Science Courses and Descriptions

  • Science Graduation Requirement

    To satisfy graduation requirements, students must earn three (3) credits in science courses:  Biology, Chemistry or Physics, and one additional lab science.  If Physics is used as a fourth year of math, it cannot count as a science credit for graduation purposes.

    We strongly encourage students to take a science course each year.

    Recommended Science Pathway

    9th Grade- Biology 1 or Agriscience

    10th Grade- Biology, Physical Science, or Chemistry or Physics

    11th Grade- Chemistry or Physics or 3rd Lab Science

    12th Grade- 4th Lab Science (recommended but not required)

    *Some CTE classes can also count as a lab science:

    • SDC: Introduction to Plant Science 
    • Agriscience
    • Engineering Design 1
    • Engineering Design 2
    • Nutrition Science & Diet Therapy
    • Human Anatomy & Physiology
    • Veterinary Science
    • Food Science & Safety 
    • BIOSTEM I-IV
    • Advanced Food Science
    • Plant & Soil Science

    **Students with qualifying disabilities as documented in the IEP are required to complete Biology and two other lab sciences through one of the following four science pathways:

     

    9th Grade

    10th Grade

    11th Grade

    Option 1

    Agriscience

    Biology 1 A

    Biology 1 B

    Option 2

    Biology 1 A

    Biology 1 B

    Agriscience

    Option 3

    Biology 1 A

    Biology 1 B

    Ecology

    Option 4

    Biology 1 A

    Biology 1 B

    Physical Science

    Option 5

    Biology

    Physical Science

    3rd higher level science

     *Many colleges or universities may require Chemistry or Physics for admission. Please check with colleges of interest to verify admissions requirements.

    Science Courses and Descriptions

    Biology I (G03H03)

    Biology is the study of living organisms.  Students will investigate the following:  cells, interactions, photosynthesis and respiration, genetics, diversity of organisms, and biological evolution.  The course will be taught with an emphasis on hands-on learning, laboratories, technology and relevancy to major life issues and career choices.  The labs will include dissection.  Students will take the state End of Course exam at the conclusion of the course which will count towards the student's semester grade.

    • Grade Level: 9
    • Prerequisite: NA
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    Honors Biology I (G03H03H)

    This is a more in-depth study of topics presented in biology.  Students will be asked to integrate scientific facts into abstract processes.  Students must successfully meet district and teacher expectations in the completion of honors criteria each quarter. Students will take the state End of Course exam at the conclusion of the course, which will count 25% of the student's semester grade.

    • Grade Level: 9
    • Prerequisite: NA
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    Biology IA & Biology IB (G03H04A/G03H05B)

    This two year course sequence introduces students with qualifying disabilities to the world of living things, including basic life processes at the molecular, cellular, systemic, organisms, and  ecological levels of organizations within the biosphere; interdependence and interactions within the environment to include relationships, behavior, and population dynamics; cultural and historical scientific contributions of men and women; evidence that supports biological evolution; and current and future technologies.  Students will investigate the world around them and will develop the knowledge, prerequisite skills, and habits of mind needed for daily living and ethical decision making on issues including biotechnology and the environment, as well as provide a background for advanced biological studies and personal career choices. Students will take the state End of Course exam at the conclusion of Biology 1 B, which will count towards the student's grade for Biology I B. 

    *Students with qualifying disabilities as documented in the IEP may earn science credit for Biology IA and Biology IB

    • Grade Level: 9, 10
    • Prerequisite: Must be approved by IEP team
    • Minimum Credit: 1 per course
    • Maximum Credit: 1 per course

    Honors Biology II (G03H09

    The academic standards for high school Biology II are built on the foundation provided by Biology I (a prerequisite course) and are research-based, supported by the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education. Biology II provides students with the opportunity to focus on a particular aspect of life science in more detail while continuing to provide knowledge that is rooted in the same crosscutting concepts and practices utilized throughout all of the sciences. The academic standards for Biology II focus on organism classification and evolution with in depth analysis of plants and animals.

