Science / Health & Physical Education

In today’s society, science and scientific understanding are considered a priority in any education system. Ursuline High School offers a variety of courses to complement the student’s own objectives while achieving the school’s requirements. We understand that not all students have the same proficiency in science, nor the same career goals. We do, however, feel that an understanding of general science, a necessity in today’s society. Included in such an understanding are: scientific method, problem solving, mathematical analysis, laboratory manipulations, ethical considerations, social considerations, historical perspectives, and current topics. The school’s mission and Catholic values are reflected in course work.

The Ursuline High School Science Department will provide a great opportunity for students to develop: critical thinking skills, a basic understanding of three major scientific fields, and practical real life situations in the laboratories, over the next for years. All freshmen are required to take Biology I or Honors Biology I. The department offers advanced placement
courses in Biology and Chemistry.

The department is also responsible for the Health and Physical Educations courses, which are an essential part of the total educational process and contribute to the overall growth and development of our students. Physical Education courses are also offered during Ursuline’s summer school program.


Course Descriptions — Science


Biology I is a lab course designed to give students an in-depth introduction into the life sciences. The areas of molecular and cellular biology are studied in detail with special attention given to the history of biology, RNA/DNA, the principles of heredity, evolution and scientific classification. The structure and function of representative members of the six kingdoms are studied with laboratory sessions that include dissection and microscope work. Biology I is a college prep course designed to give students the skills and information necessary for college Biology. Students will use and reinforce technological skills that are necessary in the study of a Biological Science.


Students whose scores on the Science section of the Ursuline Placement Test are at the 95th percentile or better will be invited into Honors Biology I. Honors Biology I is a specialized, accelerated course of in-depth biological study for advanced students who exhibit strong academic ability and an interest in and an aptitude for the sciences. This course will provide students with experience in microscope work, dissection and other laboratory techniques. Students will be expected to do outside reading, independent study, and complete all lab work. PREREQUISITE: 85th PERCENTILE OR BETTER ON THE SCIENCE SECTION OF THE NINTH GRADE PLACEMENT TEST; OPEN ONLY TO FRESHMEN


GRADE 10 ELECTIVE 1 credit
Physical Science provides an overview of the major disciplines in science. Subject areas include scientific measurement, the nature of matter, the atom and chemical changes, force and motion, energy, earth-space science, magnetism, electricity, heat, light and sound. Classroom presentations are reinforced by lab work, demonstrations, and projects.


GRADES 10-11 ELECTIVE 1 credit
BIOLOGY II is a lab course designed to complement and extend the material covered in Biology I. It includes a more in-depth study of life with an emphasis on Botany in the first semester and Zoology. Students will study the characteristics and systems of a variety of organisms using microscope work and dissection techniques. Lab work is an essential element of this course. PREREQUISITE: BIOLOGY I


GRADES 10-12 ELECTIVE 1 credit
In Chemistry I, principles of atomic structure, kinetic theory and chemical reaction are studied. Also included is the basic study of solubility, Le Chatilierian systems, ionization, properties of elements, oxidation-reduction reactions and an introduction to organic chemistry. Historical aspects of, trends in, and uses of chemistry are also included. This course is designed to give a basic introduction to chemistry while using technology to enhance laboratory skills. PREREQUISITE: SOPHOMORES: “A” OF BETTER IN BIOLOGY 1 OR THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE BIOLOGY TEACHER / JUNIORS: “C” OR BETTER IN GEOMETRY; ALGEBRA II TAKEN CONCURRENTLY WITH CHEMISTRY


GRADES 11-12 ELECTIVE 1/2 credit
Chemistry II will continue the examination of fundamental chemical principles. This semester long class is intended for students who wish to continue their study of chemistry, but not at the AP level. Topics to be covered include thermochemistry, chemical equilibrium. oxidation/reduction chemistry, electrochemistry, and kinetics. PREREQUISITE: “C” OR BETTER IN CHEMISTRY I OR HONORS CHEMISTRY


Topics will include systematic treatment of fundamental chemical and physical principles and their applications to the properties and transformations of materials, including the concept of energy and its uses, gas laws, kinetic molecular theory, laws of chemical combination, atomic and molecular structure, periodic classification of the elements, chemical bonding, chemical equilibria, and acid/base chemistry. The course is designed to prepare students for further study in AP chemistry. PREREQUISITE: “A” IN HONORS BIOLOGY I OR RECOMMENDATION OF THE BIOLOGY TEACHER; HONORS GEOMETRY or ALGEBRA II TAKEN CONCURRENTLY WITH HONORS CHEMISTRY


GRADES 11-12 ELECTIVE 1/2 credit
Physical Geology is designed for juniors and seniors as an overview of the various processes that formed and continue to shape the Earth. Major topics of study will include the formation of the Earth and the moon, the geological history of the Earth, the continental drift theory, and the surface features that are affected by tectonic plate movement, properties of rocks and minerals, and an introduction to meteorology. Lab work, demonstrations, and projects will be used to reinforce classroom presentations and discussions.


GRADES 11-12 ELECTIVE 1/2 credit
Environmental Science is designed for juniors and seniors interested in studying the natural processes between living organisms and the environment, especially the impact humans have on these interactions. Topics include ecosystem dynamics, ecological succession, predator/prey dynamics, the Earth’s various biomes, the different types of renewable and nonrenewable resources, population growth, pollution and waste, and climate change. Lab work, demonstrations, and projects will be used to reinforce classroom presentations and discussions.


