Pennsylvania’s leading Catholic Day School for Boys, Grades 9-12

Science

 

At La Salle, we go about the essence of science, the “self-correcting” and seeking what is “wrong”, through teaching that is centered on experimentation, promotes the testing of ideas through trial and error, ignites the imagination, and sparks invention. 

 

Allan Sandage, an American astronomer, explained it this way: “Science is the only self-correcting human institution, but it also is a process that progresses only by showing itself to be wrong.” 

We push our students to understand their world as educated observers and incessant learners.  By being trained to question, interpret, and communicate scientific information, our students develop as curious critical thinkers, seeking answers to vexing questions and solutions to real-world problems. 

We teach science through an inquiry-based method so that our students are able to, eventually on their own, recognize the conceptual interwoven connections – physical, biological, chemical, and environmental – all around them and to weigh the ethics of scientific advancements carefully.  By graduation, our students have garnered interdisciplinary insights and a zest for tracking down truth and building knowledge.

Science Faculty

Mr. Thomas Barna

Mr. Thomas Barna

Mr. Jeremy Butt

Mr. Jeremy Butt

Mr. Daniel Cipolla

Mr. Daniel Cipolla

Mr. Charles Cirelli

Mr. Charles Cirelli

Mr. David Crowe

Mr. David Crowe

Mr. Stephen  Duncheskie

Mr. Stephen Duncheskie

Mr. Gerald Evans

Mr. Gerald Evans

Mr. Kyle Finlay

Mr. Kyle Finlay

Mr. James Fyke

Mr. James Fyke

Mr. Terence Gillespie

Mr. Terence Gillespie

Mr. Ryan McDowell

Mr. Ryan McDowell

Mr. Anthony Mieczkowski

Mr. Anthony Mieczkowski

Mr. Vishal Patel

Mr. Vishal Patel

Mrs. Pamala Seeley

Mrs. Pamala Seeley

Mrs. Marie Stott

Mrs. Marie Stott

Mr. Kyle Werman

Mr. Kyle Werman

Science Courses Offered

Integrated Science (Freshman)

This course gives freshmen an introduction to scientific study. The class will go into detail about the nature of science with an emphasis on hands-on application of the scientific method. Students will learn how to write professional lab reports. The course will also introduce students to keystone concepts of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. This course is structured to prepare students for the science requirement at La Salle College High School.

1 Credit/full year

Biology (Sophomores and Selected Freshmen)

This course provides the opportunity for students to study the biochemical basis of life, evolution, animal and plant morphology and systemics, using the scientific method as a mode of investigation. This course is designed to follow Integrated Science and uses an introduction to biochemistry to help explain the process of life.

1 Credit/full year

Biology Honors (Sophomores and Selected Freshmen)

This course provides an opportunity for students to study life with a detailed emphasis on the biochemical processes. (An introduction to Biochemistry is used to help explain the processes of life.) Using the scientific method, the students investigate evolution, animal and plant morphology and systemics. Student assessment is determined by tests, lab work and reports, homework, independent and group projects. The student is expected to express himself in detailed essay answers in order to show a higher level of concept recognition. Satisfactory performance demands a minimum daily allotment of 30 minutes study time. Prerequisite: Minimum 3.3 in Math; honors-level math strongly encouraged; A or A+ in Integrated Science; department approval.

1 Credit/full year

Chemistry (Sophomore / Junior)

This course is an introductory presentation of the fundamental concepts and experimental techniques of modern Chemistry. Using a hands-on application of the scientific method, the course material provides support for the principles on which Chemistry is based and substantiates the important interrelationship between experimentation and fact. When successfully mastered, the student will be able to validate, apply, and interpret the conceptual theory.

1 Credit/full year

Chemistry Honors (Sophomore / Junior)

This course follows the outline of topics for Chemistry 510. This is an HONORS course that emphasizes, at an accelerated pace, the mathematics of Chemistry, as well as the theory. In order to prepare the students for the Advanced Placement course, a more in-depth understanding of the topics are stressed. Student assessment is determined by tests, lab work and reports, homework and outside reading assignments. The student is expected to express himself in detailed essay answers, as well as traditional short answer responses. Satisfactory performance in the course demands a daily allotment of 30 minutes study time. Prerequisites: Minimum 3.3 average in both math and science courses, honors-level math is strongly encouraged; departmental approval.

