College Prep’s curriculum provides a firm foundation and an understanding of the interrelationships among the different branches of science.
Science courses help students think logically and creatively, strengthen problem-solving and observational skills, and hone analytical reasoning. The program emphasizes physical and biological environments and the specific processes of and approaches to the different scientific subject areas. All core courses require extensive laboratory work. Students also become adept in the use of technology for data collection and analysis.

Students are required to take three years of science classes, though many take more. Ninth graders take Physics, tenth graders take Chemistry, and eleventh graders take either Honors Biology or AP Biology. Juniors and seniors may continue their studies by taking AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics or other science electives such as Astronomy, Issues in Science, and Neuroscience.

List of 3 items.

  • Physics (9th grade)

    Why does a star shine? How does a television work? How do we generate electricity? This course focuses on how the principles of physics work in the real world. Students learn to design experiments in order to get meaningful results that further their knowledge. Hands-on challenges give students experience in applying their understanding and improving their designs through multiple iterations. Classes are a mix of lecture, discussion, demonstration, small-group work, and laboratory exploration. Physics lays the foundation for students to more thoroughly understand the concepts in the chemistry and biology classes that follow, and it prepares them to take AP Physics in the future.
  • Chemistry (10th grade)

    How we experience everything in the world—what we see, feel, and smell—is affected by microscopic particles and their interactions. In this course, students approach and solve new problems using the fundamentals of chemistry and rely on careful and insightful application of logic to reveal why material behaves as it does. The course covers a wide range of topics, including:
    • Thermodynamics, to explain why some reactions happen while others do not
    • Kinetics, to understand the role of catalysts to speed important reactions
    • Quantum theory, to discover the special properties of water necessary for life
    • Organic chemistry, to study the biological molecules that are crucial for humans to exist
    Chemistry fosters a sense of excitement for discovery, which is supported by frequent laboratory experiments, activities, and demonstrations. Students wishing to dive more deeply into chemistry have the opportunity to take AP Chemistry in their junior or senior year.
  • Honors Biology or AP Biology (11th grade)

    Honors Biology is an introductory survey of the biological sciences beginning with the biochemical, genetic, and evolutionary tools used by all living organisms. Complex systems are examined including the biosphere and the human body with an emphasis on research, case studies, collaborative lab work, and presentations. The core laboratory component is experimental design and methods of data analysis. Labs are constructed as experimental activities, observations, or mini-lab demonstrations. Students use computers and scientific software for data collection and analysis, write lab reports, share oral presentations, and complete online projects.

    AP Biology
    emphasizes the unifying themes that connect all living systems. Students employ concepts encountered in chemistry and physics to decipher everything from the molecular structure of proteins to the blooming patterns of flowers to the voltage changes in neurons that help with reading and understanding. Students master a new biological language that combines rich vocabulary and experimental methods. The class explores molecular biology techniques such as bacterial transformation and the polymerase chain reaction. Students hone their scientific analysis by writing formal lab reports and work creatively to construct scientific explanations that rely on data, model systems, and biology’s numerous well-established theories. This course prepares students for the AP Biology Exam.

the science program

science electives

List of 7 items.

  • AP Chemistry

    The equivalent of a first-year college general chemistry course, AP Chemistry goes into greater depth and detail on the material covered in tenth-grade chemistry. The course emphasizes lab work and quantitative and qualitative applications. Topics include the structure and properties of matter, chemical reactions, thermodynamics, and equilibrium. Other disciplines—particularly biology and biochemistry—are integrated into class topics. Cooperative work skills, a willingness to ask questions, and a deep well of curiosity are valuable assets for every AP Chemistry student. This class prepares students for the AP Chemistry Exam.
  • AP Environmental Science

    his course provides students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing such problems. Environmental science incorporates elements of biology, chemistry, sociology, geology, and design. It focuses on how the ecological relationships between organisms and their environments are influenced by environmental change. Topics include the impact of governmental policies on human population growth, how industrial and corporate agriculture affect human and environmental health, and the latest innovations in city design and sustainability. Highlights include designing experiments at Lake Temescal, testing the quality of soil from students’ own backyards, and meeting guest speakers from the water policy, fisheries, and energy fields. This class prepares students for the AP Environmental Science Exam.
  • AP Physics