    • Grade Level: 10, 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Biology I
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    AP Biology (G03H10)

    AP Biology is designed to be the equivalent of a college introductory biology course usually taken by biology majors during their first year.  Students study the evolution of living systems from molecular, cellular, organismal, and population levels.  Specific topics include biochemistry, structure and function of organelles and cells, energy transformation in photosynthesis and respiration, the development of the chromosomal theory of inheritance, the regulation of the prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes, biotechnology and society and mechanisms of evolution.  It will prepare students to think critically about the rapidly changing field of biology.  The laboratory component is equivalent to a typical college course.  Students should be academically motivated with a great desire to learn the sciences.  Extended time is required (before or after school, during intervention/enrichment, etc.) as per College Board.  This rigorous course is intended for students who plan on entering biology fields and/or pre-medicine.  Students will be preparing to take the College Board AP exam in May for the chance of earning college credit.  Students should have strong knowledge of biology and chemistry concepts. We recommend students complete Biology I and Chemistry I prior to enrolling in course.

    • Grade Level: 10, 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Biology, Algebra 1, and Chemistry (concurrent and teacher approval)
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    *This course counts as an EPSO if students successfully complete the course and attempt the exam.

    Chemistry I (G03H12)

    Chemistry I is a course that explores the properties of substances and the changes that substances undergo.  Topics concentrate on three main areas:  qualitative laboratory experiments; general problem-solving techniques; and the Atomic Theory of Matter.  Students gain an understanding of nomenclature, processes in terms of molecules, and laboratory techniques. Students will investigate atomic structure, properties of matter and energy, interactions of matter, properties of solutions, and acids and bases.  This course will be taught with an emphasis on hands-on laboratory investigations and integration of technology as much as possible.  The course also emphasizes problem-solving and uses many algebraic math skills.

    • Grade Level: 10, 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Algebra I
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    Honors Chemistry I (G03H12H)

    Chemistry I Honors is a more in depth, faster paced course that explores the properties of substances and the changes that substances undergo.  Topics concentrate on three main areas:  qualitative laboratory experiments; general problem-solving techniques; and the Atomic Theory of Matter.  Students gain an understanding of nomenclature, processes in terms of molecules, and laboratory techniques. Students will investigate atomic structure, properties of matter and energy, interactions of matter, properties of solutions, and acids and bases.  This course will be taught with an emphasis on hands-on laboratory investigations and integration of technology to prepare students for possibly taking an Advanced Placement or dual enrollment science course.  The course also emphasizes problem-solving and uses many algebraic math skills.

    • Grade Level: 10, 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Algebra I
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    Honors Chemistry II (G03H15)

    The Chemistry II standards build on topics that were introduced in Chemistry I with increased rigor. Students will explore these advanced chemistry concepts and the seven core concepts (patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter; structure and function; and, stability and change) through laboratory techniques, manipulation of chemical quantities, and advanced problem-solving practices. Within the Chemistry II standards, scientific and engineering practices are embedded as a means to learn about specific topics identified for the course. Engaging in these practices with current applications will help students become scientifically literate and astute consumers of scientific information.

    • Grade Level: 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Algebra I
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    AP Chemistry (G03H16)

    AP Chemistry is designed to be the equivalent of the general college-level chemistry course, usually taken during a student’s first college year.  It is designed to be taken by students after successful completion of Chemistry and Algebra II; however, Algebra II may be taken concurrently with permission by a school administrator. Chemistry AP provides students with a general understanding of the structure of matter and its interactions.  Specific topics covered are atomic theory, stoichiometry, thermochemistry, the electronic structure of atoms, gas laws, ionic reactions, reactions rates, chemical equilibria, introductory thermodynamics and electrochemistry.  The laboratory component is equivalent to a typical college course. Students should be academically motivated with a great desire to learn the sciences. Extended time may be required (before or after school, during intervention/enrichment time, etc.) as per College Board.  Students will be preparing to take the College Board AP exam in May for the chance of earning college credit.

    • Grade Level: 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Algebra I, Biology, and Chemistry (or teacher approval)
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    *This course counts as an EPSO if students successfully complete the course and attempt the exam.

    Earth and Space Science (G03H02)

    The Earth and Space Science course examines the role of Earth’s place in the universe, the interplay of Earth’s systems, and the interrelationships between Earth’s systems and human activity. Inherent in this course is a look at how Earth has changed over time and the dynamics that continue to affect it. As events have impacts on the hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, and geosphere, there are also sphere-to-sphere dynamics taking place in the short, medium, and long-term. This is a lab course, with an emphasis on important 21st century critical thinking skills.

