Brooklyn private independent school

Science


In the Upper School, students will experience science as challenging, and, along with their teachers, will learn to approach that challenge by working hard, thinking critically, and taking responsibility for their learning. They will approach both quantitative and qualitative questions systematically, and will make connections beyond the classroom. A well-rounded background in science is important, and our program provides students with opportunities to gain content knowledge and skills in several disciplines as well as to pursue advanced studies in particular areas of interest.

After taking biology in 9th grade and chemistry in 10th, juniors and seniors have considerable choice, whether that means pursuing advanced courses in biology, chemistry or physics, or content-specific electives in courses such as engineering and Anatomy and Physiology. Especially motivated students can take advantage of the research opportunities available through the Science Research and Design program as well as the equipment and expertise available in the new Beta Lab.

9th Grade

Biology I

What is life?
How can we account for its dual nature of unity and diversity?
What is the relationship between structure and function at each level of the biological hierarchy?
Why is nature vs. nurture an ongoing discussion?
How are body systems interdependent?
How does life share and recycle matter and energy?
How is genetics related to and responsible for evolution?

This course explores basic biological principles as well as current research in molecular/cellular biology, genetics, zoology (including human biology), botany, ecology, and evolution. Students work cooperatively during weekly lab sessions to improve their understanding of biology while learning and applying the scientific process.

Chemistry I

How does the study of atoms facilitate the understanding of chemical phenomena in our daily life?
How can the Periodic Table be used as a tool to explain chemical bonding?

How do intermolecular forces lead to the emergent properties of matter?
How does equilibrium affect reactions in solutions?
How are electrochemical phenomena explained by the transfer of electrons?

In this introductory chemistry course students learn the basic concepts of chemistry and the scientific approach to problem solving. There is a strong emphasis on laboratory experimentation and practical applications of chemistry in the everyday world. The course includes the following topics: energy, atomic structure and theory, bonding and the periodic table, as well as a wide range of topics in both environmental and consumer chemistry. It is designed to give the student an appreciation of the forces of chemistry in the environment and to build the chemistry foundation necessary for elective science courses.

Biología en Español

This course will mirror the current 9th grade Biology course both in content and delivery, but instruction will be done in Spanish. Student will have access to the textbook material in both Spanish and English. Homework worksheets and assessments will be written and completed in Spanish.

In order to enroll in this course, students need to demonstrate fluency in Spanish in an entrance interview.

10th Grade

Chemistry I

How does the study of atoms facilitate the understanding of chemical phenomena in our daily life?
How can the Periodic Table be used as a tool to explain chemical bonding?

How do intermolecular forces lead to the emergent properties of matter?
How does equilibrium affect reactions in solutions?
How are electrochemical phenomena explained by the transfer of electrons?

In this introductory chemistry course students learn the basic concepts of chemistry and the scientific approach to problem solving. There is a strong emphasis on laboratory experimentation and practical applications of chemistry in the everyday world. The course includes the following topics: energy, atomic structure and theory, bonding and the periodic table, as well as a wide range of topics in both environmental and consumer chemistry. It is designed to give the student an appreciation of the forces of chemistry in the environment and to build the chemistry foundation necessary for elective science courses.

Advanced Chemistry I

Advanced Chemistry I will be a fast moving first year course that goes into the most important fundamental concepts of Chemistry relatively quickly and in relative depth. Departmental approval will be required to enroll in this class.

Introduction to Science Research and Design

In this three-year sequence, students will effectively write their own essential questions as they undertake to perform their own original scientific research. They will meet in both small and large groups as they gradually become experts in their own fields of study.

In their first year (Introduction to Science Research and Design, which students take as 10th graders), students will read a variety of papers and articles as they learn how to dissect and understand scientific writing and as they expose themselves to many different fields of study. By the end of their first year, they will be able to read, understand, and explain journal level articles on one or two fields of study. The first year of the course will be graded on a pass-fail basis.

