News from the Science Department

posted 2/6/18

Read the Article in the New York Times

Newly Discovered Form of Water Ice Is ‘Really Strange’

posted 2/1/2018

Congratulations to the WHS Chemistry Olympiad Team!  After winning the Tryout, they will be going to the local competition in early April:

(in alphabetical order):

Main Team:  Jackson Fitzhenry, Ezra Gordon, Jeff Liu, Lukas Muzila, Sasha Shashkov

Alternates: Rachel Garofalo, Jayme Leschly, Jackson Rogers, Zoya Tajuddin

posted January 29, 2018

Every year, parents from the Weston community come to WHS to help 10th grade honors biology students design and carry out an independent research project (IRP).

Each volunteer meets with student groups during each class period and counsels them on how to design and execute their experiments. The experiment designs are based on previous laboratory experiments performed by the biology students, and may span various science disciplines including biology, chemistry, materials physics, and engineering.

Check out this video from the WHS Engineering class. It is a trebuchette from Pumpkinfest on October 14, 2017.

Weston High School Science Course Selection

The Science Department offers College Placement (CP) and Honors (H) level courses in grades 9, 10 & 11.  Advanced Placement (AP) courses are offered only in the 11th and 12th grades.  All Science courses offered at WHS involve considerable lab work, analytical thinking and scientific writing.

Please refer to the course map on the back of this document and the written descriptions of courses in the Program of Studies for a more detailed understanding of the options for you next year.  Below are some important expectations to understand if you are interested in taking an Honors or Advanced Placement course in any grade.  Feel free to share this document with your parents as you make these decisions for your course selections next year.

Honors Physics

Requirements: Consistently produce A range work in Grade 8 science* (specifically on assessments and labs), high marks on the Physics Placement Exam, A range work in Grade 8 Math course*, and current science teacher recommendation.

Students in this course have a solid grasp of Algebra 1 skills, are independent learners (they tackle problems they don’t understand in many different ways before approaching the teacher for help) have a genuine interest in Physics and its applications, have a growing understanding of scientific writing and the scientific method/engineering design.

Honors Biology

Requirements: Recommendation from their 9th grade science teacher.  There is summer work.

Students in this course consistently produce A range work (specifically on assessments and labs) in a CP class*, or A-/B+ work in an Honors class*, have demonstrated resiliency and independent learning to their 9th grade Science teacher, have a genuine interest in Biology and its applications in life and the environment, have demonstrated a solid grasp on scientific writing and the scientific method/engineering design.

Honors Chemistry

Requirements:  Completion of either CP or H Biology, recommendation from their 10th grade science teacher. There is summer work.

Students in this course consistently produce A range work (specifically on assessments and labs) in a CP class*, or A-/B+ work in an Honors class* in BOTH their Physics and Biology courses, have consistently high marks in their 10th grade Math class, have a genuine interest in the connections between Chemistry and its applications in the world around us, have demonstrated resiliency and independent learning to their 10th grade Science teacher, have demonstrated the ability to decode and analyze complex data independently, are comfortable with abstract reasoning and problem solving and have demonstrated a clear skill in scientific writing and the scientific method/engineering design.

Advanced Placement Courses:

Requirements:  All AP courses require the CP or H subject to be taken prior to enrollment in the AP course.  AP Biology also requires the completion of or concurrent enrollment in Chemistry, and current science teacher recommendation.  There is summer work.  Important note for Juniors: Placement in an AP course is also dependent upon available space, as seniors take priority.

Students in these courses are expected to take the AP exam for their subject and are intensely lab and data analysis focused per the AP curriculum.  The content is fast-paced and students are expected to do a considerable amount of review/preview on their own, in order to use class time for lab activities.

 

WPS Science Course Offerings, Grades 6 – 12

 

 

     Grade 6             Grade 7            Grade 8                         Grade 9                   Grade 10               Grade 11                    Grade 12

science flow chart

Click to view the course offerings flow chart grade 6 – 12 in a Google doc.