1 Credit/full year

Advanced Placement Chemistry (Junior / Senior Elective)

The course is designed for students who, having mastered two semesters of Chemistry, desire to expand their knowledge of modern Chemistry. The Advanced Placement student is exposed to an in-depth study of chemical principles and their applications. The following topics will be integrated to allow the student to critically evaluate the chemistry of particular substances: atomic theory, bonding, thermodynamics, equilibrium, kinetics, electrochemistry, acid-base theory, organic and nuclear chemistry. This course is equivalent to a first year college Chemistry course and is strongly recommended for prospective science majors and engineering and pre-medical students. Class will meet for the equivalent of four lecture periods and two double lab periods per cycle. Note: As with all Advanced Placement courses at La Salle, students are expected to take the A.P. exam in May. Prerequisite: Minimum B in Chemistry Honors (511) and B in Honors Math or A- in Chemistry 510 and B+ in Math; honors-level math and science are strongly encouraged; department approval

1 Credit/full year

Physics (Junior / Senior)

This course is a non-calculus based Physics course that examines a variety of concepts in preparation for advanced Physics classes. This course is especially appropriate for students considering a college major in science or engineering, but is available to qualified students who wish to obtain a thorough understanding of basic Physics principles. It includes not only concept knowledge, but also stresses problem-solving using algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. Students are evaluated by means of testing, laboratory reports, and homework assignments. Prerequisite: Minimum 2.0 average in Math courses; department approval.

1 Credit/full year

Advanced Placement Physics 1 (Junior)

This course is for qualifying students who have not taken physics at La Salle. This course is a rigorous college-level physics course that is to prepare students for college work in engineering and the sciences. Topics covered are similar to those covered in the first semester of Physics but at a much deeper level. Additional topics include Mechanical Waves, Sound, Rotational Dynamics, Angular Momentum and Electrostatistics. The course is structured to prepare students to take the Advanced Placement Physics I test. Junior students completing this course could then continue on their study of physics by taking AP Physics 2 (#521) or AP Physics C (#518). Note: As with all Advanced Placement courses at La Salle, students are expected to take the A.P. exam in May. Prerequisite: Minimum 3.5 average in both math and science courses; honors-level math and science are strongly encouraged; department approval

1 Credit/full year

Advanced Placement Physics 2 (Senior)

AP Physics 2 is the next course in a sequence for students who successfully complete AP Physics 1. This course is a rigorous college-level physics course that isto prepare students for college work in engineering and the sciences. Topics covered are similar to those covered in the second semester of Physics but at a much deeper level. Additional topics include Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, electromagnetics, and Atomic and Nuclear physics. The course is structured to prepare students to take the Advanced Placement Physics 2 test. Note: As with all Advanced Placement courses at La Salle, students are expected to take the A.P. exam in May. Prerequisite: Minimum grade of “B” AP Physics I and a minimum 3.5 average in math courses; honors-level math is strongly encouraged; department approval (limited enrollment)

1 Credit/full year

Advanced Placement Physics C (Senior Elective)

This is a second year Physics course designed for students planning to take the Advanced Placement Physics C exam. It is particularly useful for future science/engineering majors. Most of the first semester is devoted to Mechanics, including several topics at a Calculus level. The second semester is devoted to Electricity and Magnetism, which relies heavily on Calculus. Problem solving is intensely stressed. Note: As with all Advanced Placement courses at La Salle, students are expected to take the A.P. exam in May. Prerequisite: A in Physics or B+ in AP Physics 1; student must have taken or be taking Calculus. Since the course is heavily math dependent, honors-level math is strongly encouraged; departmental approval.

1 Credit/full year

Advanced Placement Physics C - Electricity and Magnetism (Senior Elective)

NOTE: This course is offered in the second semester each year.

This is a second year Physics course designed for students planning to take the Advanced Placement Physics C- Electricity and Magnetism exam. It is particularly useful for future science/engineering majors. The semester is devoted to Electricity and Magnetism, which relies very heavily on Calculus. Problem solving is intensely stressed.

Note: As with all Advanced Placement courses at La Salle, students are expected to take the A.P. exam in May.

Prerequisite: A in Physics or B+ in AP Physics 1; a minimum of a B in one year of Calculus (since the course is heavily math dependent, honors-level math is strongly encouraged); departmental approval.