11th Grade

Advanced Biology II

Fall Semester: Molecular and Cellular Biology
This semester would begin by exploring the four classes of biological macromolecules (proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids), including their synthesis, structures, and various roles/functions. We will discuss bonding, intermolecular forces, and reactions that these molecules undergo. There is also the opportunity to explore how disorders can result from abnormalities at the molecular level (protein misfolding/mutations in DNA/errors in glycosylation). Using knowledge of these molecules, we will then explore the lives of cells, including organelles and functions, transfer of materials across the cellular membrane, movement, signaling/communication, and energy transformation (cellular respiration and photosynthesis).

Spring Semester: Genetics and Evolution
This semester would start with the explanation of sexual life cycles and the process of meiosis. We would then review Mendelian Genetics and go into more advanced genetic topics such as epistasis, pleiotropy, and the regulation of gene expression. After exploring the chromosomal and the molecular basis of inheritance, students will move from genes to genomes, which is a nice segue into evolutionary principles.

During the second half of this semester, we will study the mechanisms of evolution and the evolutionary history of biological diversity. Topics such as natural selection, population genetics, speciation and the history of life on earth would complete the course.

Advanced Chemistry II

This class will require departmental approval, and will cover aspects of Chemistry that require more quantitative ability and a greater capacity to see connections in different topics than would be typical in a first year course. This course will expose students to current research being done in a variety of chemistry-related fields and will give students to opportunity to practice more chemistry lab skills. Many units will cover material that students have not seen before, while others will go into more depth on topics introduced in the first year of chemistry.

Physics

How did the electric chair become a means of execution in the US?
How does a little battery make such a big flash in a pocket camera?
How do you make a flashlight that doesn’t use batteries?
How do you make a circuit that turns on when it gets light? What about when it gets hot?
Why do parachutes make us hit the ground more softly?
Why would a rocket work on Earth but a jet fail in space?
How do you throw the perfect knuckleball?
How can a spinning space ship reproduce gravity?
When is an electron like a wave of light? When is a wave of light like an electron?
Why does a fast moving ten foot pole pass through an eight-foot barn?

Physics is an inquiry-based course designed to enable and encourage students to think critically about the world in which they live. Students will be left with the understanding that Physics is an evolving field of study; they will examine physical preconceptions and misconceptions in order to come to a more complete understanding of how things work. The curriculum will be broad; students will be exposed to many different aspects of both classical and modern Physics. Topics may include Newton’s Laws of Motion, Electricity and Magnetism, as well as modern topics such as Special Relativity and Quantum Physics. Applications of concepts to life and history will be emphasized, and students will participate in laboratory practical activities as well as hands-on out of class projects. Chemistry is a prerequisite for this course.

Principles of Engineering Design

How can we become better “tinkerers”?
How can practical engineering skills be used to make artistic design?
What are the crossover engineering skills (mechanical, electrical, architectural) that need to be learned when taking apart a modern 21st century device or tool?
How can a student use backward learning (deconstructing/tinkering of built and intact devices) to uncover the scientific principles that s/he needs to learn to understand the operational properties of that device?
How does one use trial and error to uncover scientific principles and how does one use the same trial and error to come up with creative design and/or an aesthetically pleasing sculpture?
How does one marry creative thought with practical construction and mechanical or electronic design?
How can one apply elements of the scientific method to the concept of tinkering?

Much of our modern society depends on engineered artifacts to function, but many members of modern society are not aware of the engineering and aesthetic design techniques and practices that have developed the technology and infrastructure on which we rely. iPods, cell phones, airplanes, bridges, buildings, vehicles, computers, etc. are created by engineers and designers.

This course introduces engineering techniques and industrial design practices to high school students. Through an intentional “tinkering” or “trial and error” approach to learning, students develop practical skills in building. Students will experience the process of drafting sketches and blueprints of design, whether on CAD programming or by pen and paper. They will get the chance to learn from the tinkering process the key elements of engineering that are related to their tinkered object. With this knowledge, they will build objects of original design.

