Science

In science courses, students participate in a course of study that will enable them to:

  • Master the processes of scientific investigation, and to design, and safely conduct, evaluate, and communicate about such investigations.
  • Acquire essential knowledge about the content of science in the fields of Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth and Space Science.
  • Be scientifically literate, able to read and analyze scientific information.
  • Engage in the authentic practice of science. They will know and understand relationships among science, technology, and human activity and how they affect the world, and understand that science involves a particular way of knowing, and understand common connections among scientific disciplines.
  • Understand the history of science.

Basic courses emphasize practical applications to everyday life. Standard and accelerated courses are designed to prepare students for college-level science courses, including Advanced Placement courses. Accelerated courses emphasize the use of mathematical analysis and explore the topics at a more rapid pace, in a more rigorous manner. Permission to take an accelerated course is normally predicated on maintaining a grade of at least 85 in the previous accelerated course, or at least 90 in the previous standard course.

Core Courses

Three core science courses are required for graduation. For students graduating in 2020, the sequence is Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Beginning with the class of 2021, the sequence will be Biology: Living and Chemical Systems; Physics: Systems of Matter, Motion, and Energy; and Science Research Methods and Environmental Systems. Note that college preparatory chemistry topics will be integrated in the first two courses. With written departmental permission, a student may replace one of these courses with the corresponding Advanced Placement course, though it is normally recommended that students take AP courses as their second course in the subject of interest. All students should plan to complete their three core courses before the end of their junior year. Because there are certain math prerequisites for some of these core courses, students should carefully plan their math sequence as well.

Biology: Living and Chemical Systems (Basic)
1 Credit (4321)
Prerequisite: At least concurrent enrollment in Algebraic Foundations I

Biology: Living and Chemical Systems (Standard)
1 Credit (4322)
Prerequisite: At least concurrent enrollment in Algebraic Foundations I

Biology: Living and Chemical Systems (Accelerated)
1 Credit (4323)
Prerequisite: At least concurrent enrollment in Algebraic Foundations I
This laboratory course investigates living organisms and their relationships with the non-living world. Topics include the anatomy and physiology of organisms, evolution, genetics, and cellular function. Learn to explain the interactions of life by drawing on fundamental concepts in chemistry. Emphasis is placed on developing strong science inquiry skills. The accelerated level of this course is intended for those students who have a strong background and interest in mathematics, and will use abstract reasoning extensively.

Physics: Systems of Matter, Motion and Energy (Basic)
1 CREDIT (4328)
Prerequisites:Biology: Living and Chemical Systems and Algebraic Foundations II or Algebra I (Standard)

Physics: Systems of Matter, Motion and Energy (Standard)
1 CREDIT (4329)
Prerequisites:Biology: Living and Chemical Systems and Algebraic Foundations II or Algebra I (Standard)

Physics: Systems of Matter, Motion and Energy (Accelerated)
1 CREDIT (4330)
Prerequisites:Biology: Living and Chemical Systems (Accelerated) grade >85 or (Standard) grade >90 and Algebra II (Standard) or at least concurrent enrollment in Algebra II (Accelerated)
This laboratory course draws on the disciplines of chemistry and physics to build scientific models of the interactions between matter, motion, and energy. Topics include motion in one dimension, Newton’s Laws, conservation laws, chemical equations, the periodic table, and electric circuits and electrochemistry. Emphasis is placed on developing strong science inquiry skills. The accelerated level of this course is intended for students who have a strong background and interest in mathematics, and will use abstract reasoning extensively.

Science Research Methods and Environmental Systems(Basic)
1 Credit
Prerequisites: Physics: Systems of Matter, Motion, and Energy (Basic) and at least concurrent enrollment in Algebra II (Standard)

Science Research Methods and Environmental Systems (Standard)
1 Credit
Prerequisites: Physics: Systems of Matter, Motion, and Energy (Standard) and at least concurrent enrollment in Algebra II (Standard)

Science Research Methods and Environmental Systems (Accelerated)
1 Credit (4360)

Prerequisites: Physics: Systems of Matter, Motion, and Energy (Accelerated) and at least concurrent enrollment in Geometry (Accelerated)
This laboratory course focuses on developing scientific questions and methods for answering them. The study of the environment as an interdependent system serves as a foundation for connecting this final core science course to prior knowledge within the traditional areas of biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as introducing students to other scientific disciplines. Topics include ecological cycles, climate, biodiversity, geology, and sustainable human use. Students will be expected to participate in field-based research and may have opportunities to contribute to ongoing local data collection efforts. The accelerated level of this course is intended for students who have a strong background and interest in mathematics, and will use abstract reasoning extensively.

