BHS Science Curriculum

The science program stimulates students’ excitement for scientific inquiry through hands-on experimentation, observation and notation, while conveying an appreciation of the structure of the world in which we live. Hillel Academy’s science offerings include a strong foundation in biology, chemistry, and physics. Higher level science courses provide opportunities for students who wish to pursue a career in a science related field.

Biology

Biology is a course in the fundamental process of living things.  Students will be introduced to biological themes and concepts, including units on the Nature of Life; Ecology and the Environment; Cellular and Molecular Biology; Genetics and Natural Selection; and Scientific Classification. The class will use a combination of lecture, demonstrations, hands-on activities and formal labs to explore the science of living things. Students will have the opportunity to employ the various processes of science during instruction and laboratory activities and should be able to demonstrate their understanding of basic biological ideas.

Chemistry

Chemistry is an introductory course that is designed to familiarize the student with fundamental physical and chemical properties of elements and compounds. The class uses a combination of lecture, demonstrations, hands-on activities and formal labs to explore the science of chemistry.  Students will explain processes that are observed in the laboratory through laboratory reports. Instructor demonstrations, lectures, and laboratory experiments support the theory of chemical reactions and chemical processes learned in the classroom. The course includes units on matter; atomic theory; chemical bonding; the periodic table; equation writing; stoiciometry; gases; solutions and acids and bases.

Physics

In this course students will learn to pose and answer questions about matter, energy, motion, and the universe. They will have the opportunity to use lab equipment to explore natural phenomena in a group setting. Topics include Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Vibrations and Wave Phenomena, Optics, Electromagnetism, and Atomic Physics.  Over one third of the year is devoted to the first subject, mechanics. Students will use algebra, basic trigonometry, and calculus (12th graders only), and there will be a heavy emphasis placed on reading the text.

Chemistry - College in High School

This course  is offered in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh College in High School program. The full year class is equivalent to the University’s first term General Chemistry course and may be taken for college credit with registration and completion of the University requirements. The course is designed to provide in-depth exploration of the topics introduced in General Chemistry. It will include tests and labs conducted in-school and at the university. Assessments include frequent laboratory activities with required lab reports and  observations during lab activities. Grades for college credit will be based upon tests and labs given by the university supervising professor.

Advanced Placement Biology

This Biology course meets the rigorous requirements of the College Board’s AP Biology Course and offers students an opportunity to earn college credit. This challenging course moves at a fast pace and includes class work, laboratories, and reading. Students should be prepared to commit significant effort to meet the challenges of this course, including a great deal of lab work and independent study.

Earth Science

Earth and Environmental Science is a capstone course, designed for the upper high school grades. It includes elements of Chemistry, Physics and Biology in building an understanding of our Earth and its processes. After an introductory unit, other areas of exploration include: Composition of the Earth; the Atmosphere and Oceans ( including Meteorology and Oceanography); the Dynamic Earth; Resources and the Environment; and Astronomy. The class will use a combination of lecture, demonstrations, hands-on activities and formal labs to explore our Earth and beyond. Skills and foundational knowledge learned in earlier science courses are melded together to develop a fuller understanding of not just Earth’s processes, but also how scientific disciplines frequently overlap in the real world.