Advanced Scientific Research and Design

In this three-year sequence, students will effectively write their own essential questions as they undertake to perform their own original scientific research. They will meet in both small and large groups as they gradually become experts in their own fields of study.

During their second year (Advanced Science Research and Design, which students take as 11th graders), will learn the nuts and bolts of scientific research. By reading seminal papers in different fields of science, performing experiments and analyzing results, conducting scaffolded studies of their own, and visiting external labs, students will be well positioned to embark on their independent research projects. The second year of the course will be graded by letter grades. By the end of their second year, they will have established ties with external mentors or facilitators and they will have mastered several different techniques for analyzing and presenting complex scientific studies.

Biotechnology I

Biotechnology is the use of biology and technology to solve some of most current and urgent scientific and socio-cultural issues. In this course students will work via the basics of molecular cell biology and biochemistry to develop and master standard laboratory methodologies and their applications. Students will make real world connections between the techniques and tools used in class and current real world applications. Students will explore the business aspects of biotechnology through case studies and independent research projects. Topics such as government regulation of products, intellectual property, patents, funding, marketing and ethics will be discussed.

Environmental Science

The goal of this course is to develop students’ scientific and social literacy, creative problem solving and critical thinking skills with regards to the Environment. Students will be given an opportunity to apply their knowledge of Chemistry, Biology and the Social Sciences to the interactions we, as humans, make with our environment on a daily basis. As global citizens, students should develop a deep understanding of the impact of humans on the environment and an appreciation for the beauty and complexity of the world around us.

While learning about environmental phenomena and interactions, students will focus on several constantly overlapping main ideas:

  • The Earth is one interconnected system.
  • Energy conservation is the underlying factor in all ecological processes.
  • Humans alter natural systems.
  • Environmental problems have a cultural and social context.
  • Human survival is dependent on developing sustainable systems through improved practices and technologies.

Anatomy & Physiology

How is the human body more than merely the sum of its parts?
What are the necessary functions to sustain life?
How are cells and tissues related?
How does “form fit function” at the cellular level? Tissue level? System level?
How does disease and disorder upset homeostasis?

This is an intensive course that presents an in-depth study of the human body systems introduced in 9th grade Biology. In this course, students will investigate the basic structure and function of the human body with an emphasis on how the systems interrelate, maintain homeostasis, and the impact of disease. It begins with the language of anatomy, studying body tissues and membranes and then moves to the anatomy and physiology of each body system (i.e. skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular, nervous, etc.). Both Biology and Chemistry are prerequisites for this course.

Bioethics

What is ethics?
Can science be ethical or unethical?
Should scientists consider the moral implications of their fields of study?
What should take precedence when there is a conflict between society’s ethical norms and scientific endeavor?
When should ethics take precedence over science and vice versa?
Who decides and how do we decide?

While preparing seniors to become leaders in a global community, the goal of this class is to provide students with a framework to analyze the many difficult situations humans face in the 21st century. As science and technology becomes more advanced, biomedical dilemmas seem to get more complicated. Using their own moral compasses and theories in ethics as guides, students will be exploring case studies based on historic cases as well as current events. This class will begin with a study of the foundations of bioethics -- basic ethical theories, major moral principles, and medical practices. Information will be presented using the text Intervention and Reflection, as well as using many forms of media including journals, magazines, and newspapers. Possible topics include: Organ Transplants; Euthanasia; Genetic and Reproductive Control; and Research Ethics and Informed Consent.

12th Grade

Advanced Biology II

Fall Semester: Molecular and Cellular Biology
This semester would begin by exploring the four classes of biological macromolecules (proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids), including their synthesis, structures, and various roles/functions. We will discuss bonding, intermolecular forces, and reactions that these molecules undergo. There is also the opportunity to explore how disorders can result from abnormalities at the molecular level (protein misfolding/mutations in DNA/errors in glycosylation). Using knowledge of these molecules, we will then explore the lives of cells, including organelles and functions, transfer of materials across the cellular membrane, movement, signaling/communication, and energy transformation (cellular respiration and photosynthesis).

