header logo
header logo text
MISSION: To lead an educational partnership with the Community, maintaining an environment that challenges all students to reach their potential as lifelong learners and responsible members of society.

Science

Bethel Park School District Science Curriculum

Mission:

The mission of the Science Department is to enable students to use scientific knowledge, processes and principles in making appropriate decisions as productive members of society, experience the richness and excitement that knowledge of the natural world offers, and engage intelligently in scientific discourse and debate.

Description:

Bethel Park School District provides a comprehensive yet rigorous science program which fosters skill development, theoretical understanding and inquiry-based investigations throughout each course. In addition to exploring the physical, biological, chemical, earth and space sciences as guided by the state standards, students learn to utilize tools, instruments, equipment and technology through sophisticated laboratory classes in order to think critically and apply knowledge to real life. Honors and Advanced Placement courses are available for high school students who wish to pursue educational and/or career opportunities after graduation.

Teresa Doumont
K-4 Science Curriculum Facilitator
412-854-8741

Jennifer Evans
5-8 Science Curriculum Facilitator
412-854-8678

Lee Cristofano
9-12 Science Curriculum Facilitator
412-854-8591

Elementary Science:

The elementary science program is taught through a process or "hands on" approach.  It emphasizes a laboratory method of instruction that focuses on ways of developing basic skills in the processes of science.  The methodology includes skills, centering on observing, classifying, measuring and predicting, as well as others required for scientific investigations and ways of processing information.  Students in this program are provided with skills and knowledge that will serve as a springboard for future exploration of sciences as they progress through the Bethel Park school system.  They also acquire skills which are needed to apply concepts and utilize knowledge in a purposeful way.

Middle School Science:

The middle school science program features a clear, concise curriculum that includes appropriate content essentials that are aligned to the Pennsylvania State Standards. Students participate in a variety of learning opportunities that focus on the environmental, earth, life and physical sciences, while promoting the mastery of scientific principles, concepts and skills necessary for life in the 21st century. This comprehensive and research-based curriculum utilizes technology and inquiry-based investigations to develop lifelong critical-thinking skills and scientific literacy.

Science 5: 

The fifth grade science program is designed to blend three independent units into one harmonious curriculum by using each as a building block to the next. The year begins with an investigation of the microscopic world, both living and non-living. The microscope is then used to begin ecological observations for the purpose of discovering the effects of pollution. Finally, knowledge gained during the first two units is applied with a look up and out into space using various resources to learn about planetary characteristics, the history of space travel, and the possibility of living in space.

Science 6:

The Earth Science curriculum for sixth grade covers a broad range of topics through the use of textbooks, computers, hands-on activities, multimedia and internet research. Emphasis is placed on the study of Earth’s materials and processes, the changing surface of the Earth, and Earth’s water and air. The use of reading strategies and vocabulary acquisition is reinforced to aid in the understanding of scientific concepts and processes.

Science 7:

Seventh grade science focuses on the life sciences including life structure and function, animal diversity, and plant processes. Through projects, hands-on investigations and computer simulations, students obtain the basic knowledge of scientific principles to be used as a context for understanding the natural world. 

Science 8:

Eighth grade science students engage in a comprehensive study of the structure of matter, chemistry, and waves, light and sound. Students complete a medley of hands-on, inquiry-based activities to create a balance between science content and process. Investigations promote the application of the scientific process through a variety of best-practices methods and prepare students for further scientific studies at the next level. Students acquire the skills necessary to gather and evaluate critical scientific information required for informed decision making in their everyday lives.

High School Science:

In response to the national, state, and local concerns about science education, the Bethel Park School District has embarked on an ambitious plan to improve the science curriculum. The focus of this new initiative is on the acquisition of skills, with the understanding that skill development includes the gaining of knowledge.

Bethel Park School District currently requires a minimum of three (3) credits in Science for graduation. Graduates in 2011 and beyond will need to fulfill a minimum of four (4) credits through the Science Department. In addition to a strong core, a wide selection of laboratory, honors and Advanced Placement courses are offered to challenge and prepare students for further academic courses and professional careers in the sciences.

