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Science

Xavier's Science curriculum fosters students’ curiosity as they learn to phrase scientific questions, construct testable hypotheses, and efficiently gather data. Students analyze data quantitatively, effectively communicate their findings, and justify their conclusions.

This department actively promotes scientific literacy, and the understanding of the unifying scientific principles that govern the physical and biological disciplines. Scientific literacy is demonstrated through effective problem solving, along with informed, responsible and ethical decision making. Students gain a comprehensive understanding of the natural world utilizing the scientific method.

Physical Science

Accelerated - Course #415, Full Year, 1 Credit, Freshmen

Accelerated Physical Science seeks to give all students a beginning knowledge of physics and chemistry principles and to offer insight into the means by which scientific knowledge is acquired. Topics studied in the course include Newton’s Laws of Motion, inertia and momentum, gravity, satellite and projectile motion, electricity and magnetism, chemical reactions, and atomic structure and bonding. Students also acquire laboratory skills through experimentation, the use of various pieces of instrumentation, and keeping a laboratory notebook.

CP - Course #416, Full Year, 1 Credit, Freshmen

The Physical Science (College Prep PS) course of study is designed to guide all students to knowledge of physical science and the way scientific knowledge is acquired. Students acquire laboratory skills, reasoning skills, and the ability to communicate by participating in a cooperative learning process. Students will study and investigate Physical Science concepts in basic chemistry and the fundamentals of physics. The goal of the course is to prepare all students for the increased rigor of more advanced chemistry and physics curriculum in subsequent years.


Physics

Honors - Course #410, Full Year, 1 Credit, Freshmen

Conceptual Physics provides an overview of some key topics in physics. This is not a math intensive course. Basic algebra will be used with a brief introduction to trigonometry. However, the emphasis will be on mastering the concepts. Topics covered include: Mechanics, waves and sound, light, and electricity and magnetism. Demonstrations and labs are an integral part of the course. Placement is restricted to students enrolled in the Freshmen Honors Program. It is strongly recommended that all students in the Honors Physics 9 class have a strong foundation in Algebra I having already taken a full year course in eighth grade. All students who wish to enroll in Honors Physics 9 must take Xavier’s Algebra Placement Exam.

Chemistry

Honors - Course #421, Full Year, 1 Credit, Sophomores

The Honors Chemistry course will focus on the study of matter – its structure, properties, and composition, and the changes it undergoes. Students will be introduced to atomic structure, the Periodic Table, stoichiometry, solutions, kinetics, gas laws, equilibrium, acids, bases, salts, redox, and electrochemistry. The material will be presented through both a theoretical study and a hands-on laboratory experience with some offering an open-ended approach to the solving of a problem. Through the lab program, students will be introduced to technology used in the collection of data. As a result of the labs, students will have experience with the collection, interpretation and presentation of data in a scientific setting.

Accelerated - Course #422, Full Year, 1 Credit, Sophomores

The Accelerated Chemistry course focuses on the study of matter – its structure, properties, and composition, and the changes it undergoes. Students are introduced to atomic structure, the states of matter, the Periodic Table, nomenclature and chemical formulas, ionic and covalent bonding, chemical equations, stoichiometry, thermochemistry, solutions, gas laws, acids, bases, salts, redox, and electrochemistry. The material is presented through both a theoretical study and a hands-on laboratory experience. Through the lab program, students are introduced to technology used in the collection of data. As a result of the labs, students gain experience with the collection, interpretation and presentation of data in a scientific setting.

CP - Course #425, Full Year, 1 Credit, Sophomores

This is an introductory course in basic chemical principles with a great deal of emphasis on laboratory activities. Topics covered are matter and its classification, Atomic Theory, bonding reactions and equations, acids and bases, environmental chemistry and nuclear chemistry. These topics are presented through class activities, lab work, and theoretical study.


Biology

Honors - Course #435, Full Year, 1 Credit, Juniors

In this introductory biology course, students explore the following core concepts: biochemistry, the cell, respiration and photosynthesis, genetics, evolution, plant and animal form and function, and ecology. Laboratory work is an integral part of the course and, given the basic methodology, students will have a hand in designing some of their own experiments. Means of student assessment will include exams, lab reports, and quizzes on daily readings.

Accelerated - Course #436, Full Year, 1 Credit, Juniors

This introductory biology course is offered to those students who have taken a one-year chemistry course. Topics covered during the year include the nature of life, ecology, cells, genetics, evolution, and the human body. The course also includes inquiry activities, labs, data analysis, and problem solving to help the student develop a scientific thought process as well as laboratory techniques. One of the goals of this course is to prepare the student to meet the challenges of an ever-changing scientific environment. Assessments include quizzes, lab reports, research papers and tests.