Spring Semester: Genetics and Evolution
This semester would start with the explanation of sexual life cycles and the process of meiosis. We would then review Mendelian Genetics and go into more advanced genetic topics such as epistasis, pleiotropy, and the regulation of gene expression. After exploring the chromosomal and the molecular basis of inheritance, students will move from genes to genomes, which is a nice segue into evolutionary principles.

During the second half of this semester, we will study the mechanisms of evolution and the evolutionary history of biological diversity. Topics such as natural selection, population genetics, speciation and the history of life on earth would complete the course.

Advanced Chemistry II

This class will require departmental approval, and will cover aspects of Chemistry that require more quantitative ability and a greater capacity to see connections in different topics than would be typical in a first year course. This course will expose students to current research being done in a variety of chemistry-related fields and will give students to opportunity to practice more chemistry lab skills. Many units will cover material that students have not seen before, while others will go into more depth on topics introduced in the first year of chemistry.

Physics

How did the electric chair become a means of execution in the US?
How does a little battery make such a big flash in a pocket camera?
How do you make a flashlight that doesn’t use batteries?
How do you make a circuit that turns on when it gets light? What about when it gets hot?
Why do parachutes make us hit the ground more softly?
Why would a rocket work on Earth but a jet fail in space?
How do you throw the perfect knuckleball?
How can a spinning space ship reproduce gravity?
When is an electron like a wave of light? When is a wave of light like an electron?
Why does a fast moving ten foot pole pass through an eight-foot barn?

Physics is an inquiry-based course designed to enable and encourage students to think critically about the world in which they live. Students will be left with the understanding that Physics is an evolving field of study; they will examine physical preconceptions and misconceptions in order to come to a more complete understanding of how things work. The curriculum will be broad; students will be exposed to many different aspects of both classical and modern Physics. Topics may include Newton’s Laws of Motion, Electricity and Magnetism, as well as modern topics such as Special Relativity and Quantum Physics. Applications of concepts to life and history will be emphasized, and students will participate in laboratory practical activities as well as hands-on out of class projects. Chemistry is a prerequisite for this course.

Principles of Engineering Design

How can we become better “tinkerers”?
How can practical engineering skills be used to make artistic design?
What are the crossover engineering skills (mechanical, electrical, architectural) that need to be learned when taking apart a modern 21st century device or tool?
How can a student use backward learning (deconstructing/tinkering of built and intact devices) to uncover the scientific principles that s/he needs to learn to understand the operational properties of that device?
How does one use trial and error to uncover scientific principles and how does one use the same trial and error to come up with creative design and/or an aesthetically pleasing sculpture?
How does one marry creative thought with practical construction and mechanical or electronic design?
How can one apply elements of the scientific method to the concept of tinkering?

Much of our modern society depends on engineered artifacts to function, but many members of modern society are not aware of the engineering and aesthetic design techniques and practices that have developed the technology and infrastructure on which we rely. iPods, cell phones, airplanes, bridges, buildings, vehicles, computers, etc. are created by engineers and designers.

This course introduces engineering techniques and industrial design practices to high school students. Through an intentional “tinkering” or “trial and error” approach to learning, students develop practical skills in building. Students will experience the process of drafting sketches and blueprints of design, whether on CAD programming or by pen and paper. They will get the chance to learn from the tinkering process the key elements of engineering that are related to their tinkered object. With this knowledge, they will build objects of original design.

Science Research and Design - Symposium

In this three-year sequence, students will effectively write their own essential questions as they undertake to perform their own original scientific research. They will meet in both small and large groups as they gradually become experts in their own fields of study.

In the third year of Science Research (Science Research and Design: Symposium, which students take as 12th graders) students will principally mentor and facilitate the research of younger students, finalize their own individual research, and write a journal article of their own reflecting their results. They will publish their paper in the Proceedings of the Berkeley Carroll Independent Research Conference and present their results at an internal scholarly colloquium.

