Physical Science

Major Units of Study

Measurement, Graphing, and Unit Conversion : At the end of this unit, students will understand how the metric and English measuring systems are related, and will be comfortable using both systems. Students will understand the necessity for including a unit with all measured or calculated values, and that unit conversion is necessary in order to solve some problems.

Topics Include : Measurement, Unit Conversion, Graph Construction and Analysis.

Major Project : Dream House Plan and Construction

Atomic Structure and Chemical Reactions : At the end of this unit, students will understand the current model of the structure of the atom, including the concept of quantized electron energy levels. They will understand that an atom’s valence electrons dictate its tendency to interact with other elements and the nature of that interaction.

Topics Include : Development of Modern Atomic Theory, Atomic Structure, Bonding, Chemical Interactions, Periodicity.

Major Project : Renters Beware Mystery

States of Matter and Matter/Energy Interactions : At the end of this unit, students will understand the differences in the structure, characteristics, and energy of various states of matter. They will understand that the addition or removal of energy can effectively change the state of matter and therefore the properties of a particular substance, and that chemical interactions involve a transfer of energy.

Topics Include : Phases of Matter, Mixture and Pure Substances, Temperature and Phase Changes, Mass, Volume, and Density, Buoyancy.

Major Project : Submarine Construction

Mousetrap Racers : At the end of this unit, students will understand the relationship among forces, energy, and motion and they will create and interpret graphs that demonstrate these relationships. They will apply this knowledge in building and modifying a mousetrap racer to meet pre-determined specifications.

Topics Include : Speed, Velocity, and Acceleration, Graphs of Motion, Newton’s Laws, Friction, Conservation of Energy, and Work, Energy, and Power.

Major Project : Mousetrap Racer Construction.

Biochemistry : At the end of this unit, students will have a working knowledge several organic/life molecule types such as carbohydrates and proteins, and enzymes. In addition, they will understand the structure of DNA and the recent advances in DNA analysis.

Topics Include : Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Enzymes, Chemical Indicators, Microscopy, DNA Profiling: Theory and Processes.

Major Project : Cafeteria Caper Investigation
Students taking physical science for Level 1 credit are required to complete multi-step ‘challenge’ problems and are given opportunities for more in-depth study of selected topic.