Science Courses

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Upper School science classes at Randolph-Macon Academy, private boarding school located in Front Royal, Virginia.

Honors Anatomy and Physiology

This is an honors-level course designed for students who may pursue a career in medicine, health, or athletics.  An overview of all the systems of the human body provides the foundation for laboratory investigations that include approximately four dissections, 30 labs and some forensics.  Prerequisites:  Biology and Chemistry.  Permission from the instructor is required to sign up for this course.

Biology

Students study the basic similarities and differences of the structure and function of all living things.  This laboratory course provides an in-depth study of cells and a survey of microbes, plants, and invertebrates.  An emphasis is placed on the ecological interactions of all living things. 

AP Biology

This course provides students with the conceptual skills necessary to deal critically with the rapidly changing science of biology at the college level. Students develop a conceptual framework that emphasizes an understanding of science as a process, integrates general topics of biology through the eight major themes specified in the AP Course description.  They understand evolution as a foundation model of modern biology and thought. Students also apply their content knowledge and critical thinking skills to environmental and social concerns. Students spend a minimum of 25 percent of instructional time engaged in hands-on laboratory work.  Pre-requisites: A grade of "B" or higher in Biology and Chemistry.

Biotechnology 

This course introduces current topics in the life science technologies through lecture and laboratory exercises. Topics include advances in genetic engineering, the hierarchy of life, and the rise of infectious diseases. Lab will explore modern techniques used in biological and biomedical research. Prerequisites:  General Chemistry with a grade of A or B and Biology with a grade of A or B.  * Dual enrollment through James Madison University for juniors and seniors.

Chemistry

Students in this course learn the basic principles of general chemistry and acquire a solid background in stoichiometry, gas laws, chemical bonding, theorem chemistry, kinetics, and equilibrium.  Concepts studied are strongly reinforced by laboratory experiments.  The understanding of concepts and the ability to solve problems are emphasized.  Algebra I proficiency is a requirement.

AP Chemistry

AP Chemistry is an upper-level course designed for those students who plan to major in the fields of science, medicine, engineering, or other technical fields.  This course is designed to challenge the more advanced students and is taught at an accelerated pace.  The AP chemistry course presents a rigorous treatment of the following concepts:  nature of matter, gas laws, thermodynamics, chemical equilibria, performing laboratory investigations, communicating laboratory findings, and describing the structure of matter and its behavior.  A strong math background in which the student has acquired competence in formula writing and solving equations is essential for success. Prerequisites: A grade of “B” or higher in Chemistry and Algebra II.

Computer Science/Robotics 

(Seniors and Juniors receive priority) 
This course will introduce students to the field of computer science, the fundamentals of computer programming, and robotics. The course will cover basic object-oriented programming using Java: a high-level, portable, and well constructed computer programming language. Computer science builds logical problem solving skills, collaboration,  and an understanding of the ever-changing technological world. Computer science also encompasses more than just programming, therefore students will have multiple opportunities to explore hardware, software, and networks through robotics. VEX IQ  robotics will build collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity by building teams of students to with design and build a robot to compete with other teams in a game-based engineering challenge.  (Full year, 1 credit) 

Ecology

Ecology is the study of the interactions between organisms and their environment. This course provides a background in the fundamental principles of ecological science, including concepts of natural selection, population and community ecology, biodiversity, and sustainability.

AP Environmental Science

The goal of the AP Environmental Science course is to provide 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. 
Prerequisites: General Biology with an A or B and General Chemistry with an A or B. *Dual-Enrolled through Lord Fairfax Community College.

Geospatial Information Systems 

This is a dual enrollment course with James Madison University. This course teaches the basics of Geospatial Information Systems (GIS), which is a computer-based processing of data, both spatial and geographical, for the purpose of understanding concepts, presenting information, and recommending action on a specific topic of interest.  Processing includes capturing, storing, manipulating, analyzing, managing, and displaying information that effectively crosses academic boundaries.  GIS skills are inherently transferable, utilized in an increasingly broad array of fields and professions in industry.  Individual interests are encouraged as the selection of your GIS projects and are typically associated with current events, personal interest, and school or community focus.  Project presentations allow students to build communication skills and introduce mixed topics of interests to all classmates.  Prerequisites:  Biology and Chemistry. 

Physics

This upper-level course presents a mathematical analysis of the major concepts of classical physics as well as an introduction to some of the more modern aspects of physics.  Students examine topics such as mechanics, fluid and thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, and nuclear physics.  Lab work is designed to complement lectures, group work, and in-class problem sessions.  Prerequisites: Algebra I, Geometry, and Chemistry with a grade of C or better in each class.  Students must also have completed Algebra II or be co-enrolled in the course.

AP Physics

This class presumes at least an introductory background in physics and is equivalent to an advanced college-level calculus-based mechanics class.  Students examine the standard topics in a mechanics curriculum from the basic kinematics equations through gravitation and rotational dynamics and with the application of the tools of calculus.  Class time will be split amongst a combination of lectures, interactive demonstrations, problem-solving sessions and group work, and laboratory experiments.  Students are expected to spend a significant amount of time outside of class on the course material.  Prerequisites: Algebra I, Algebra II/Trigonometry, Geometry, Pre-calculus, and Physics (or an equivalent background in physics as approved by the instructor).  In addition to this, the student must have either already completed or be currently enrolled in Advanced Placement Calculus. Student must be approved for enrollment by the instructor.