    • Grade Level: 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Algebra I
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    Ecology (G03H32)

    Ecology is a lab science that enables students to develop an understanding of the natural environment and the environmental problems the world faces.  Students will investigate fundamental ecological principles, population dynamics, natural resources, human interactions with the environment, and personal and civic responsibility.  An emphasis will be placed on hands-on activities and outdoor labs to develop understanding of these concepts. This course can count as a 3rd lab science.

    • Grade Level: 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Algebra I, Biology
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    AP Environmental Science (G03H25)

    The goal of the AP Environmental Science lab 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.  Due to the quantitative analysis that is required in the course, students must have taken at least one year of Algebra.  Students will be preparing to take the College Board AP exam in May for the chance of earning college credit.

    • Grade Level: 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Biology, Chemistry, Algebra 1
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    *This course counts as an EPSO if students successfully complete the course and attempt the exam.

    Geology (G03H01)

    Geology is a laboratory science course that explores the origins and the connections between the physical, chemical, and biological processes that govern the earth system.  Students explore the physical aspects of earth processes and cycles through open-ended field and laboratory investigations.  Understanding the importance of these processes and how they influence humankind enables students to make sound decisions about both their community and the earth’s global environment.  Embedded standards for inquiry and technology and engineering are taught in the context of the content standards for maps, matter and minerals, rocks and the rock cycle, geologic history, plate tectonics, and landforms. This class can count as a third lab science.

    • Grade Level: 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Biology and Chemistry
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    Honors Human Anatomy and Physiology (G03H31H)-Local Dual Credit with MTSU

    This is an advanced study of human anatomy and physiology including numerous lab dissections, microscopic techniques and exercises using various types of lab equipment.  Students will investigate anatomical orientation, and systems related to the following themes:  protection, support and movement, integration and regulation, transportation, absorption and excretion, and reproduction, growth and development.  This course is designed for students interested in health and medical careers.  Dissection is required.  This course covers the elements of Anatomy and Physiology with additional open-ended investigations, outside reading, and opportunities for critical analysis and application. This course can count as a 3rd lab science. At the end of this course students may elect to take a challenge exam with MTSU to earn college credit upon enrollment at MTSU.

    • Grade Level: 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Biology
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    *This course counts as an EPSO if students successfully complete the course and attempt the challenge exam via MTSU.

    Physical Science (GO3H00)

    In this lab science, students learn the core ideas of matter and its interactions, motion and stability, energy, and waves and their applications in technologies for information transfer. An emphasis will be placed science and engineering practices and on critical thinking and problem solving, application and communication, and hands on learning.

    • Grade Level: 9, 10, 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: NA
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    Honors Physics I (G3H20H)

    Physics Honors is a course that studies the interaction between matter and energy.  Topics include mechanics, thermodynamics, waves and sound, light and optics, electricity and magnetism, and atomic and nuclear physics.  Physics is a math-based course that involves the application of mathematical principles and problem solving, graph interpretation, laboratories, and lab reporting.  Strong math and analytical thinking skills are important.  There is much more emphasis on mathematics than standard physics.  Students must successfully meet district and teacher expectations in the completion of honors criteria each quarter.

    • Grade Level: 10, 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Biology, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II concurrently
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    AP Physics 1 (G03H27)

    Physics 1 AP is equivalent to a first-semester college course in algebra-based physics.  The course covers Newtonian mechanics (including rotational dynamics and angular momentum); work, energy, and power; and mechanical waves and sound.  It will also introduce electric circuits.  No prior course work in physics is necessary for students to enroll in AP Physics 1.  Students should have completed geometry and be concurrently taking Algebra II or an equivalent course. Although the AP Physics I course includes basic use of trigonometric functions, this understanding can be gained either in the concurrent math course or in the AP Physics 1 course itself.

    • Grade Level: 10, 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Biology, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    *This course counts as an EPSO if students successfully complete the course and attempt the exam.

    AP Physics 2 (G03H28)

    Physics 2 AP is equivalent to a second-semester college course in algebra-based physics.  The course covers fluid mechanics; thermodynamics; electricity and magnetism; optics; and atomic and nuclear physics.  Students entering AP Physics 2 need to have developed mastery of the learning objectives described in the AP Physics 1 curriculum framework to be prepared for AP Physics 2.  Taking the AP Physics 1 course or a comparable introductory course in physics will satisfy this prerequisite.  Students should also have taken or be concurrently taking pre-calculus or an equivalent course.

