High School, Science


The Introduction to Biology course presents a comprehensive, modern view of life science. The main topics covered include ecology, biochemistry, cell biology, comparative anatomy, biological energetics, adaptation with respect to physiological functions, perpetuation of life through reproduction and development, Mendelian and modern genetics, and evolution as a unifying principle. Lessons are taught through planned lecture, discussion, demonstration, note-taking, and follow-up exercises. A series of formal laboratory activities reinforce and extend these lesson aims and topic areas. At both the onset and throughout the course, students will be taught the scientific method and the classic experiments biologists have performed to construct the knowledge base of biology. Many of the lab activities provide opportunities to both discover and apply biological concepts as well as to use current technology. This course meets 6 periods per week.


The Introductory Chemistry course presents a modern view of chemistry with major emphasis on physical concepts and understanding interactions of matter. The objectives of the chemistry course are to introduce tenth grade science students to the following topics: phase change and gas laws, thermodynamics, atomic structure, periodic properties, bonding and chemical reactions, chemical kinetics and equilibria, periodic properties, stoichiometry, acid-base interaction, redox electrochemistry, organic chemistry, and nuclear chemistry. The course is taught at a descriptive conceptual level, using demonstration to convey concepts wherever possible. A sequence of formal laboratory activities reinforce each topic and chemistry students are expected to become proficient in safely executing a lab protocol and eventually designing one of their own to test a given hypothesis. This course meets 6 periods per week. 


First-year Physics considers topics related to energy and matter, the principles that govern motion of particles and waves, and the interaction of particles. The use of mathematics as a “language” for describing physical phenomena and solving problems is emphasized throughout the course. For this reason, we delay enrollment into the course until eleventh grade when students have achieved a high level of skills in mathematics (algebra and trigonometry). The laboratory is used to derive and illustrate major concepts of physics. Students need to become skilled at performing laboratories and at analyzing data and formulating broad principles that account for the physical phenomena being studied. Students will be taught how to use spreadsheets to organize data and sensors to record data electronically. The major topics covered in this course include: mechanics, electricity and magnetism, wave phenomena, and nuclear physics. This course meets 6 periods per week for eleventh and twelfth grade students.  Recommended prerequisites: SC101 and SC201.

Environmental Science

Environmental Science is an elective science course intended to cover the principles and methodologies used to study the interrelationships between organisms and their physical surroundings and the impact of humans on the natural world. This course is necessarily interdisciplinary and depends on the successful integration of science with political, sociological, and economic issues. The underlying themes developed in the course include: energy conversions are involved in all ecological processes, matter must be recycled in ecological systems, ecological systems are all interconnected, humans alter ecological systems, ecological problems occur in a political, cultural, and economic context, and human survival depends on developing practices that allow for sustainable ecosystems. This course includes a laboratory component that allows students to apply and reinforce course concepts as well as an engaging field component centering upon environmental monitoring.  Field trips to local nature centers and municipal utilities are also integral to the curriculum. This course is offered to eleventh and twelfth grade students and meets 4 periods per week.

Marine Biology

The Marine Biology course presents a comprehensive study of the “­Water” Planet, Earth, and the dependency of organisms on the life-giving molecule. The chemical and physical properties of water will be reviewed and the geological and biological aspects of ocean environments will be studied in depth with an emphasis on marine ecosystems, major marine phyla/divisions, diversity and adaptation and the relationship between human society and the ocean. Underscoring these areas of study is an emphasis on conservation and protection of our resources. The greatest asset to this course is our island location and our proximity to the Long Island Sound, local watersheds, the Hudson River, and the Atlantic Ocean – and these locations will be integral to both lab and lecture components of the course. This course is open to juniors and seniors and meets 4 periods per week. 


The forensics elective course provides a perfect opportunity to conflate reasoning skills, the application of the scientific method, genetics and technology, with one of the most exciting career directions. The course quickly expands from basic skills in observation to the disciplined processing of data and crime situations, to ultimately the use of modern CSI techniques based on genetics, anatomy, chemistry, and physics. The formal lab program is adapted from institutions that are leaders in criminal investigation and discussions as well as forensic simulations stem from guest presentations from the field of CSI and classic crime cases, as well as reports from news and current events. The course culminates in the actual practical processing of a simulated crime scene. This course is open to junior and senior students and meets four periods per week.