About Grades 6-12 Sciences

Science is a discipline that builds knowledge and skills over the years, culminating in a solid understanding of scientific principles and practices upon graduation. Students are required to take three years of science and must pass a Science MCAS exam in order to graduate.
The science and technology program is designed to produce scientifically literate students who will understand the scientific method and the tentative nature of scientific truth. They will learn some of the major concepts, laws, and theories of the various sciences.

The majority of students follow the sequence: Introductory Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. For students who are ready for greater rigor, the department offers honors courses each year.

Eighth grade students whose academic record is clearly superior will be invited to take Honors Physics in the ninth grade. Students who excel in any science class will be invited to take an honors course the following year.

Curriculum

The science and technology program is designed to educate scientifically literate students who will understand the scientific method and the tentative nature of scientific truth. They will learn some of the major concepts, laws, and theories of the various sciences. The majority of students follow the sequence: Introductory Physics, Biology, Chemistry, electives or AP electives. For students who are ready for greater rigor, the department offers honors courses each year. Students who excel in any science class will be invited to take an honors course the following year. Eighth grade students are recommended for either CP Physics or Honors Physics in the ninth grade based on four factors: 1) science grades earned in the 8th grade; 2) results of AMC-8 math testing; 3) results of a test of abstract reasoning administered in the spring (GALT test); and 4) specific recommendation from the 8th grade teacher based on the student’s performance in class throughout the year.

For a full list download the High School Program of Studies

Grades 9-12 Standards

Meet the Department Head

Erica Cole,  Grade 6-12 Department Head

Ms. Cole holds a BA in Neuroscience from Smith College, a Masters in Teaching Science from Simmons College, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study from UMass Amherst.  She is currently enrolled in a doctoral program at Simmons College.  Ms. Cole began teaching at Weston High School in 2008 after previously teaching in Western Massachusetts for five years.  From 2010 to February 2014, she served as Assistant Principal at Weston High School.

10th Grade Biology Mentor Program

Every year, parents from the Weston community come to Weston High School to help 10th grade honors biology students design and carry out an independent research project (IRP).

Help enrich student Biology Research Projects- CP & Honors!

The PTO Science and Math Council is currently looking for parent volunteers to help the high school College Prep & Honors biology students plan their independent projects for the academic year. All interested parents are welcome, Science background is helpful for this commitment.

Each volunteer will meet with student groups during each class period and counsel them on how to design and execute their experiments. The experiment designs are based on previous laboratory experiments performed by the biology students, and may span various science disciplines including biology, chemistry, materials physics, and engineering.

Honors Biology Wed, January 17, 2018- still need volunteers 

College Prep Biology Design Challenge Fri, January 26, 2018 – still need volunteers

To volunteer, please contact Inhua at muyrers@hotmail.com

 

Background

Students are at the beginning stages choosing their topics and getting background information in the area of study.  The PTO Science and Math Council has been asked to recruit community members to help the students design their projects. Teachers are not asking you to give thestudents a question to research; rather, to make their questions better.  Students work alone or ingroups of two.Time commitments can be as short as 1.5 hours and as long as 2 days.

Advisors will meet with students during regular class blocks during the school year (dates TBD each year) and will talk with individual students to help them clarify their experiment and research project.  The students will have a preliminary proposal and some background research prepared.  Advisor background should be in science, research, medicine,or other health backgrounds. Volunteers can contact 10th grade honors bio teachers Janet KreslMoffat or Chris Chiodo for more information.

Project Guidelines:

–  80%-90% of the research is done at home, unless there is a reason to do it at school (using the greenhouse, growing bacteria, or piece of equipment the school owns like the following sensors :
02, pH, CO2, temperature, blood pressure, reaction time, sound level meter, respirometer, infraredthermometer, UV light, light meter.)

–  Data records must be kept in a journal – The best projects are ones experimenting on a topic the student is already interested in – a sports activity, an extracurricular interest, a favorite topic in biology or in school

Information students will have prepared when researchers come to class. 

–   How is the project connected to biology?
–   Why is the information valuable?
–   Can someone make money on this research?
–   Who would want this research to be done?
–   Why should we give you a million dollars (Hypothetically) to research this topic?
–   Research from 3 sources.

Units covered in the biology curriculum: 

Ecology
Biochemistry
Cell structure
DNA
Genetics
Evolution
Human Body

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