Science

Academic advisors use this course map to guide students in designing their most appropriate and desired selection of mathematics coursework throughout their time at St. George's.

Science is a relevant and exciting field of study at St. George’s. Laboratory experimentation, demonstrations, computer simulations, lectures, independent research, field trips and cooperative learning groups provide students with a multifaceted approach to learning science. Faculty cultivate an appreciation of the natural world, teach critical thinking skills through experimentation and problem solving, and explore the relationships between science and mathematics in the three core sciences: biology, chemistry and physics. Students work independently and in collaboration with others in both classroom and laboratory settings. Study skills are stressed in all disciplines. Courses in biology, chemistry and physics are offered at introductory, general, honors and advanced placement levels to meet the needs of individual students. Advanced Environmental Science was introduced in 2010-11. Electives in microbiology, environmental studies, marine biology, veterinary science and DNA technology are available to fifth- and sixth-form students. Students may choose to study marine science for a term aboard our offshore research vessel, Geronimo. While at sea students study marine and nautical sciences. They perform authentic scientific research as they capture, study and tag sea turtles in collaboration with the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research at the University of Florida.

Members of the science faculty are dedicated, enthusiastic educators with professional training and experience in marine and wildlife biology, ecology, chemistry, oceanography, virology and clinical microbiology, modern laser physics, astronomy and veterinary medicine. Our new science facility, opening in the fall of 2015, has seven classroom laboratories, a central study area and easy access to outdoor “classrooms” in our coastal environment. Technology plays a central role in science education at St. George’s. Wireless connections and laptop computers are used by students in all classes to collect experimental data, take class notes and complete research projects. All courses are yearlong unless otherwise noted

Available Courses:

Biology
BIOLOGY 210
Full-Year

Open to third- and fourth-formers

Students explore the complexities of the living world and the relationships among major topics in modern biology, including the chemistry of life, cell structure and function, energy flow in nature, principles of inheritance, modern DNA technology, evolution and taxonomy, human anatomy and physiology, plant and animal interactions and the dynamics of ecosystems. A variety of modern laboratory studies are presented, including the differentiation and analysis of bacteria cultures, the testing of ionizing radiation and acid rain on plant growth, gel electrophoresis of viral DNA digests, the comparative anatomy of selected vertebrates and population studies in local environments.

Biology Honors
BIOLOGY 220/H
Full-Year

Open by invitation to third- and fourth-formers

Honors biology is a survey course in which students explore the living world at many levels (molecular, cellular, organismal and ecological.) The course is structured around the theme of evolution beginning with the pre-biotic planet Earth and culminating with our modern biosphere. Topics include: cells, biochemistry, energetics, reproduction and inheritance, evolution, anatomy and physiology of plants and animals and ecology. The pace of the course is rigorous and students are expected to have strong independent study skills. In lieu of a textbook, students make use of online resources. Qualified honors students may be given the opportunity to take the Advanced Placement Examination in biology.

Marine Biology
(Prerequisites Biology and Chemistry)
BIOLOGY 411, BIOLOGY 413
Trimester: Fall, Spring

Open to fifth- and sixth-formers; Prerequisites Biology and Chemistry

This trimester course is designed for students with an interest in marine biology and oceanography and provides an excellent background for students who are interested in further study of the oceans and the organisms that inhabit it. Estuarine, coastal and marine environments and the organisms that inhabit these environments are studied in this course. The technology needed to monitor and maintain marine ecosystems is practiced in the lab and in the field. Readings from scientific journals and the Internet will supplement class lectures. Offered fall (411) and spring (413).

Advanced Biology
(Prerequisite Chemistry)
BIOLOGY 420/A
Full-Year

Open by invitation to fifth- and sixth-formers; Prerequisite Chemistry

Advanced Biology is equivalent to a first-year college biology course. Frequently, college biology is taught in large lecture format. The small class size at St. George’s encourages interaction between teacher and students and promotes student-centered labs and activities. The curriculum is rigorous, covering cell anatomy and metabolism, genetics, evolution, botany, human anatomy and physiology and ecology. Technology utilized in the course includes high-quality light microscopes, computers, spectrophotometers, Vernier computer based laboratory probes and gel electrophoresis equipment for analysis of DNA. Regular laboratory experimentation reinforces concepts and provides experience in scientific thinking. Current research into HIV/AIDS and the efforts to develop a vaccine are woven throughout the course, providing a unifying theme and a window into the methods of modern science. The course makes frequent use of readings from current science journals and reference books. The textbook for the course is “Biology” by Campbell and Reece, 9th edition. 