Physics (Basic)
1 Credit (4351)
Prerequisites: Chemistry (Basic) and at least concurrent enrollment in Integrated Math (Standard)

Physics (Standard)
1 Credit (4353)
Prerequisites: Chemistry and Geometry (Standard or Accelerated)

Physics (Accelerated)
1 Credit (4355)
Prerequisites: Chemistry (Accelerated) grade >85 or (Standard) > 90 and at least concurrent enrollment in Trigonometry (Standard or Accelerated), or with department recommendation
Physics investigates the interactions between mass and energy, with an emphasis on forces, motion, conservation laws, electromagnetism, waves, and nuclear and atomic physics. Laboratory experiences emphasize the development of physical intuitions related to the concepts and principles of physics. The accelerated level of this course is intended for those students who have a strong background and interest in mathematics, and will use algebraic reasoning extensively.

Elective Courses

The following courses are intended for students who wish to explore particular scientific topics in more depth than the core courses. Elective courses—with the exception of Advanced Placement courses – cannot be used as a substitute for the core courses as a graduation requirement. An AP course can replace a core course in the same area of study (for example, AP Biology for Biology) with written departmental permission, though normally this is not recommended.

AP Biology
1 ½ Credits (4378/4379)
Prerequisites: Biology and Physics: Systems of Matter, Motion, and Energy (Accelerated) grade >85 or (Standard) grade >90; with department recommendation
This university-level biology course investigates living organisms and their relationship with the non-living world at a level appropriate for successfully taking the Advanced Placement Biology examination. Students must take this course both semesters, with the class meeting every other day in the second semester.

AP Chemistry
1 ½ Credits (4388/4389)
Prerequisites: Biology and Physics: Systems of Matter, Motion and Energy (Accelerated) grade >85 or (Standard) grade >90 with department recommendation
This university-level chemistry course involves students in the study of matter and its changes at a level appropriate for successfully taking the College Board Advanced Placement Chemistry examination. Topics include the structure of matter, chemical bonding and reactions, kinetics, thermodynamics, and chemical equilibrium. Students must take this course both semesters, with the class meeting every other day in the second semester.

AP Physics 1 (4348)
AP Physics 2 (4349)
2 Credits
Prerequisites: Physics (Accelerated) grade >85 or (Standard) grade >90, with department recommendation; Trigonometry. Students may take this sequence as a first physics course with department approval.
This college-level, trigonometry-based physics course builds on the core physics courses at a level appropriate for successfully taking the College Board Advanced Placement Physics 1 and Physics 2 examinations. It is equivalent to the first year (two semesters) of college physics taken by students majoring in the life sciences and pre-medicine.Topics studied include Newtonian mechanics, oscillations, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, optics, electromagnetism, electric circuits, and modern physics. Significant laboratory practical work is included. Students must take both semesters of the course.

AP Physics C: Mechanics (4399)
AP Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism (4397)
2 Credits
Prerequisites: Physics (Accelerated) grade >85 or (Standard) grade >90 and at least concurrent enrollment in Applied Calculus (Accelerated) or AP Calculus; with department recommendation. Students may take this sequence as a first physics course with department approval.
This college-level, calculus-based physics course builds on the core physics courses at a level appropriate for successfully taking the College Board Advanced Placement Physics C examinations in Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism. It is equivalent to the first year of college physics taken by students majoring in physics and the engineering disciplines. Topics include Newtonian mechanics, rotational dynamics, oscillations, electrostatics, electromagnetism, and circuits. Significant laboratory practical work is included. Students must take both semesters of the course.

AP Environmental Science
1 ½ Credits (4367/4369)
Prerequisites: Science Research Methods and Environmental Systems (Accelerated) grade >85 or (Standard) grade >90 and Algebra II (Accelerated); or this course instead of Science Research Methods with departmental recommendation
AP Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary, rigorous college-level science course that provides students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Students must take this course both semesters, with the class meeting every other day in the second semester.

