Science

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.

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: 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: 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 percent 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 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 Collect Credit / 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.
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 LEDs, 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

.5 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

.5 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. 
 
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.