CP - Course #439, Full Year, 1 Credit, Juniors

Biology is the scientific study of life. Life can be studied on scales ranging from the macroscopic (large) to the microscopic (small). In this course students will be studying the structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, and distribution of living things on earth. This includes studying how different kinds of living things interact with each other and with their environment. There are four major topics that unify all parts of the biological world from the large to the small including cell theory, evolution by natural selection, genetics, and homeostasis. In addition to lecture, various labs will be performed in order to help you better understand important biological and scientific concepts. This course is intended to prepare college prep students for future coursework in college and/or a career.


Engineering I, II, III

Honors Engineering I - Course #420, Full Year, 1 Credit, Sophomores

This engineering course is designed to introduce students to the vast fields of engineering. Students are required to have some background in physics, as well as a strong mathematical foundation. Throughout the course, students will study a variety of topics ranging from the nature and history of engineering to specific fields of engineering such as structural or chemical engineering. Hands-on projects are applied whenever possible to help understand the engineering design process. This course is designed to cultivate students’ natural problem solving ability. Pre-requisite: Students enrolled in this course must be enrolled in Honors Algebra II and have approval of Academic Dean.

Honors Engineering II - Course #4300, Full Year, 1 Credit, Juniors

This Engineering course is designed to continue each student’s experiences in learning about engineering, as well as to prepare for possible future engineering courses at the college level. Students will begin study of Statics, which deals with the study of systems that are in a state of rest or uniform motion. This is a fundamental engineering course with concepts that serve as the building blocks for future courses in engineering, especially for mechanics of solids. Students will also continue to work on numerous hands-on projects, both individually and in groups.

Pre-requisite: Students enrolled in this course must be enrolled in Honors PreCalculus, completed Honors Engineering I, and have approval of Academic Dean.

Honors Engineering III - Course #4400, Full Year, 1 Credit, Seniors

Engineering III students will continue their study of Statics while exploring new topics pertaining to the mechanics of materials. Students will also continue working on numerous hands on projects, both individually and in groups. They will also continue to refine their presentation skills. More complex problems and projects will be utilized, with attention given to problems from or at the level of those assigned at the United States Invitational Young Physics Tournament.

Pre-requisite: Students enrolled in this course must be enrolled in a Calculus class, completed Honors Engineering II, and have approval of Academic Dean.



AP Chemistry

Course #431, Full Year, 1 Credit, Juniors

The AP Chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first college year. Students should deepen their understanding of fundamentals and gain a reasonable competence in solving chemical problems. This course contributes to the development of the student’s abilities to think clearly and logically as well as express their ideas, orally and in writing, with clarity. AP Chemistry is a more in-depth mathematical study of stoichiometry, kinetics, acids and bases, redox, equilibrium, thermodynamics, atomic and molecular structure, and electrochemistry. Laboratory experiments are an integral part of the course and will be a combination of investigations along with real life problem solving scenarios that will further expose students to available research technology. Pre-requisite: Completion of prior chemistry course or aptitude shown through passing achievement exam as well as approval by the Department Chairperson and Academic Dean.

AP Biology UCONN ECE

Course #441, Full Year, 1 Credit, Seniors, UCONN ECE Course

The AP/UConn ECE Biology Lecture course (441) must be taken concurrently with the AP/UConn ECE Biology Laboratory course (4441L). Together, these comprise the equivalent of two semesters of introductory college biology. As prescribed by the UConn Early College Experience (ECE) Handbook for Biology 1107 & 1108, the curriculum embodies a two-fold goal: first, to enable the student to develop a conceptual framework for an understanding of modern biology. This framework includes cell biology and biochemistry, genetics, genomics, bioinformatics and proteomics, and animal form and function for Biology 1107, and evolutionary biology, biological diversity, plant form and function, and ecology for Biology 1108. Secondly, the course enables the student to gain an appreciation of science as a process through hands-on inquiry and descriptive observations. In addition to following the prescribed UConn ECE requirements, the combined lecture/lab courses also fulfill the College Board’s Advanced Placement

(AP) curriculum learning objectives. Four “Big Ideas” form the core of the revised AP Biology curriculum framework, weaving connections across the lecture/lab courses: (1) Evolution (2) How biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce, and to maintain dynamic homeostasis. (3) How living systems store, retrieve, transmit, and respond to information essential to life processes. (4) How biological systems interact. This class currently earns 8 credits through the Early College Experience Program at the University of Connecticut. Pre-requisite: Approval by the Department Chairperson and Academic Dean.