Anatomy and Physiology Honors (Junior / Senior Elective)

This course includes the study of the structure and functions of the human body, with special emphasis on the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems. Using a problem based approach, students investigate the regions of the body in a holistic rather than in a systemic manner. Dissection model is the cat. Tests, class participation and presentations are used to evaluate the student. Prerequisite: B or higher in Science classes taken; department approval (limited enrollment)

1 Credit/full year

Advanced Placement Biology (Junior / Senior Elective)

This course is patterned after the suggested curriculum for Advanced Placement Biology. Student evaluation is based on tests, independent readings, and lab performance. The course represents two introductory college level biology courses with an emphasis on the following topic areas: the process of evolution which drives the diversity and unity of life; biological systems which utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce, and to maintain dynamic homeostasis; living systems which store, retrieve, transmit, and respond to information essential to life processes; and biological systems which interact and their interactions possess complex properties. 42 Note: As with all Advanced Placement courses at La Salle, students are expected to take the A.P. exam in May. Prerequisite: Minimum 3.5 average in biology and chemistry courses; honors-level science is strongly encouraged; departmental approval.

1 Credit/full year

Environmental Science (Junior / Senior Elective)

This course is designed for students who desire an elective that explores scientific principles in depth and applies course concepts to field investigations and lab activities. The focus of the course is on ecology and it will investigate the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships that exist in the natural world. By studying scientific foundations of geology, hydrology, meteorology, and ecology, students will understand the many facets of environmental science, including the dangers of air and water pollution, nuclear energy, and the fragile nature of the biosphere. Note: Students expecting to have a successful experience in this course are recommended to have a C average in science; department approval may be necessary.

1 Credit/full year

Advanced Placement Environmental Science (Junior / Senior Elective)

This course is designed to be the equivalent of an introductory college course in Environmental Science. The class gives qualified and interested students an introduction to the ecological principles of Environmental Science through the use of a lab program, field trips, and independent research, in addition to traditional teaching and learning techniques. By taking an interdisciplinary approach, studying scientific foundations of geology, hydrology, meteorology, and ecology, as well as concepts from economics, politics, and sociology, students will understand the many facets of Environmental Science. The course also focuses on the benefits and rewards of our technology as well as the dangers of air, water, and soil pollution, nuclear energy, and the fragile nature of the biosphere. Note: As with all Advanced Placement courses at La Salle, students are expected to take the A.P. exam in May. Prerequisite: Minimum B in all Science and Math courses; department approval.

1 Credit/full year

Bioethics (Senior Elective)

Throughout the span of the year, students will cover a wide array of topics in medicine, healthcare systems, and research through a perspective of understanding the scientific principles behind each topic and looking at the ethical implications of each decision. The course will work through the major ideas of Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Hume, Locke, Kant, Mill, and other contemporary philosophers. Through this deeper understanding and application of ideas such as utilitarianism and Aristotle’s virtuous life, students will explore topics/issues that currently face medicine, research, and our healthcare system. Students will be expected to use their critical thinking and writing skills they attained from previous science, English, and religion courses. Prerequisite: 2.0 GPA, department approval.

.5 Credit

Zoology (Junior / Senior Elective)

Zoology is the study of all things dealing with animals. This course will include the recognition and classification of animals their anatomy, physiology, development, histology, ecology, behavior and 43 evolution. This course will focus on how body plans have changed over time resulting in the diversity of animals. An understanding of form and function allows students to study how animals have evolved over time and relate animals to their particular role in the ecosystem. Students will also be able to develop an understanding of how all organisms are interconnected. Students should come to realize that humans can positively and negatively impact animal populations and diversity. Prerequisite: Completion of Biology, department approval, limited enrollment.

.5 Credit

Forensic Science

Forensic Science is any science that is used for the purposes of criminal or civil laws. Forensic Science is currently used worldwide to aid in the resolution of civil disputes, the enforcement of criminal laws and/or regulations, and to help protect public health. Forensic Science is truly a comprehensive Science, as it combines the principles of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Environmental Science, Anatomy / Physiology, and other sciences. The main focus of this course is for students to learn the basics of multiple science disciplines, as well as law principles, that together comprise the field of Forensic Science. Students enrolled in the course will engage in lectures, labs, case studies, online activities, and professional visits.

Prerequisite: Completion of Biology and Chemistry; cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 in Science courses; department approval. Limited availability.