exam at the end of
    the course and may be eligible for college credit in chemistry.
    Prerequisite: Successful completion of The Physical Setting/Chemistry and Algebra 2 and Trig
    R or AD with an unweighted grade of 80 or higher in both courses. Additionally, students
    must have a passing grade of 75 or higher on the Chemistry Regents. Students who have
    successfully completed Geometry AD with an 85 or higher may also enroll with permission of
    science teacher. Advanced Placement Science students are expected to complete the 4
    Regents Science courses (Living Environment, Earth Science, Chemistry and Physics) prior to
    graduation.

    ADVANCED PLACEMENT PHYSICS (Calculus-based)

    1 UNIT OF CREDIT
    AP Physics (C) is a calculus-based course, which includes the topic of Newtonian mechanics. A good
    working knowledge of algebra and trigonometry is required for this course. Additionally, the basic
    ideas of calculus will be introduced in connection with such physical concepts as motion, work and
    energy. Understanding of basic principles and the ability to apply these principles in the solution of
    problems will be the major goals of this course. The course is representative of topics covered in

    similar calculus-based college courses. Students will take the Advanced Placement Physics (C) exam
    at the end of the course and may be eligible for college credit in physics.
    Prerequisite: Successful completion of The Physical Setting/Physics with a grade of 80 or
    higher. Students must also have successfully completed or concurrently be taking College
    Algebra and Trigonometry. Advanced Placement Science students are expected to complete
    the 4 Regents Science courses (Living Environment, Earth Science, Chemistry and Physics)
    prior to graduation.

    SCIENCE RESEARCH

    12 COLLEGE CREDITS / 1 HS CREDIT PER YEAR
    This three year program commencing during the sophomore year gives students the opportunity to
    participate in the community of scientific research and scholarship as part of their high school
    experience. Students choose and explore a topic of interest. The topic may come from the natural
    sciences or the social sciences. Students develop skills in using electronic mail and the Internet, as
    well as learn to conduct on-line bibliographic searches of a wide range of databases. Each year of
    the program requires the accomplishment of specific goals, leading to designing and conducting an
    original experiment, data collection and analysis, and the writing of a formal research paper. During
    their Senior year, students will enter their work in such competitions as the Intel Science Talent
    Search and the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. Seniors also attempt to have their work
    published. Note: In addition to school credit, students may elect to gain college credit through the
    State University at Albany (fees required) for participation in their sophomore summer (2 credits),
    junior year (4 credits), junior summer (2 credits) and senior year (4 credits.) Science Research is
    taken in addition to, and not in replacement of, existing science requirements.

    INTRODUCTION TO ENGINEERING: SCIENCE OF DESIGN

    ½ UNIT OF CREDIT
    There is a world-wide and local demand for students to achieve and demonstrate strong math and
    science skills. Engineering has its roots in science and math and has become one of the highest in-
    demand professions in today’s job market. Engineering supports a variety of areas that include but
    are not limited to forensics, acoustical engineering, energy conversion, fluid dynamics, and so much
    more. The Science of Design is intended to give a broad introduction to the engineering discipline to
    those with little or no exposure to the subject. It will provide a foundation for further study in
    engineering. The four key areas of focus will include environment and ecology, digital
    manufacturing, robotics, and aerospace engineering.
    In order to illustrate the engineering and scientific principles, this course will explore the
    foundations of engineering through a multi-sensory environment that will encompass hands on
    problem solving, case studies and construction. They will work both individually and in teams to
    explore the broad range of topics. Projects will include building your own robot, constructing flying
    vehicles, understand and utilize 3-D design and engineer their own greenhouse. Students are
    expected to have 2 years of high school math and 2 years of high school science as pre-
    requisites to entering the course.