Course #4441L, Full Year, 1 Credit, Seniors, UCONN ECE Course

The AP/UConn ECE Biology Lab Course (4441L) must be taken concurrently with the AP/UConn ECE Biology (lecture) course (441). Together, these comprise the equivalent of two semesters of introductory college biology (UConn Early College Experience (ECE) Principles of Biology 1107 & 1108. This lab course enables the student to gain an appreciation of science as an investigative process through hands-on, student-designed, open-ended inquiry (a requirement of the redesigned AP Biology curriculum) as well as through descriptive observations. In addition to conducting each of the AP Biology framework’s thirteen investigative labs, the student will also conduct lab exercises that fulfill the UConn ECE Biology 1107/1108 curriculum requirements.


AP Environmental Science UCONN ECE

Course #4452, Full Year, 1 Credit, Seniors, UCONN ECE Course

In this AP Environmental Science (APES) course, students have the opportunity to develop and use models that relate to the study of ecological systems and to quantitatively analyze some of their own impacts on the environment. They design and carry out lab investigations on variables that can influence natural systems. Students learn to identify and analyze environmental problems that may arise when local and global ecosystems are disturbed. Additionally, students participate in an interdisciplinary examination of the cultural, social, and economic dimensions of environmental problems and policies.

An important goal of the course is to equip students with the skills necessary to assess their own environmental choices as consumers, voters and inhabitants of planet Earth. The course syllabus prepares the student to take the required AP Environmental Science Exam in early May. Students additionally earn three UConn credits through its ECE Program by fulfilling course requirements set by the university. Pre-requisite: Approval by the Department Chairperson and Academic Dean.

AP Physics 1; AP Physics C

AP Physics 1 Course #4425, Full Year, 1 Credit, Seniors

AP Physics 1 is an algebra-based course in general physics that meets for 45 minutes each day for the entire school year. General physics topics presented during the course closely follow those outlined by the College Board and also mirrors an introductory level university physics course. AP Physics 1 is organized around six big ideas that bring together the fundamental science principles and theories of general physics. These big ideas are intended to encourage students to think about physics concepts as interconnected pieces of a puzzle. The solution to the puzzle is how the real world around them actually works. The students will participate in inquiry-based explorations of these topics to gain a more conceptual understanding of these physics concepts. Students will spend less of their time in traditional formula-based learning and more of their effort will be directed to developing critical thinking and reasoning skills.

This course provides a systematic introduction to the main principles of physics and emphasizes the development of conceptual understanding and problem solving ability using algebra and trigonometry. In most colleges this is a one-year terminal course. The course includes topics in both classical and modern physics (Newtonian Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics and Thermal Physics, Electricity and Magnetism, Waves and Optics, and Atomic and Nuclear Physics). Pre-requisite: Approval by the Department Chairperson and Academic Dean.

AP Physics C Course #4423, Full Year, 1 Credit, Seniors

AP Physics C is a calculus-based course in general physics that meets for 45 minutes each day for the entire school year. General physics topics presented during the course closely follow those outlined by the College Board and also mirrors an introductory level university physics course designed for students interested in majoring in physics or engineering. The students will participate in directed and inquiry-based explorations of these topics to gain a more conceptual understanding of these physics concepts.

Pre-requisite: Current or prior enrollment in a Calculus or higher level math course and approval by the Department Chairperson and Academic Dean.

Conceptual Physics

Accelerated - Course #443, Full Year, 1 Credit, Seniors

Conceptual Physics provides an overview of some key topics in physics. As the title indicates, this is not a math intensive course. Basic algebra will be used with a brief introduction to trigonometry. However, the emphasis will be on mastering the concepts. Topics covered include: Mechanics, waves and sound, light, and electricity and magnetism. Demonstrations and labs are an integral part of the course.

Microbiology

Accelerated - Course #449, Semester Course, .5 Credit, Juniors & Seniors

This one semester elective is offered to juniors and seniors who have completed biology and chemistry. The course will serve as an introduction as well as an expanded look at the structure and life cycles of organisms. Clinical as well as everyday applications and uses of microorganisms will be the target of information; this will give the students a better understanding of the effect these creatures have on our world. The course will be based around lectures with lab requirements and a final research project giving each student the opportunity to research a disease and its microbial cause. Microbiology is a must for any student interested in clinical or medical sciences.

Anatomy & Physiology

Accelerated - Course #4440, Semester Course, .5 Credit, Juniors & Seniors

Anatomy and Physiology is designed as a continuation of an accelerated high school biology course. The course outline follows a level of organization approach which includes the major systems of the body as well as newest advances in biochemistry and medical research. Both text work and laboratory work center on the principles of homeostasis.

Science Department Faculty

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David Applegate

David Applegate

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Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham

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Frank DiCapua

Frank DiCapua

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Kelsey Doherty

Kelsey Doherty

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Meghan Keefe

Meghan Keefe

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