Academics

Science

Graduation Requirement: Biology, Chemistry, Physics

The Drew Science Department gives students the skills and knowledge about how to use scientific principles in order to understand, explore, and work on solving problems in the physical and natural world. Students learn how to use scientific reasoning in order to collaboratively pursue evolving knowledge of the world through a multitude of hands-on experiential learning, community integration, and self-driven projects. By the end of their 3 year science progression, students will have the proficiency across multiple scientific disciplines to become a lifelong learner of science within a variety of different contexts.

Science Curriculum

List of 15 items.

  • Biology

    As your first year-long course dedicated to one of the natural sciences, you will explore what makes life unique in the universe. You will examine life from the microscopic scale of biomolecules and cells to the macroscopic realm of ecosystems and biomes. You will address questions about the composition of life, the transfer of energy, continuity through cell division, the molecular basis and the inheritance of genetic information, the dynamic interactions in communities and ecosystems, and the evolutionary mechanisms that underlie the diversity of the living world.

    You will explore through experimental design, research projects, hands-on simulations and role-playing, and wet labs. Examples of wet labs are DNA extraction, enzyme activity, and exercise and cellular respiration. Throughout the units, you will learn and practice scientific skills and proper lab techniques such as making observations, measurements, collecting and organizing qualitative and quantitative data, and drawing conclusions based on evidence.
  • Chemistry

    Chemistry is the study of the structure and composition of matter that makes up living things and their environment. Chemistry also deals with the study of the changes of matter and the mechanisms by which changes occur. You will explore the fundamentals of chemistry including measurement, laboratory safety, properties of matter, gas laws, the structure of the atom, electron configuration, periodic table patterns, bonding, chemical reactions, and stoichiometry.

    For example, you will explore how electron configurations impact the color of fireworks and use patterns in flame tests to determine the identity of a mystery substance. This course aims to give you a deeper understanding of the scientific processes that go on around us and the interconnections among the sciences, technology, society, and the environment.
  • Chemistry Honors

    Honors classes explore similar topics as the corresponding course but at an accelerated pace with additional depth. You will be expected to perform more complex, self-driven assignments in addition to additional reading, writing, and research components. The goal of this course is to lead you towards a greater understanding of the chemical world around you through inquiry, analysis, experimentation, and mathematical manipulations. An emphasis will be placed on hands-on learning, use of technology, and application to real-world situations.

    Prerequisite: Department approval, based on previous science and math performance.
  • Physics

    Physics lays down the foundational laws of the universe that all objects obey. In this highly-interactive, lab-centric course, you will arrive at these fundamental laws through experimentation and observation. Examples of activities include observing the behavior of a hovering disc to arrive at Newton’s First Law or using force sensors and digital graphing technology to derive the impulse-momentum theorem. Topics covered include motion, forces, energy, and momentum.

    In addition to these topics, there is an additional emphasis placed upon developing scientific practices such as sound experimental design, independently analyzing experimental data, formulating evidence-based conclusions, and communicating those conclusions to specific audiences. Physics is the final course in Drew’s three year graduation requirement and perfectly complements Biology and Chemistry to give you an overview of different scientific disciplines.
  • Physics Honors

    Honors classes explore similar topics as the corresponding course but at an accelerated pace with additional depth. You will be expected to perform more complex, self-driven assignments in addition to additional reading, writing, and research components. Students will be expected to have a higher level of math proficiency, especially in trigonometry. Furthermore, students in honors are expected to apply prior knowledge to new and novel situations with minimal scaffolding in order to formulate their own conclusions.

    Prerequisite: Department approval, based on previous science and math performance.
  • Anatomy and Physiology

    Discover the complexity of the human body, building up from molecules to cells, tissues, and systems. Learn about the functions necessary to maintain life and how the structures within you interconnect to maintain these functions. We will use real patient cases to practice problem-solving and critical thinking while drawing on your past experiences with sports, wellness, injury, and illness as well as current research to better understand how the body develops and heals. Whether you are interested in a career in healthcare or are just curious about how your own body works, come learn more about this beautiful, breathing, bleeding, biological machine you live in! (course includes basic training in First Aid and CPR)

    Prerequisite: Chemistry.
  • Environmental Science & Policy

    Environmental Science & Policy is an interdisciplinary class where you will engage with real world issues. It will encompass science, legislation, history, economics, philosophy and politics. The class explores principles of environmental policy, the history of land and water use in California, everything related to climate change, the energy industry and environmental justice and equity.

    Through case studies and simulations you will act as environmental scientists, policy-makers and consultants. You will work individually and in groups on a series of open-ended projects. Many of the topics covered have no “right solution” and reflect existing debates between environmentalists themselves. This class is ideal if you are curious about the environmental issues seen in the news and ready to tackle complex challenges.