Anatomy and Physiology

The Anatomy and Physiology elective is a co-accredited course under the auspices of a local university. Students completing the course with good standing earn four transferable college credits from State University of New York.

The course focuses on structures and functions of the human body in an organ system format and the maintenance of homeostasis. Topic areas include comparative histology, integumentary system, musculoskeletal system, digestive system, blood and cardiovascular system, respiratory system, nervous and endocrine systems, urinary system, reproductive systems, and lymphatic and immune systems. Mechanisms of diseases that plague human beings will provide one fertile area for student research which will be a strong emphasis. Discussions will be held pertaining to the impact of new genetic and technological developments, and lifestyle influences on maintaining health and avoiding disease. There will be a laboratory component featuring visuals, models, and dissections where students will get hands-on experience. This course will challenge critical thinking and ultimately will require students to apply their knowledge to solving and diagnosing real cases. Prerequisites: SC101.

Aviation and Aerospace

This course, developed by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is the first of its kind. It offers students an opportunity to learn about the world of aviation from its enthusiastic origins to modern air travel and its many career options. It features writing opportunities and rigorous math and science problem-solving that apply to aviation and aerospace, as well as science-related areas such as meteorology, aerodynamics and navigation. As such, it introduces meaningful STEM education into the high school environment and makes aviation more inviting and accessible. Students embracing the course will be directed specifically towards general aviation and the areas of study that constitute pilot competency: regulations in aviation, aeromedical factors, radio-communications, airmanship, and engine technology. Upon successful completion, students take the FAA written exam and enjoy their first flight, which we hope will be the first of many. The course is open to junior and senior students with strong academic records and meets four periods per week.

AP Biology

AP Biology is offered as an introductory college-level biology course spanning the breadth of the life sciences offered to highly-motivated students of strong academic quality. The curriculum, which has undergone recent redesigning and College Board approval, now stresses critical thinking and application of biological concepts in the context of four “big ideas.” The thematic approach makes study areas more meaningful as students make connections across the syllabus. Ultimately, students will develop a conceptual understanding of modern biology emphasizing applications of biological knowledge, scientific methodology, techniques and critical thinking. These tools will help students understand themselves and the living world around them and better prepare them for the scientific, environmental and social changes that will be a prominent part of their future. It is important to note that the conceptual framework of this course is based on the current ideals of evolution as the underlying foundation for all biological principles.

AP Biology includes rewritten crucial laboratory exercises suggested by the College Board as well as several other labs deemed both important and helpful. After-school laboratory and classroom sessions are often scheduled to meet course requirements. In addition to work using the assigned textbook, students are required to study and master many forms of text supplementation, including online sources and current scientific literature.  All students are expected to take the AP Biology Exam and highly encouraged to take the SAT II Subject Test in Biology. This course, open to junior and senior students of high academic caliber, meets 7 periods per week. Prerequisites: SC101 and SC201.

AP Chemistry

AP Chemistry is designed to offer a rigorous and challenging course that covers the chemical principles typical of college and university general chemistry courses. AP Chemistry students will be expected to reinforce classroom-taught principles through traditional practice assignments and on-line activities. All are expected to take the AP Chemistry Exam and maintain a laboratory notebook. The topic areas covered in this course are: matter and energy, molecular orbital theory, nuclear energy, electrochemistry, stoichiometry, atomic structure, electron energy transitions, kinetics and equilibria, and acid-base theories.  These topics have been reworked to emphasize the major themes and concepts of advanced chemistry in compliance with the redesign mandated by the College Board. There are twelve required laboratories, several of which are inquiry-based, and students must submit detailed, college-level reports for each. After-school laboratory and classroom sessions are often a required part of the course. The course is open to junior and senior students of high academic caliber and meets 7 periods per week. Prerequisites: SC101 and SC201.

AP Physics C

This is a calculus-based physics course that demands a strong mathematics background. The course emphasizes the broad field of mechanics typical of a college-level course and delves deeply into topic areas such as kinematics, dynamics, momentum, energy, rotations, gravitation, and oscillations. The laboratory is used to derive and illustrate major concepts of physics and to compare these idealized mathematical concepts, theories and laws with the real world phenomena. AP Physics students need to develop skills in performing laboratory activities with computer interfaces and analyzing data. Problem solving is an important part of the class and, as such, practice applications will be assigned. The course is open to senior students and meets 6 periods per week. Corequisites: Calculus AB or BC.