Microbiology I & II
(Prerequisites Biology and Chemistry)
BIOLOGY 482-3
Two-Trimester: Winter, Spring

Open to qualified fifth- and sixth-formers;  Prerequisites Biology and Chemistry

This two-trimester course introduces the student to the science of microorganisms and their impact on society with a special emphasis on the history and biology of infectious diseases. The first part of the course reviews the classification, structure and life cycles of viruses, bacteria, protozoa and fungal agents. The majority of the semester then focuses on the history of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, smallpox, bubonic and pneumonic plague, anthrax, influenza, malaria, ebola fever and HIV-AIDS. The mode of infection, course of pathology, human immune response, treatment and impact on society for each disease are investigated. Modern applications in microbiology such as DNA technology, gene therapy and biological warfare are discussed. The extensive laboratory component of the course includes the basic aseptic techniques for isolation, growth and identification of selected non-pathogenic viral and bacterial species. Smart phones are used extensively for both micro and macro photography of microbiological cultures and agents. Suggested Resources: “The Killer Germs: Microbes and Diseases That Threaten Humanity” (B. and D. Zimmerman), “Introduction to Microbiology Laboratory” (Evans). Offered winter/spring.

Chemistry Introduction
(Prerequisite/corequisite Algebra II)
CHEMISTRY 300
Full-Year

Open by invitation to fourth- and fifth-formers; Prerequisite/Corequisite Algebra II

Students in this course study the complexity of matter and the dynamics of chemical interactions. The focus is on integrating theory and basic concepts with qualitative and quantitative experimentation in the laboratory, while at the same time reinforcing specific study strategies for applying basic mathematics in chemistry. A variety of topics are covered, including the history of chemistry, a review of the metric system, the evolution of the modern atomic theory, matter-energy relationships, the periodic table, the mole concept, stoichiometry, chemical equilibrium, acids and bases, oxidation-reduction reactions and a survey of organic and bio-chemistry. The text used is Glencoe’s Chemistry: Matter and Change,” 2008

Chemistry
(Prerequisite/corequisite Algebra II)
CHEMISTRY 310
Full-Year

Open to fourth- and fifth-formers; Prerequisite/corequisite Algebra II

The study of chemistry provides us with the opportunity to explore the stuff of which the universe is made and the manner in which it combines and recombines to make up the world as we know it. Students in this course review the history of experimental science that has led to our current understanding of matter and energy. They gain experience in methods of measurement, laboratory technique, analytical methods and observation of chemical change. Both qualitative and quantitative skills are developed through problem solving, analysis of laboratory data and research. Whether isolating pure substances through distillation, determining molecular mass by measuring freezing-point depression, comparing rates of molecular diffusion or noting the shifting in equilibria under different conditions, emphasis is on how humans can observe, measure and come to understand the atomic and molecular basis of all that surrounds us. The text used is Glencoe’s “Chemistry: Matter and Change,” 2008

 

Chemistry Honors
(Prerequisite/corequisite Algebra II)
CHEMISTRY 320/H
Full-Year

Open by invitation to fourth- and fifth-formers; Prerequisite/Corequisite Algebra II

The study of chemistry allows students to better understand how the world around them works by exploring the links between the sub-microscopic world and processes occurring on the human scale. Students taking honors chemistry at St. George’s School receive a rigorous practical and theoretical background in the fundamentals of this subject. Key topics include atomic and electronic structure, states of matter, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, reaction kinetics, equilibrium, acids and bases and electrochemistry. Learning within the classroom is supplemented by work in the laboratory, a customized online textbook, and other web-based resources. Honors Chemistry differs from general chemistry at St. George’s in that it places a larger emphasis on the quantitative aspects of the subject and covers many topics in greater depth.

Advanced Chemistry
(Prerequisite Chemistry and Algebra II )
CHEMISTRY 420/A
Full-Year

Open by invitation to fifth- and sixth-formers; Prerequisites Chemistry and Algebra I

This intensive yearlong, college-level course prepares students for the Advanced Placement examination. Note that it is expected that students will have studied a prior year of chemistry, providing the background for the fast pace and in-depth treatment this course offers. Emphasis is given to atomic structure and multifaceted quantitative problems dealing with stoichiometry, equilibrium and thermochemistry. Weekly labs concentrate on developing laboratory techniques as well as collecting, analyzing and presenting data. The text used is Brown’s “Chemistry: The Central Science,” 11th AP edition.

Physics Introduction
(Prerequisite Algebra II )
PHYSICS 400
Full-Year

Open by invitation to fifth- and sixth-formers; Prerequisite Algebra I

Students in this course examine topics ranging from mechanics to optics and electro-magnetism to thermodynamics, from both a current perspective and an historical perspective in a less mathematical way. Galileo’s Renaissance, Ben Franklin’s Colonies, and Hawking’s Universe are discussed along with current trends in research. Laboratory work is an essential component of this course. The text used is Kirkpatrick and Francis’ “Physics: A Conceptual World View,” 7th edition.