GRADE 11 ELECTIVE 1 credit
Advanced Placement Biology II is designed for juniors and seniors as an in-depth preparation for the Advanced Placement Exam that may enable students to earn college credit in Biology. Students will be expected to do extensive outside study, research and lab work. This course is dual credit eligible. PREREQUISITE: “B” OR BETTER IN HONORS BIOLOGY I AND “A” IN CHEMISTRY I or “B” OR BETTER IN HONORS CHEMISTRY.


GRADES 11-12 ELECTIVE 1 credit
Anatomy/Physiology is designed to provide an in-depth study of human physiology and morphology. Detailed investigations of the integumental, muscular, skeletal, digestive, circulatory, respiratory and nervous, endocrine, urinary and reproductive systems are covered. PREREQUISITE: “C” OR BETTER IN BIOLOGY II OR “C” OR BETTER IN CHEMISTRY


GRADES 11-12 ELECTIVE 1 credit
Honors Anatomy students complete the normal Anatomy & Physiology course, but also are assigned additional outside reading and independent lab studies. Students will be required to submit two research papers, one each semester. Students earn .5 extra quality point for the honors course, not the additional 1 extra quality point. PREREQUISITE: “A” average in Biology or “B” or better average in Honors Biology & “A” in Chemistry or “B” or better in Honors Chemistry.


GRADE 12 ELECTIVE 1 credit
Physics will enable students to investigate the interactions and relationships between matter and energy. Various laws and theories will be covered as well as magnetism, thermodynamics, electrostatics, sound and light. Physics is a lab course that is helpful in developing logical thought processes by applying scientific concepts to solve problems and develop practical solutions. This course is designed for those college bound students interested in a science-oriented course of study leading to a career in science. This course is dual credit eligible. PREREQUISITE: Minimal prerequisites are a “C” OR BETTER IN CHEMISTRY I AND A “C” OR BETTER IN ALGEBRA II; strong recommendation that students be currently taking Pre-Calculus.


GRADE 12 ELECTIVE 1 credit
Advanced Placement Chemistry II is a continuation of Chemistry I in preparation for the Advanced Placement test. Students will be introduced both quantitatively and qualitatively to the following topics: chemical equilibrium, electrolytes (pH titration) and Redox reactions. Emphasis will be placed on structure, nomenclature, physical properties, reactions and applications for each major class of organic compounds while continuing the development of technological skills. The course follows the recommendations of the College Board regarding content, laboratory work, textbook selection, and critical thinking.


GRADE 12 ELECTIVE 1/2 credit
Students will learn and apply the scientific knowledge and principles commonly utilized by forensic scientists. The course will begin with an overview of forensic science, widely publicized criminal cases, and careers related to forensic science. Students will develop skills in investigative techniques and skills, the processing of crime scenes, microscopic hair and fiber analysis, fingerprinting, and ballistics. An emphasis is placed on applying concepts and skills in simulated crime scenes. PREREQUISITE: “C” or better in Biology I and Chemistry I


Online/Independent Study Course
GRADES 11- 12 ELECTIVE 1 credit
Students examine the natural world’s interrelationships in AP Environmental Science. During this course, they identify and analyze environmental problems and their effects and evaluate the effectiveness of proposed solutions. They learn to think like environmental scientists as they make predictions based on observation, write hypotheses, design and complete field studies and experiments, and reach conclusions based on the analysis of resulting data. Students apply the concepts of environmental science to their everyday experiences, current events, and issues in science, politics, and society. The course provides opportunities for guided inquiry and student-centered learning that build critical thinking skills. There is an extra fee for this course.  This course is not NCAA Clearinghouse eligible. PREREQUISITE: Two years of prior science coursework.


Course Descriptions — Health & Physical Education

GRADE 9 REQUIRED 1/2 credit
Students will learn a variety of important life skills to help them develop and maintain healthy lifestyles. Students will analyze their behaviors and learn new ways to create healthy choices in their daily living. The emphasis in this course is on the physical, mental and social aspects of well being that are important to over-all health. Students will reflect on the quality of life, not just the prevention of disease.


GRADES 9-10 REQUIRED 1/4 credit
Developed on the premise that every student can benefit from physical education, this course emphasizes knowledge about self and the environment, the development of more proficient skills in movement to improve muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, agility, balance and coordination and the importance of life-long physical fitness and recreational pursuits. Required for all freshmen and sophomores. Credit is awarded on a Pass/Fail basis.  Physical Education is also offered during Ursuline’s summer school session for grades 9 and 10.  Summer school requires an additional fee.


GRADES 10-12 ELECTIVE 1/4 credit

The focus of weight training is on an academic and dynamic approach to developing a lifestyle in which strength training, nutrition, diet, and fitness lead to a happy, healthy, and productive life. The components of anatomy taught in this class are the primary upper body and lower muscles.  May be taken both semesters.
PREREQUISITE: Participation in a varsity sport or instructor approval



GRADES 10-12 ELECTIVE 1/4 credit

Students will use a variety of personal fitness equipment to maintain a personal fitness program over time, which includes cardiovascular health, strength, endurance, flexibility, body composition, recording, and graphing.



GRADES 10-12 ELECTIVE 1/4 credit

This course includes injury prevention and control, motor skills development and movement, and lifetime sport and leisure skill development. Disease prevention and control, growth and development, and nutrition will also be included in the class.