Genetics (Accelerated)
1 Credit (4940)
Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry or Physics:Systems of Matter, Motion and Energy (Accelerated) grade >85 or (Standard) grade >90
During the first half of the course, students will investigate laboratory techniques and tools used in genetics. Model organisms will include Drosophila melanogaster, Brassica rappa, and C. elegans for study of inheritance patterns beyond those learned in earlier courses. During the second part of the course, students will use polymerase chain reaction technology and on-line libraries of sequenced genomes to conduct experiments that can identify the presence of genes in organisms. Students’ outcomes will include an enhanced exposure to and understanding of how the field of genetics influences their lives and environments, from genetically-modified foods and medicines, to selective breeding programs of domestic animals, and other relevant applications. Treatment will be given to ethical and legal considerations as well.

Chemistry (Accelerated)
1 Credit (4335)
Prerequisites: Biology (Accelerated) grade >85 or (Standard) grade >90 and at least concurrent enrollment in Algebra II (Accelerated) and department recommendation
This laboratory course involves students in the study of matter and its changes. Topics include the relationships between matter and energy, atomic structure, chemical bonding and reaction types, stoichiometry, the gas laws, solutions, and chemical equilibrium. The accelerated level of this course is intended for those students who have a strong background and interest in mathematics, and will use algebraic reasoning extensively.

Anatomy and Physiology (Standard)
1 Credit (4373)
Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry or Physics:Systems of Matter, Motion and Energy (Standard)

Anatomy and Physiology (Accelerated)
1 Credit (4375)
Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry or Physics:Systems of Matter, Motion and Energy (Accelerated)
Students interested in studying human biology in greater depth should consider this course. It is appropriate for students considering advanced study in fields such as medicine, medical technology, dental technology, and nursing, exercise sciences, and physical therapy.

Astronomy (Standard)
1 Credit (4393)
Prerequisites: Physics: Systems of Matter, Motion, and Energy
This introductory course emphasizes observational aspects of astronomy.Students will learn about our place in the universe, always addressing the issue of “How do we know what we know?” Topics include the relationship between the earth and the sky, short term and long term cycles in the celestial sphere, the exploration of the solar system, light, telescopes, and stellar evolution cycles.Practical work will be done using portable telescopes on campus and using the Northern Skies Observatory (NSO), located in Peacham, Vermont.Students will make use of the robotic capabilities of the NSO to make their own research grade observations and measurements.Professional imaging processing software will be used extensively.

Students will be expected to attend at least one night-time observing session during the semester.

Forensics (Standard)
1 Credit (4930)
Prerequisites: Biology with department recommendation
This introductory course will expose students to “real life” applications of the life and physical sciences to criminal investigation. Students will use techniques of biological and chemical tools to analyze evidence found at crime scenes, including the use of DNA analysis. Students will interact with law enforcement officials, crime scene technicians, and court officials to explore career opportunities in forensics. Mock trials will play an important role in this laboratory-based course.

This course is intended for students, primarily sophomores, who find science and mathematics challenging, and who would like an intermediate course to prepare for taking Physics:Systems of Matter, Motion and Energy. Students who are interested in the topic and have completed Chemistry or Physics, especially at the accelerated level, should take Biotechnical Engineering, which has a forensics unit, instead of this course. Forensics does not qualify as a core course.

Biomedical and Health Sciences Certificate Program

The Biomedical and Health Sciences Certificate Program consists of a combination of guidance, coursework, clinical experience, mentoring, and independent research to provide students with a pre-university experience in allied health. Students who satisfactorily complete all of the requirements will earn a St. Johnsbury Academy Certification in Biomedical and Health Sciences, as well as develop advantageous mentoring relationships with regional health care providers.

Students wishing to pursue the certificate should complete their core science courses and meet with the program advisor as early in their high school career as possible. See Sample Course Selections.

Students must also take part in an approved internship as part of a clinical or patient
care experience (either during or outside of the school day), and complete a related Senior Capstone project mentored by the program advisor.

Design, Innovation, and Development (DID) Courses

The DID Program is an elective, multi-faceted system of guidance, coursework, work experience, mentoring, and training that provides students with a pre-university experience in engineering and design. The Academy’s program aims to increase the number of students—particularly young women and other students traditionally under-represented in the STeM disciplines—in science and technology programs.

Introduction to Robotics (Standard)
1 Credit (4849)
Prerequisite: Freshmen and Sophomores
Introduction to Robotics gives students a cross-disciplinary introduction to robotics, which will involve them in developing a wide variety of scientific research, design engineering, programming, mathematical, presentation, and teamwork skills.As the students work in teams on weekly projects, they will develop the course’s core skills to solve a variety of challenges.Students will use Lego and VEX robotics kits to design, fabricate, and program robots that meet project requirements.The accelerated level of this course is intended for those students who have a strong background and interest in mathematics, and will use algebraic reasoning extensively.