    HEALTH SCIENCES

    1 UNIT OF CREDIT
    This course presents the student with an explanation of the structure of the human body and its
    processes, Anatomy and Physiology. The skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, and

    respiratory systems will be comprehensively addressed. The digestive, excretory and immune
    systems will be introduced. Sub-Units addressed in this course will be Biomechanics, Kinesiology,
    Health and Nutrition, Physical Fitness Assessment and Training, Sports Medicine, and Future
    Careers in the Health Sciences. This course is appropriate for students intending to enter the health
    profession, such as; Biomedical Engineering, Dentistry, EMT, Nursing, Pharmacology, Physical
    Therapy, Athletic Training, Veterinary Medicine and should be considered an introduction to college-
    level work in this area. Where possible, the subject matter is enhanced by laboratory investigation.
    This course is especially beneficial for a student considering a medical career.
    Prerequisite: Successful completion of Biology/The Living Environment Regents

    DIGITAL ELECTRONICS AND ROBOTICS

    1 UNIT OF CREDIT
    Students will be introduced to basic computer programming. They will write and manipulate simple
    programs written in C++ language for use with an Arduino open source microcontroller. The basics
    of digital electronics will also be covered. Specific topics and concepts that will be covered include:
    Analog, digital input and output, circuit design, voltage, resistance, pulse width modulation and logic
    flow. Students will progress from writing simple code to interact various sensors that detect a wide
    range of environmental stimuli. Devices include LED’s, light dependent resistors, pressure sensors,
    gas sensors, DC and servo motors. Interacting with an online community to solve problems
    encountered in the design and the implementation process will be expected. The final project for
    the course will be to design and construct a simple autonomous robotic device designed to interact
    and respond to the environment. This course will benefit anyone interested in electrical
    engineering, computer programming or generating creative electronic projects.
    Prerequisite: Successful Completion of both Living Environment and Earth Science. Students
    should also be comfortable with basic math skills.

    FORENSIC INVESTIGATIONS

    ½ UNIT OF CREDIT
    The Forensic Science class demonstrates a multidisciplinary approach with interrelated concepts
    across all subject areas and establishes the application of science to criminal and civil laws. The
    class is designed with students working in teams to solve crimes using scientific knowledge and
    reasoning. It involves all areas of science including biology, anatomy, chemistry, physics, and earth
    science with an emphasis in complex reasoning and critical thinking. In addition, students must
    incorporate the use of technology, communication skills, language arts, art, family and consumer
    science, mathematics and social studies. Being able to work as a cohesive member of a team is vital.
    Prerequisite: Students must have successfully completed Living Environment, Earth Science
    and Chemistry or Elements of Chemistry and Physics and be comfortable with critical
    thinking, research and working together as a cohesive team.

    CRIMINAL FORENSICS

    ½ UNIT OF CREDIT
    Criminal Forensics is designed to provide students with a basic theoretical and philosophical
    understanding of the investigatory process as well as fundamental investigation techniques such as
    crime scene analysis, collection, preservation, and testing of evidence, use of technology, types of
    evidence, and the science of criminalistics while investigating interdisciplinary relationships with

    biology, chemistry, physics, art and history. Being able to work as a cohesive member of a team is
    vital.
    Prerequisite: Students must have successfully completed Living Environment, Earth Science
    and Chemistry or Elements of Chemistry and Physics and be comfortable with critical
    thinking, research and working together as a cohesive team.
     
     

    The Science Lab Requirement:

    The New York State Education Department requires that all students taking Regents laboratory courses satisfactorily complete a lab requirement.  In order to satisfactorily complete the lab requirement, a Valley Central student must produce written reports of the work accomplished during 90 laboratory periods.  The written reports must be of high quality and are to be turned in within the time frame specified by the instructor.
     
      Any student failing to complete the laboratory requirement faces severe academic penalties. Students not completing required labs are barred from taking their Science Regents examination. Barred students fail to complete an important graduation requirement and also receive a Regents exam grade of zero, which will be averaged into their final course grade. Additionally, since quarterly report card averages include laboratory grades earned during a marking period, a student’s quarterly grade average will be negatively impacted by the failure to complete labs. 
     
         Since failure to complete the lab requirement brings severe academic consequences, it is vital that students complete all laboratory work carefully, thoroughly, and in a timely fashion.  To ensure that your child is completing laboratory work, please contact your child's science teacher regularly throughout the school year.