The Science Department will provide an academically challenging educational program that prepares students for college while also addressing the scientific issues and challenges of the 21st century. The courses offered are inquiry-based laboratory classes that incorporate critical thinking skills, technological applications, cooperative learning, interdisciplinary themes, and problem-solving techniques.
In order to graduate students who are broadly educated in the sciences, the 7 members of the Pacific American School Science Department encourage students to achieve four major goals. We teach students to actively do science, to become scientifically literate, to participate fully in an inclusive community of learners, and to take responsibility for the process of personal education.
To participate fully in society, citizens require knowledge of scientific issues and an understanding of how those issues relate to their lives. People who are broadly educated and who also have special expertise in the sciences are vital to the well-being of our planet and its inhabitants. The science program is focused around four major goals.
In fulfilling the science requirement, Pacific American school students should demonstrate:
• They can do science. A student should pose testable questions and formulate hypotheses; design and conduct experiments; organize, analyze, and interpret results and information; conceptualize and reason through problems, both qualitatively and quantitatively; and articulate and present clearly and accurately ideas, results, and analysis in an appropriately selected format.
• They are scientifically literate. A student should think clearly and critically about major issues relating to science; gain appreciation of and experience with the natural world; perceive the relevance of science to everyday life, including global environmental issues; and recognize the connections and interdependence among the traditional branches of science and between science and other fields.
• They participate comfortably and fully in an inclusive community of learners. Students and teachers should work effectively with persons of varied backgrounds, interests, and abilities in scientific collaboration, perceive the needs of the individual, team, or community, and work to meet those needs.
• They accept responsibility for the process of personal education. A student should play an active role in discussions, experiments, and decisions; ask questions, question answers, and maintain an independence of thought while engaged in learning; recognize that school is a piece of the continuum of lifelong learning, for science is a rapidly evolving field; and, hence, acquire skills that will allow one to learn beyond the halls of academia.
In order to be scientifically literate in the 21st Century and complete an adequate and competitive college prep curriculum, all students are expected to graduate with 4 years of science. The recommended course sequence starting in 6th grade is as follows: 6th: Earth Science, 7th: Life Science, 8th: Physical Science, 9th Biology, 10th Chemistry, 11th Physics, 12th An Elective Science. Science electives such as honors and AP classes are available starting in the 9th grade and are as follows: Honors classes in: Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics, and AP Environmental Science, and two additional classes Environmental Science, and Marine Science. There are also ESL classes offered in both the middle school and high school for those students who have not yet mastered the English Language.