    • Grade Level: 10, 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Biology, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus (concurrent), AP Physics 1
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    *This course counts as an EPSO if students successfully complete the course and attempt the exam.

    AP Physics C: Mechanics (G03H29) and Electricity and Magnetism (G03H24)

    The Physics AP Course is designed to be representative of courses commonly offered in colleges and universities.  In the typical Physics C course, roughly one-half year is devoted to mechanics including:  kinematics, Newtonian physics, work, energy, power, linear momentum, circular motion, oscillations and gravitation.  Use of calculus in problem solving and in derivations is expected to increase as the course progresses.  In the second half-year of the C course, the primary emphasis is on classical electricity and magnetism including:  electrostatics, conductors, capacitors and dielectrics, electric circuits, magnetic fields and electromagnetism.  Calculus is used freely in formulating principles and in solving problems.  There are two College Board exams given in Physics C; one on mechanics and one on electricity and magnetism.

    • Grade Level: 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: AP Physics 1
    • Minimum Credit: 1 for each course
    • Maximum Credit: 1 for each course

    *This course counts as an EPSO if students successfully complete the course and attempt the exam.

    Science Elective Courses

    Preparing for ACT, Postsecondary, & Career (G25H00)

    This course provides students with skills and competencies needed to be successful on the  ACT.  Students will become familiar with the format and the scoring of the ACT, learn test taking skills, and receive individualized instruction to improve scores.

    • Grade Level: 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Algebra I, Geometry
    • Minimum Credit: .5
    • Maximum Credit: 4

    CTE Courses for Science Credit

    Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources

    Agriscience (C18H19)

    This is an introductory laboratory science course that prepares students for biology, subsequent science and agriculture courses, and postsecondary study. It serves as the first course for all programs of study in the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Cluster. The content area covers ecology, biological processes, sexual and asexual reproduction, and the study of the chemical and physical laws that govern life. This course helps students understand the important role science serves as the agricultural industry advances to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

    • Grade Level: 9,10
    • Prerequisite: NA 
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    Food Science and Safety (C18H26)

    An applied-knowledge lab science course designed for students interested in food science. The course covers fundamental principles of food science, food safety and sanitation, foodborne pathogens, and food-related standards and regulations.  Upon completion of this course, students will be versed in the technical knowledge and skills necessary for further education and careers in food science.

    • Grade Level: 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Agriscience, Principles of Food Production
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    Advanced Food Science and Safety (C18H24)

    A capstone course designed to prepare students for further education and careers in food science and technology. This course covers advanced principles of food science, characteristics, and properties of food products, processing, and grading techniques and skills, and food labeling and packaging principles. This course counts as a lab science.

    • Grade Level:  12
    • Prerequisite: Agriscience, Principles of Food Production, and Food Science and Safety
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    Veterinary Science (C18H21)

    Veterinary Science is an advanced, fourth-level lab science course in animal science and animal care for students interested in learning more about becoming a veterinarian, vet tech, vet assistant, or pursuing a variety of scientific, health, or agriculture professions.  This course covers principles of health and disease, basic animal care and nursing, clinical and laboratory procedures, and additional industry-related career and leadership knowledge and skills.This is a capstone course and all prerequisites must be met in order for students to qualify from the Tennessee Specific Industry Certification-Animal Science certification test. This test if successfully passed will earn both an Industry Certification and Dual Credit in the Introduction Animal Science course. 

    • Grade Level: 12
    • Prerequisite: Agriscience, Small Animal Science, and Large Animal Science
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    *This course counts as an EPSO if students successfully complete the course and earn a passing score on the industry certification assessment.

    Plant and Soil Science (C18H15)

    This course is an applied-knowledge course focusing on the science and management of plants and soils, with special attention given to current agricultural practices that support the healthy and sustainable cultivation of major crops. Upon completion of this course, proficient students will have been exposed to a range of careers associated with the science and management of plants and soils and will have developed the essential skills and knowledge to be successful in science- or agriculture-related occupations. 

