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Academic Curriculum

Science

The faculty members in Grier’s science department are passionate and enthusiastic about sharing their love for the world around us. The science curriculum follows a sequential, but flexible progression through the disciplines. Several challenging Honors and AP® courses are available, but concept courses are offered for students who struggle in the sciences. Students can enjoy a variety of science electives, including neuroscience, organic chemistry, marine biology, and anatomy & physiology.

Courses

List of 14 items.

  • Life Science | Life Science Honors

    Life Science is a 7th grade inquiry based course. In this class, we will learn how scientists classify/identify organisms and how organism have evolved over time. We will learn about the bare necessities of life and characteristics that all living things share. We will apply this information to the field of astrobiology and discuss where in the universe life might exist. A study of cells and heredity will also be conducted.  

    Life Science Honors explores the same content, but with additional emphasis on analysis and introduction to research.
  • Earth & Space Science | Earth & Space Science Honors

    Earth Science is an 8th grade inquiry based course. In this class, we will study of the earth's geologic timescale followed by an astronomy unit that will focus on the Earth, our solar system, and stars/galaxies. During the second semester, we will study minerals, rocks, plate tectonics, volcanoes, and weathering.

    Earth & Space Science Honors explores the same content, but with additional emphasis on analysis and introduction to research.
  • Biology

    This course is an overview of the fundamentals of life science: cellular structure, photosynthesis and cellular respiration, cell growth and division, genetics, the origins of life, evolution, ecology, pathogens and body defenses, protists, fungi, plants and animals. Labs, activities and dissections will be performed to complement the material. | Grade: 9-12
  • Biology, Honors

    Honors Biology is a fast paced biology course that highlights the core concepts of biology. Emphasis will be placed on cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, biotechnology, and independent research. Material will be communicated through verbal instruction, classroom discussion, projects, and laboratories. The course is designed to give adequate preparation for higher education in sciences and/or students who are AP Biology bound. |  Grade: 9-12
  • Chemistry Concepts

    This is an introductory chemistry class to teach the basic concepts of chemistry. Topics covered in this class include: physical and chemical properties of matter, how matter changes, naming compounds and molecules, quantifying matter, atomic theory, nuclear chemistry, balancing and classifying chemical equations, and stoichiometry. We visit a local nuclear reactor in the spring. Students in this class have a moderate interest in science and its applications. Prerequisites: Biology; Physics or Physical Science | Grades: 10-12
  • Chemistry

    This is an introductory chemistry class to teach the basic concepts of chemistry. Topics covered in this class include: physical and chemical properties of matter, how matter changes, naming compounds and molecules, quantifying matter, atomic theory, nuclear chemistry, balancing and classifying chemical equations, and stoichiometry. Students in this class have a moderate interest in science and its applications. |  Grades: 10-12
  • Chemistry, Honors

    Honors Chemistry offers the student an opportunity to demonstrate her math skills and memorize and apply fundamental chemical concepts. These concepts include, but are not limited to, the use of the Periodic Table, acid/base chemistry, nomenclature and stoichiometry. Students in the class typically have strong math skills and a high level of interest in science. | Grades: 9-12
  • Physical Science

    Physical Science is an introduction to elementary chemistry and physics principles. This course begins to formulate an understanding of scientific concepts and principles. | Grade: 9 or 11
  • Physics

    This course will cover motion, Newton’s Laws of motion, momentum, energy, electrostatics, electricity, magnetism, waves, sound and light. Emphasis placed on the concepts of physics with mathematical equations as guides to these concepts. | Grade: 9-12
  • Physics, Honors

    This fast paced physics course will cover motion, one and two dimensional motion, Newton’s Laws of motion, momentum, energy, electrostatics, electricity, magnetism, waves, sound and light. This course is very math oriented and requires both algebra and trigonometry to master. |  - Grades: 10-12
  • AP® Biology

    Grier's Advanced Placement® program provides students with competitive courses which prepare students for university and college studies.

    This two-semester, college-level course covers supporting biochemistry, cells, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, cell division, genetics, molecular biology, viruses, bacteria, ecology, and evolution. An intensive look at biology prepares students for the AP® exam. Students will be expected to meet with this class once a week during an extra help that will be determined by the teacher. Students will be given a summer assignment at the end of the previous year that will be due at the start of classes. This course meets during two class periods each day. Prerequisites: Honors Biology, Chemistry
  • AP® Chemistry

    The AP® Chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of the first-year college general chemistry course. Students in such a course will attain a depth of understanding of fundamentals and a reasonable competence in dealing with chemical problems. The course contributes to the development of the students’ abilities to think clearly and to express their ideas, orally and in writing, with clarity and logic. The AP® course in general chemistry differs qualitatively from the usual first secondary school course in chemistry with respect to the kind of textbook used, the topics covered, the emphasis on chemical calculations and the mathematical formulation of principles, and the kind of laboratory work done by students. Quantitative differences appear in the number of topics treated, the time spent on the course by students, and the nature and the variety of experiments done in the laboratory.
  • AP® Environmental Science