Anatomy & Physiology

How is the human body more than merely the sum of its parts?
What are the necessary functions to sustain life?
How are cells and tissues related?
How does “form fit function” at the cellular level? Tissue level? System level?
How does disease and disorder upset homeostasis?

This is an intensive course that presents an in-depth study of the human body systems introduced in 9th grade Biology. In this course, students will investigate the basic structure and function of the human body with an emphasis on how the systems interrelate, maintain homeostasis, and the impact of disease. It begins with the language of anatomy, studying body tissues and membranes and then moves to the anatomy and physiology of each body system (i.e. skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular, nervous, etc.). Both Biology and Chemistry are prerequisites for this course.

Bioethics

What is ethics?
Can science be ethical or unethical?
Should scientists consider the moral implications of their fields of study?
What should take precedence when there is a conflict between society’s ethical norms and scientific endeavor?
When should ethics take precedence over science and vice versa?
Who decides and how do we decide?

While preparing seniors to become leaders in a global community, the goal of this class is to provide students with a framework to analyze the many difficult situations humans face in the 21st century. As science and technology becomes more advanced, biomedical dilemmas seem to get more complicated. Using their own moral compasses and theories in ethics as guides, students will be exploring case studies based on historic cases as well as current events. This class will begin with a study of the foundations of bioethics -- basic ethical theories, major moral principles, and medical practices. Information will be presented using the text Intervention and Reflection, as well as using many forms of media including journals, magazines, and newspapers. Possible topics include: Organ Transplants; Euthanasia; Genetic and Reproductive Control; and Research Ethics and Informed Consent.

Biotechnology I

Biotechnology is the use of biology and technology to solve some of most current and urgent scientific and socio-cultural issues. In this course students will work via the basics of molecular cell biology and biochemistry to develop and master standard laboratory methodologies and their applications. Students will make real world connections between the techniques and tools used in class and current real world applications. Students will explore the business aspects of biotechnology through case studies and independent research projects. Topics such as government regulation of products, intellectual property, patents, funding, marketing and ethics will be discussed.

Environmental Science

The goal of this course is to develop students’ scientific and social literacy, creative problem solving and critical thinking skills with regards to the Environment. Students will be given an opportunity to apply their knowledge of Chemistry, Biology and the Social Sciences to the interactions we, as humans, make with our environment on a daily basis. As global citizens, students should develop a deep understanding of the impact of humans on the environment and an appreciation for the beauty and complexity of the world around us.

While learning about environmental phenomena and interactions, students will focus on several constantly overlapping main ideas:

  • The Earth is one interconnected system.
  • Energy conservation is the underlying factor in all ecological processes.
  • Humans alter natural systems.
  • Environmental problems have a cultural and social context.
  • Human survival is dependent on developing sustainable systems through improved practices and technologies.

Advanced Physics II

An Algebra-based Physics course allows a cursory exploration of the following three themes:
  • Acceleration is the key to understanding motion. For example, if there is no acceleration, velocity is constant and the net force is zero.
  • All interactions are mutual and many interactive forces (such as Electricity and Gravity) can be described using inverse square laws. These forces have related expressions for energy and field.
  • Electricity and Magnetism are fundamentally connected, and that connection explains a lot of very interesting applications including, but not limited to, Special Relativity.
Advanced Physics 2 will generalize students’ understanding of those themes and by taking time to explore more phenomena and by using the mathematics of infinitesimal change (Calculus) to reach a deeper understanding of Algebra-based Physical concepts.

In addition, Advanced Physics 2 introduces one more fundamental theme:
Wave motion is the key for understanding transmission of energy at a distance as well as the behavior of very small particles in Quantum Mechanics.

Topics
  • Differential and rotational kinematics
  • Vector based conservation of momentum
  • Differential, vector, and rotational dynamics
  • Integral potential energy functions
  • Quantitative electric and magnetic fields
  • Kirchhoff’s Laws
  • Waves and Optics
  • Maxwell’s Equations
  • The Schrodinger Wave Equation