    • Grade Level 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Applied Environmental Science
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    Statewide Dual Credit Introduction to Plant Science (C18H09)

    This lab science course provides an in-depth study of topics to prepare students to be successful in all plant science-based careers. Topics covered include plant anatomy, reproduction, classifications, nutrition, and pest management. Greenhouse structures and production techniques are also coved.  All students enrolled in a statewide dual credit course take the online challenge exam, which is used to assess mastery of the postsecondary-level learning objectives. Students which meet or exceed the exam ‘cut score’ receive college credit that can be applied to any Tennessee public postsecondary institution. Exam scores are reported on the high school transcript to ensure postsecondary credit is accurately awarded but are not used in any state accountability measures.

    • Grade Level: 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Agriscience and Principles of Plant Science & Hydroculture
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    Human Services

    Nutrition Science and Diet Therapy (C19H16)

    Nutrition and Diet Therapy is an applied knowledge course in nutrition for students interested in the role of nutrition in health and disease.  The course covers the development of a nutrition care plan as part of the overall health care process.  Methods for analyzing the nutritional health of a community are explored.  Finally, the relationship of diet and nutrition to specific diseases will be researched including the role of diet as a contributor to disease and its role in the prevention and treatment of disease. This class can count as a 3rd lab science. At the end of this course students have the opportunity to earn industry certification by taking the Tennessee Specific Industry Certification Exam for Dietics and Nutrition.

    • Grade Level: 11, 12
    • Prerequisite: Introduction to Human Studies and Nutrition Across the Lifespan
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    *This course counts as an EPSO if students successfully complete the course and earn a passing score on the industry certification assessment.

    STEM

    Honors BioSTEM I (C12H07H)

    Introduction to BioSTEM is an introductory biotechnology course and is a foundational course in the STEM cluster for students. Content includes aseptic technique, pipetting, measurement, DNA structure and function, DNA extraction, restriction digest, gel electrophoresis, with an emphasis on the scientific method, bioethics, and careers in biotechnology. Upon completion of this course, students will successfully be able to transition to Biotechnology II in which they will build on learned laboratory skills necessary to function in a biotech lab. This class counts as lab science.

    • Grade Level: 9,10
    • Prerequisite: NA
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    Honors BioSTEM II (C21H08H)

    BIOSTEM II is the follow-up course to Introduction to BIOSTEM I. A lecture, discussion, and project-based course that focuses on the molecular and genetic tools used to analyze and modify genetic material and used to modify organisms to produce desired small molecules and proteins. Topics will include the properties and uses of biotechnology-useful enzymes, sequencing techniques, PCR, cloning vectors and hosts, DNA and protein microarrays, directed mutagenesis, and the manipulation of expression (and its levels) of particular gene products. The experimental and model systems that will be studied include bacteria, yeast, and plants. This class counts as a lab science.

    • Grade Level: 10,11,12
    • Prerequisite: BioSTEM I
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    Honors BioSTEM III (C21H09H)

    Upon completion of this course, proficient students are able to identify and explain the steps in the scientific inquiry processes.  Students will build on knowledge and skills learned in the first two courses to pose discrete questions and design scientific investigations to answer those questions.  Basic mathematical modeling and data analysis is key as well as effectively communicating the results. Students will be preparing for an internship at a local lab in the next course, Biotechnology Practicum. This class counts as lab science.

    • Grade Level: 11,12
    • Prerequisite: BioSTEM I and BioSTEM II
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1

    Honors BioSTEM Practicum (Work-Based Learning) (C21H10H)

    BioSTEM Practicum is the fourth course in the STEM cluster for students interested in learning more about careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with an emphasis in Biotechnology. This course provides opportunities for students to use skills and content learned during the first three courses in a real-world university or industry lab setting. Upon completion of this course, proficient students are able to identify, explain, and execute lab-based research utilizing the scientific inquiry processes. They will conduct research to develop meaningful questions, define simple problem scenarios and scientific investigations, develop fundamental design solutions, conduct basic mathematical modeling and data analysis, and effectively communicate solutions and scientific explanations to others. Students also will gain knowledge in how a biotechnology business works.

    • Grade Level: 12
    • Prerequisite: BioSTEM I, BioSTEM II, BioSTEM III
    • Minimum Credit: 1
    • Maximum Credit: 1