    Which will win in a downhill race: a bowling ball or a doughnut? Why is a car the safest place to be in a lightning strike? How fast do you need to go to escape from the Earth’s gravitational pull? In this course, students take observations about the world and use them to build abstract models that allow them to predict sophisticated behavior. The concepts of the derivative and the anti-derivative are used from the beginning of the course. AP Physics focuses on classical mechanics and electromagnetism in preparation for the AP Physics C Exam.
  • Astronomy

    This mind-expanding course investigates the universe, starting with the solar system (including planets, comets, and asteroids), followed by stars (birth, evolution, and death), and ending with cosmology (how the universe was created, its current state, and ultimately how it will end). Topics include supernovas, neutron stars, pulsars, and black holes (including what would happen if you fell into one). Einstein’s theories of relativity, essential for the conception of time and space, are covered in depth, which leads to a discussion of time travel and its paradoxes. Other highlights include space travel, life on other planets, and dark matter.
  • Issues in Science

    How should we decide who will get a heart transplant? Is assisted suicide ethical in cases of grave illness? Should the courts be allowed to order conjoined twins separated? Should parents be allowed to withhold medical treatment from children on religious grounds? Should we clone humans? These are the sorts of questions addressed in this discussion-based seminar that focuses on the most current ethical dilemmas in science. Students use the formal principles of bioethics to refine arguments. The course draws upon a wide variety of academic and popular media sources to examine how scientific research is changing our understanding of the world, and how society, in turn, is being transformed by scientific tools.
  • Neuroscience

    This course investigates the brain. How did it develop? What are the different parts of the brain and what are their functions? How does it actually work? How do pharmaceuticals affect it? How is it involved in vision, hearing, body sense, and motion? The class explores how the brain affects human behavior, such as sleep, sexuality, emotions, learning, memory, and human communication. Students read case histories of patients to learn about neurological disorders, their causes, and how they affect behavior. The philosophical aspects of the mind—the seat of consciousness, thought, and feeling— are also considered.
  • Applied Studies: STEM Research Program

    College Prep’s STEM program is for students interested in getting hands-on research experience in a broad array of STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The course begins with a spring semester seminar (STEM Research Part I) that provides the foundational scientific knowledge and analytical skills needed for a summer internship. During discussion-based classes, students learn how to read primary scientific literature, analyze and critique raw data, and work as a productive member of a research team. The core of the program takes place during the summer, when students are matched with research mentors for full-time, six-week internships. In the fall, the program concludes with a semester-long seminar (STEM Research Part II) in which students prepare a poster about their summer research and design and deliver a formal scientific talk. Most placements are in labs at either UCSF or UC Berkeley.
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Science

List of 8 members.

  • Photo of Alden Blair

    Alden Blair 

    510-652-0111 x223
  • Photo of Eva Campodonico

    Eva Campodonico 95

    Science Teacher
    510-652-0111
  • Photo of Jack Coakley

    Jack Coakley 

    Science Teacher
    510-652-0111 x223
  • Photo of Mike Lane

    Mike Lane 

    Science Teacher
    510-652-0111 x223
  • Photo of Jeff Sensabaugh

    Jeff Sensabaugh 87

    Science Teacher
    510-652-0111 x223
  • Photo of Carol Stanton

    Carol Stanton 

    Science Teacher
    510-652-0111 x223
  • Photo of Jennifer Tetler

    Jennifer Tetler 

    Science Teacher
    510-652-0111 x223
  • Photo of Katy Yan

    Katy Yan 

    Biology Teacher
    510-652-0111 x223

mens conscia recti

a mind aware of what is right