Physics
(Prerequisite Algebra II )
PHYSICS 410
Full-Year

Open to fifth- and sixth-formers; Prerequisite Algebra I

A thorough development of Newtonian Mechanics leads to other topics in physics. Electricity and magnetism, fluids and optics all are investigated in both class and laboratory settings. Outside projects and original design exercises will lead students to understand and better appreciate the physical world from a rigorous scientific perspective. The text used is Serway and Faughn’s “Holt Physics,” 2006 edition.

Advanced Physics 1
(Prerequisite/corequisite Algebra II (H))
PHYSICS 460/A
Full-Year

Open by invitation to fifth- and sixth-formers; Prerequisite/Corequisite Algebra II (H)

Advanced Physics 1 provides a faster paced and more quantitatively oriented introduction to general physics, with extensive opportunity for design and inquiry based laboratory experimentation and application of concepts to the real world. Topics include Newtonian mechanics including rotational motion, mechanical waves and simple circuits. Each student should expect to take the Advanced Placement Physics 1 exam in May. Advanced Physics 1 is considered equivalent to the first semester of an algebra college physics course. The text is Cutnell and Johnson’s “Physics.”

Advanced Physics 1 and 2
(Prerequisite/co-requisite Pre-calculus (H))
PHYSICS 470/A
Full-Year

Open by invitation to fifth- and sixth-formers; Prerequisite/Corequisite Precalculus (H)

Students learn a rigorous approach to a full year of college-level algebra based physics while preparing for both the Advanced Placement Physics 1 and 2 Exams. In Advanced Physics 1 and 2, mechanics, fluids, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, optics and atomic physics are all studied in detail. Laboratory work is an important and extensive component of the course, with an emphasis on design and inquiry based labs. Experiments are presented as challenges either to review questions or to introduce new ideas. The Advanced curriculum is a thorough immersion in physics that provides an exciting environment to develop the analytical skills necessary in college. The text is Cutnell and Johnson’s “Physics.

Advanced Physics C
(Prerequisite Calculus)
PHYSICS 480/A
Full-Year

Open invitation to fifth- and sixth-formers; Prerequisite Calculus

Students learn a rigorous approach to college-level, calculus-based physics while preparing for the Advanced Placement Physics C Exams. In Advanced Physics C students study mechanics, electricity and magnetism. Laboratory work is an important and extensive component of the course. Experiments are presented as challenges either to review questions or to introduce new ideas. The Advanced Physics C curriculum is a thorough immersion in calculus based physics and provides an exciting environment to develop the analytical skills necessary in college. The course is equivalent to the first year of physics taken by engineers and physics majors. The text is Sears & Zemansky’s “University Physics,” 13th edition.

 

Principles of Engineering
SCIENCE 301-2 (Also offered as ART 301-2)
Two-Trimester: Fall, Winter

Open to fourth-, fifth- and sixth-formers; Prerequisite Visual Foundation; Prerequisite/Corequisite Chemistry

Fall: Materials     Winter: 

This two-trimester course is a survey course of engineering. The course exposes students to some of the major concepts that they will encounter in a postsecondary engineering course of study including materials, proposal writing, research and fabrication. Students will have the opportunity to develop skills and understanding of concepts through problem-based learning. Used in combination with a team approach, this course challenges students to continually hone their interpersonal skills, creative abilities and problem-solving skills by using engineering concepts. It also allows students to develop strategies to enable and direct their own learning, which is the ultimate goal of education. 

Students will employ engineering and scientific concepts in the solution of engineering design problems. Students will develop problem-solving skills and apply their knowledge of research and design to create solutions to various challenges. Students will also learn how to document their work and communicate their solutions to their peers and faculty members.

Geronimo/Marine Science
(Travel component)
MARINE SCIENCE 331, 332, 333
Trimester: Fall, Winter, Spring

Open to fourth-, fifth- and sixth formers

This trimester course is taught on board Geronimo during the school year. It is largely experiential and unique to each voyage track incorporating elements of navigation and seamanship, marine ecology and oceanography. The core of the Geronimo experience is building the seamanship and navigation skills to serve as crew on an ocean-going sailing vessel, while learning lessons in leadership and collaboration. Topics are introduced in a class setting, and then skills are executed and built while on watch. In navigation, we will start with a foundation of basic coastal piloting and progress to celestial navigation, giving students a strong foundation in traditional navigation. Part of the course will closely relate to our geographic location and include components of ecology, marine biology, oceanography and meteorology. Sailing on board Geronimo will afford you a unique perspective for comparing different marine ecosystems. We will employ hands-on explorations of ecosystems, from estuaries and pelagic plankton communities to tropical coral reefs, whenever possible.