    The goal of this full year course is to use the students’ knowledge of biology, chemistry and physics to deepen their understanding of current environmental issues. Subjects covered will be Environmental and Earth Systems and Ecology, Biodiversity, Wild and Human Populations, Land Use and Resources, Agriculture and Food, Water Resources and Pollution, Air Pollution, Ozone Depletion, Nonrenewable and Renewable Energy, Waste Generation and Disposal, Toxins, Human Health and Environmental Health, Global Change, Sustainability, Economics and Equity. The course will also develop the critical thinking and analytical skills that are necessary to weigh the socioeconomic costs and benefits of this type of decision-making. Research and data collection will be a large part of the class and students’ own interests will be explored. This class will prepare students for the AP® exam in Environmental Science in May. Students are expected to take this exam as the culmination of the course. Students will have assignments over Winter Break and Spring Break.
  • AP® Physics 1

    AP® Physics 1 is an algebra-based introductory college level physics course, first semester. This inquiry based class will encompass kinematics 1D and 2D, dynamics, circular motion, simple harmonic motion, impulse and momentum, work and energy, rotational mechanics, electrostatics, simple DC circuits and sound waves. The class will emphasize learning physics through inquiry labs. Students will be expected to meet with this class once a week during an extra help that will be determined by the teacher. Students are required to take the AP® exam in May. Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation.

Electives

List of 6 items.

  • Anatomy & Physiology - Grade: 9, 10, 11, or 12

    Anatomy & Physiology is a full year, in-depth course on the human body. Students will cover all organ systems, with a focus on the names and locations of structures and their functions. The course also examines how the organ systems work together to keep us alive and common diseases associated with each organ system. Animal dissections will be performed throughout the course and participation is mandatory.
  • Environmental Science- Grade: 10, 11, or 12

    This full year course in environmental studies will explore current environmental issues. Students will discover how ecosystems work, diversity of ecosystems and organisms, and the dynamics of wild and human populations. Important environmental topics such as water and air pollution, food and agriculture, land use, climate change, nonrenewable and renewable energy, waste generation and disposal, and human and environmental will then be studied. Students’ own interests will be explored and information will be applied to their everyday lives. Pre-requisites - Biology, Physics and Chemistry.
  • Marine Biology - Grade: 9, 10, 11, or 12

    Marine Biology is the scientific study of the organisms that live in the sea. The study of organisms in the marine environment expands to those in the world’s oceans and brackish water (marshes, bays, etc.) This course begins with the history of Marine Biology, the sea floor, and its topography. The chemical and physical features of the ocean such as sea water, ocean circulation, waves, and tides are also discussed. The fundamentals of biology such as reproductive strategies, challenges of life in the sea, and the diversity of life in the sea will be covered. The course will then begin a look at the biological properties contained within the sea, starting with marine primary producers and the major factors that shape the pattern of marine primary productivity. Following marine primary productivity, the wide range of phyla in the marine systems coupled with animal behavior of marine organisms will be discussed. The course will then explore different marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, estuaries, bays, marshes, intertidal communities and the pelagic ocean. Lastly the course will discuss the effects of human presence upon the marine ecosystem, including fishing and pollution, and the prospects for the future of marine systems. Class time is spent on a mixture of lectures, activities and laboratories. Laboratories and activities will be performed for each topic. Some labs will include dissection of marine organisms. Trips to aquariums and a marine science station will be taken for out of classroom experience. Prerequisites: Physics, Biology and Chemistry.
  • Organic Chemistry - Grade: 11 or 12

    Organic Chemistry is a full-year science elective designed for students who want to explore the broader range of this division of chemistry beyond their current chemical knowledge. Organic Chemistry focuses on the composition and properties of organic compounds and biomolecules, and the reactions that involve these substances. Topics include: structure and bonding; nomenclature, hydrocarbons and their derivatives; functional groups; stereochemistry; organic reactions; technology, polymer chemistry; and biomolecules.
  • Principles of Engineering - Grade: 10, 11, or 12

    Through problems that engage and challenge, students explore a broad range of engineering topics, including mechanisms, the strength of materials and structures, automation, and motion. Students develop skills in problem solving, research, and design while learning strategies for design process documentation, collaboration, and presentation.
  • Survey of Topics in Neurobiology - Grade: 10, 11, or 12

    This year-long class will be dedicated to understanding the basic function and structure of the human nervous system with an emphasis on current topics in neurobiology. No major tests will be given in this class. Instead, grades will be based on research projects, quizzes and reading and review of current literature. These are some of the topics that will be covered: structure and function of the nervous system, cellular neurobiology, neurotransmitters, senses, learning and memory, disorders of thought. Prerequisites: Biology, Physics or Physical Science, Chemistry (may be taken concurrently.)

Faculty

List of 5 members.

  • Photo of Nancy Burke

    Nancy Burke PhD 

    Science Department Chair
  • Photo of Kallie Brubaker

    Kallie Brubaker 

    Teacher
  • Photo of Christine Fernandes

    Christine Fernandes 

    Teacher
  • Photo of Kaitlyn Myers

    Kaitlyn Myers 

    Teacher
  • Photo of Arron Ort

    Arron Ort 

    Teacher

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Grier School

2522 Grier School Rd. | P.O. Box 308; Birmingham, PA 16686-0308
Phone: 814-684-3000 | Fax: 814-684-2177