Introduction to Robotics (Accelerated)
1 Credit
Prerequisite: Freshmen and Sophomores
Introduction to Robotics gives students a cross-disciplinary introduction to robotics, which will involve them in developing a wide variety of scientific research, design engineering, programming, mathematical, presentation, and teamwork skills.As the students work in teams on weekly projects, they will develop the course’s core skills to solve a variety of challenges.Students will use Lego and VEX robotics kits to design, fabricate, and program robots that meet project requirements.The accelerated level of this course is intended for those students who have a strong background and interest in mathematics, and will use algebraic reasoning extensively.

Introduction to Design, Innovation, and Development (Accelerated)
1 Credit (4850)
Prerequisite: Algebra II concurrently
In this projects-based course, students use an iterative design cycle to explore a variety of engineering problems. The first half of the course is focused on developing the tools of design: understanding usability, identifying needs and analyzing solutions, working collaboratively, and communicating ideas with sketches and industry-standard modeling software (CAD). During the second half of the course, students pursue a series of independent and team projects that expose them to several different types of engineering.

Engineering Design and Development (Accelerated)
1 Credit (4853)
Prerequisites: Introduction to Design, Innovation, and Development and Trigonometry
In this course students will expand their understanding of engineering design and combine that with principles of engineering that will enable them to develop, brainstorm, and fabricate a product that is functional, aesthetically pleasing, and meets weight, strength of materials, and other applicable product specifications. The students will investigate possibilities, research current patents and regulations, construct a working prototype, test the prototype in real life situations (or simulation), document their designs, and present and defend the design to a panel of experts. This course is intended for seniors wishing to complete an engineering design capstone.

Digital Electronics (Accelerated)
1 Credit (4851)
Prerequisite: Algebra II (Accelerated)
This course in applied logic encompasses the application of electronic circuits and devices. Students use computer simulation software to design and test digital circuitry prior to the actual construction of circuits and devices. Programming and use of microcontrollers will be included, making this course appropriate for students who wish to expand their understanding of robotics. Offered in alternate years from game design.

Civil Engineering and Architecture (Accelerated)
1 Credit (4852)
Prerequisites: At least concurrent enrollment
in Physics
This overview of the fields of civil engineering and architecture emphasizes the inter-relationship and mutual dependence of both fields. Students use state-of-the-art software to solve real world problems and apply knowledge to hands-on projects and activities. By developing and implementing plans for a playground, park, or vacation home for example, students experience first hand the job responsibilities of architects and civil engineers.

Biotechnical Engineering (Accelerated)
1 Credit (4854)

Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry or Physics:Systems of Matter, Motion and Energy (Accelerated) grade >85 or (Standard) grade >90 and Algebra II (Accelerated)
The major focus of the Biotechnical Engineering course is to expose students to the diverse fields of biotechnology including biomedical engineering, biomolecular genetics, bioprocess engineering, and agricultural and environmental engineering. Lessons engage students in engineering-design problems that can be accomplished in a high-school setting related to biomechanics, cardiovascular engineering, genetic engineering, agricultural biotechnology, tissue engineering, biomedical devices, human interface, bioprocesses, forensics, and bioethics.

Game Design (Accelerated)
1 Credit (4855)
Prerequisite: Geometry|
Students will work through the process of game design from developing a concept to testing a product. The course will begin by teaching principles of design via table top games, and then progress to the use of industry-standard game design software. Throughout the course, students will complete a variety of projects that lead to a final, original video game design. Outside experts from industry and academia will give their perspectives on careers in game design, and serve as evaluators for student projects. No prior programming experience is required.

Environmental Studies Field Semester (4998/4999)

2 Science Credits, 1 Social Studies Credit, and 1 English Credit
Available Fall Semester Only
Prerequisites: Two core science courses, Geometry
The Environmental Studies Field Semester is an interdisciplinary immersion semester for juniors and seniors interested in concentrated study within the environmental field. This off-campus, place-based program uses outdoor, field-based projects on a network of local properties to teach fundamental concepts and technical skills while contributing to the collection of long-term ecological data. Students will complete their third core science requirement as part of the experience, and earn additional credits for Accelerated coursework in natural resource management, ecological research and monitoring, and upper level humanities. This intensive experience provides a solid foundation for pursuing further education and careers in environmental engineering, natural resources management, field research, and related disciplines.