Geronimo’s long-standing research project, a sea turtle population study in cooperation with the University of Florida, will also be a component of this course. This course is also designed to help you gain a better understanding of our interconnectedness with the marine environment and to develop an appreciation for the role of the ocean on a global scale.

Advanced Environmental Science
(Prerequisites: Biology and either Chemistry or Physics)
SCIENCE 420/A
Full-Year

Open by invitation to fifth- and sixth-formers; Prerequisites Biology and either Chemistry or Physics

The Advanced Environmental Science course is designed to be the equivalent of an introductory college course in environmental science. Its goal 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. Environmental Science is interdisciplinary encompassing a wide array of topics, ranging from ecology to politics and policy. While the sociological and political aspects of environmental science are addressed in this course, the Advanced Environmental Science curriculum places a primary emphasis upon scientific principles and analysis. Both the course and the Advanced Placement exam are built upon six central themes: science is a process; energy conversions underlie all ecological processes; the Earth itself is one interconnected system; humans alter natural systems; environmental problems have a cultural and social context; and human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable systems. The objective of this course is to explore the connections within and between the natural and human worlds under the context of these six themes. The text for the course is Friedland and Relyea's “Environmental Science for AP,” 2011.

Environmental Science
(Prerequisites Biology and Chemistry)
SCIENCE 422
Trimester: Winter

Open to fifth- and sixth-formers; Prerequisites Biology and Chemistry

This trimester course considers the interdependence and tension between humans and their environment. Discussions of contemporary, social, economic and ecological concerns such as population growth, world hunger, pollution and resource utilization attempt to provide the student with the general background necessary for consideration of environmental ethics. The student will then critically evaluate and analyze the moral choices involved in such environmental dilemmas as: intergenerational equity, the needs of developing countries versus the needs of industrialized nations, individual needs and rights versus the good of both the local and global communities. Classroom learning is supplemented with readings from scientific journals as well as a range of articles from the Internet. Available winter only.

DNA Science and Biotechnology
(Prerequisites Biology and Chemistry)
SCIENCE 441-2
Trimester: Fall, Winter

Open to fifth- and sixth-formers; Prerequisites Biology and Chemistry

This two-trimester course is for the student interested in further exploration of the most influential molecule on the planet. The molecular structure of DNA and the central dogma of biology (DNA àRNAàProtein) introduces the course and lays the foundation for study of genetic engineering in modern biology labs. Students perform DNA extractions from multiple sources. Bacterial transformations, fragmenting and splicing of DNA, DNA cloning and DNA fingerprinting are a few of the techniques students will become proficient at. Applications in forensics, genetic testing and evolutionary biology are explored. Bioinformatics is a rapidly growing field that utilizes computer genomic databases to research and compare DNA sequences. Students delve into this exciting discipline and make extensive use technology as they locate and manipulate genetic sequences. Offered in the fall/winter.

Energy & Ethics
(Prerequisites one trimester of Theology & Religious Studies and one trimester of Chemistry or Physics)
SCIENCE 443, TRS 443
Trimester: Spring

Open to fifth- and sixth-formers

Anthropogenic climate change is not just a scientific fact — it is a moral issue. To give context to this great moral issue of our time, “Energy and Ethics” is a trimester elective that embraces the relationship between our ethical choices and energy production and usage. The course will begin with some exploration of the language and history of ethics, including both classical and religious perspectives. We will splice this knowledge with an exploration of the physics and chemistry of energy, and how this knowledge has been used to power the infrastructure of our society and economy. This is a course in seeing these connections. This will be done through discussions, readings, lectures and experiments all drawn from the best classical and current literature. The heart of the course will then be the question: What are the impacts of those decisions and how should we act to address them as moral citizens in our local communities and in the world community? Available spring only.

Pre-Veterinary Science
(Prerequisites Biology and Chemistry)
SCIENCE 453
Trimester: Spring

Open to fifth- and sixth formers; Prerequisites Biology and Chemistry

This trimester course introduces some of the major concepts in Animal Science with emphasis on the veterinary aspect of disease and wellness. The expectation is to cover the history of veterinary medicine and the various careers within the field, classification and domestication of animals, medical terminology and comparative anatomy and the transmission, prevention and control of disease. Offered spring only.

A Coeducational Boarding and Day School for Grades 9 Through 12
St. George's School
372 Purgatory Road Middletown, Rhode Island 02842
401-847-7565
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