Course Offerings:

Science 9
Grade 9
Level 1-2
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: None

This is an integrated course that emphasizes basic concepts and methods from physical, biological and earth sciences as well as astronomy. Class material is presented through lab activities, cooperative learning, and traditional teaching methods. Concepts and investigations utilize standard laboratory equipment to complete labs in the physical sciences, earth sciences, and astronomy. The course is directed toward providing a broad, basic background in the sciences while utilizing problem-solving skills, emphasizing applications in the natural world.

Science 9 (Honors)
Grade 9
Level 3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: Minimum of a B in Science Grade 8 and Math Grade 8

Science 9 (Honors) is an integrated science course that emphasizes basic concepts and methods from the physical, biological and earth sciences as well as astronomy. These topics are covered in an in-depth manner and at an accelerated pace. The course stresses applications and theoretical problems that promote high order thinking skills. A heavy emphasis is placed upon mathematical applications, data and evidence analysis and open-ended problems.

Biology
Grade 9-10
Level 1-2
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: None

This course is directed toward providing a broad, basic overview of biology. Three major units are studied: Features of Life which includes basic cell structure and classification systems in biology; Kingdoms which surveys the five kingdom system of living things including introductory anatomy, developmental processes, reproduction, evolution, and economic importance; Genetics which includes basic principles of Mendelian genetics and human inheritance, nucleic acid structure and cell division. Each unit is supplemented with activities and/or exercises.

Biology (Honors)
Grade 9-10
Level 3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Co-requisite for Freshman: Science 9 (Honors)
Prerequisite for Freshman: Minimum of B in Science Grade 8 and Math Grade 8
Prerequisite for Sophomores: Minimum of B in Science 9 (Honors) and Math Grade 9

This course is composed of four (4) major units – Botany and Zoology – survey plants and animals with emphasis on anatomy, physiology, habitat, reproduction, and economic importance; Genetics – involving basic Mendelian principles and molecular genetics emphasizing structure and function of nucleic acids; Cell Biology – surveying the basic cell (structure, chemistry, and physiology), virus, and bacteria. Each unit is complemented with activities and/or laboratory exercises.

Environmental Science
Grade 11-12
Level 1-2
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: Minimum of C in Biology

This course is a study of basic environmental concepts with a focus on current environmental problems and possible solutions to those problems. Students will gain an understanding of the many physical, chemical, and biological interrelationships in land and water environments. Major concepts are illustrated by laboratory activities, group interaction, problem solving, and a variety of other activities. 

Environmental Science (Honors)
Grade 11-12
Level 3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
Prerequisite: Minimum of B in Biology
Prerequisite or Co-requisite: Chemistry

This course is a study of major environmental concepts with a focus on current environmental problems/solutions. Major concepts are illustrated by lab activities, projects, group interaction and problem solving. Discussion of environmental careers will be integrated into many topics.  Some units, such as air and water pollution, require knowledge of basic chemistry. Students will also read the book, Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson.

AP Biology
Grade 11-12
Level 3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
One Double Period Lab Per Week
Prerequisite: Minimum of B in Biology
Prerequisite or Co-requisite: Honors Chemistry

This course is designed to be the equivalent of a college general biology course. It is a laboratory-oriented course that follows the general outline of the CEEB curriculum which includes Cell Biology, Organismal Biology, and Population study areas that are included on the Advanced Placement college-level examination. For some students this course enables them to begin second year biology courses as freshman in college. It also serves to facilitate the transition into the college-level Biology I course.

Chemistry
Grade 10-12
Level 2
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
One Double Period Lab Per Week
Prerequisite: Minimum of C grade in Algebra I and Minimum of C grade in Biology

This is a basic chemistry course for college-bound students interested in non-science careers. Topics that are covered include the following: Science of chemistry, matter, energy, atoms, periodic table, ionic compounds, covalent compounds, the mole, chemical composition, chemical equation, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, gases, and solutions. Additional topics may include acids and bases, chemical equilibrium, causes of change, intermolecular forces, reaction rates, oxidations, reduction, electrochemistry, nuclear chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry. 

Chemistry (Honors)
Grade 10-12
Level 2-3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
One Double Period Lab Per Week
Prerequisite: Minimum of B in Algebra I

Chemistry (Honors) is an in-depth and mathematical study of chemistry serving as an introduction to college-level science. Topics to be studied include matter, change and energy, scientific measurement, problem solving, atomic structure, nomenclature, chemical equations, stoichiometry, Gas Laws, status of matter, periodic table, bonding, solution chemistry, and acid bases and salts. This course is strongly recommended, and needed by, students interested in pursuing a science or science-related career.

AP Chemistry  
Grade 11-12
Level 3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
One Double Period Lab Per Week
Prerequisite: Minimum of B in Honors Chemistry or Accelerated Honors Chemistry
and Algebra II

The AP Chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first college year. This course may enable students to undertake, as freshman in college, second-year work in the chemistry sequence at their institution or register in courses in other fields where general chemistry is a prerequisite. AP Chemistry differs qualitatively from the usual first secondary school course in chemistry with respect to the calculations and the mathematical formulation of principles, as well as the kind of laboratory work done by the students. Quantitative differences appear in the number of topics treated, the time spent on the course by the students, and the nature and variety of experiments done in the laboratory. The course follows the national curriculum guide created by a cooperative effort of chemistry professors, high school chemistry teachers, and the College Board.

Physics
Grade 10-12
Level 2
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
One Double Period Lab Per Week
Prerequisite: Algebra I

A physics course places emphasis on comprehension rather than computation. It applies the central concepts of physics to explain phenomena that students observe or experience in the everyday world. Students will be doing physics with hands-on experiments that demonstrate the concepts of physics as they apply to their everyday lives. 

Physics (Honors)
Grade 10-12
Level 2-3
Full Year Course
One Double Period Lab Per Week
Co-requisite: Trigonometry

This course is primarily designed for students who are thinking about a career in science, engineering, math, or computer science. Topics covered may include classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, light, color, sound, optics, as well as laboratory and problem-solving skills. One double period a week is used to experience the ideas presented during the classroom sessions in an experimental setting.

AP Physics
Grade 12
Level 3
Full Year Course – 1 Credit
One Double Period Lab Per Week
Prerequisite: Minimum of B in Physics (Honors), Accelerated Physics (Honors) and Trigonometry
Prerequisite or Co-requisite: Calculus

This course is equivalent to a first-year college Physics course and is taken as a second year course in physics. Problem solving emphasizes mathematical and analytical skills as applied to physical laws and concepts. We will cover the major topics of first year college physics: Mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and light and optics. Students will use algebra and trigonometry extensively and be introduced to calculus. Students who plan to major in Pre-Med, Engineering, Mathematical or Computer Science should take AP Physics. 

Forensics Science
Grade 11-12
Level 2
Semester Course – ½ Credit
Prerequisite: Science 9 and Biology 

Forensic science is a laboratory-based course intended to provide an introduction to the analysis of crime scenes by collecting and analyzing physical evidence.  This course is designed to integrate multiple scientific disciplines, giving students both theory and hands-on experience with the skills and knowledge required of a forensic scientist. Throughout the course, topics that will be highlighted include, but are not limited to, crime scene analysis, skeletal analysis, blood analysis, fingerprinting, chromatography, hair and fiber analysis and DNA.

Anatomy & Physiology
Grade 11-12
Level 2-3
Semester Course – ½ Credit
Prerequisite: Minimum of B in Biology
Prerequisite or Co-requisite: Chemistry

This course is a study of human anatomy and body systems to include skeletal, circulatory, digestive, nervous, muscular, endocrine and immune systems. Normal Physiology and common diseases of each organ system will be discussed. Knowledge of basic chemistry and biology is required.