    Prerequisite: Biology
  • Marine Systems: Physical Oceanography and Marine Biology

    Examine marine sciences through topics including physical oceanography, planktonic life, and a survey of invertebrate and vertebrate life in oceans including sea turtles, marine mammals, and seabirds. Special emphasis will be placed on marine conservation and environmental justice. You will learn why we need to protect our marine resources for the benefit of humankind. The course is experiential in nature. Therefore, field trips (tide pools, estuary visits) and project-based learning are key features of the course. You will apply your knowledge to real world applications in marine environments.

    Prerequisite: Biology
  • Molecular Biology & Biotechnology

    Explore the interdisciplinary world of biotechnology, using scientific literature, hands-on experience, and research projects to investigate the many applications of biotechnology in the modern world. Topics covered include historical biotechnology, cell culture, gene expression, genetic engineering. You will learn the essential skills, understandings, and laboratory techniques involved in practicing molecular biology. For example, you will genetically engineer bacteria to produce a foreign protein. Throughout the course, you will also consider the bioethics of the many current and potential applications of biotechnology.

    Prerequisite: Chemistry
  • Zoology

    Apply basic concepts learned in Biology to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of animal diversity. You will identify structural and functional themes defined by a common evolutionary heritage. You will apply data, analytical, and writing skills in group and independent projects that are related to animal function and ecological interactions. You will develop a critical frame of mind and environmental stewardship in examining human impacts on animal populations and communities. You will use microscopy and dissection to explore animal structure, function, and behavior.

    The class will include exploration of habitats in museums, aquaria, and tidepools and is designed for you if you wish to dig deeper into animal biology and learn more about the human body as a prototype of animal anatomy and physiology.

    Prerequisite: Biology
  • Advanced Topics in Chemistry: Environmental Chemistry Honors

    Students broaden and deepen their understanding of chemistry and its role in the modern world by studying the chemistry of water systems, atmospheric chemistry, agricultural chemistry, mineral and mining chemistry, and food chemistry. The emphasis of the course will be on the explanation and prediction of chemical behavior. You will examine case studies including field trips on the areas of fresh and marine waters, groundwater, wastewater, and geo-chemistry of the Bay Area. This class is designed for you if you are interested in taking chemistry-related courses in college.

    Prerequisite: Chemistry and department approval based on previous science and math performance.
  • Advanced Topics in Physics: Honors

    You will continue the exploration of the physical world by designing labs to build and test scientific models and by applying mathematics to tackle practical scientific problems. Topics covered include sound and waves, optics, quantum physics, astrophysics and particle physics.

    The class is heavily based on hands-on labs and open-ended projects. For example, you will apply your understanding of lenses and mirrors from the optics topic to fully design and build your own telescope or other optical instrument. This class is ideal for you if you have an interest in becoming a scientist because the class will make links to real-life research questions and prepare you for college-level problem solving.

    Prerequisite: Physics and department approval based on previous science and math performance.
  • Programming 1: Introduction to Programming

    If you are interested in getting started with a STEM field, this course is designed for you regardless of your programming skill. Using the Processing programming language, the course will introduce you to the fundamental concepts of programming and Computer Science.

    Processing is designed for artists, designers, and game developers to create visual and interactive programs that include video games, data visualization, and digital artwork. Thus, all of your programs will be grounded in creating those same types of programs. The course will delve deeply into problem-solving building on your computational and abstraction skills you will learn the basics of Object-Oriented Programming. Topics include data types, conditional structures, methods, arrays, objects and classes. You will engage in group lessons to get introduced to new concepts and then work independently in small groups by completing programming challenges in class. The goal of the class is to master the basics of programming along with gaining understanding of how computers work.
  • Programming 2

    Once you have mastered the concepts introduced in Programming 1, this class builds on those lessons and introduces new ones. Continuing with the Processing programming language, you will engage in larger projects with a full software development cycle - design, test, and iterate.

    Larger projects require greater planning, so you will also be introduced to design concepts that will guide your development process. Programming topics include multi-dimensional arrays, switch statements, advanced geometry, and animating sprites. Focusing on project-based learning, the course will be broken down into several programming projects. Projects will range from video games to data visualization to digital artwork. You will engage in group lessons to introduce new concepts and work on short practice exercises in small groups. The course’s emphasis will be on independent projects that are to be completed in and outside of class. The goal for the course is to advance your programming skills and knowledge by building meaningful and relevant projects.

    Prerequisites - Programming 1 or by Teacher/Department Head permission. (Students must have a basic understanding of Object-Oriented Programming)
  • Introduction to Engineering: Physical Computing

    Introduction to Engineering will focus on the field of Physical Computing. If you want to delve deeper into STEM and branch out from programming-only material, Physical Computing involves designing and constructing physical systems that use a mix of programming and electronics to sense and respond to the surrounding environment. This blend of digital and physical is heavily used in toys, art projects/installations, interactive devices, musical instruments, wearable technologies, and more.

    Building off of Programming 1, you will utilize the concepts and skills you previously mastered by programming microcontrollers. Microcontrollers are mini-computers used to control various electronic components (LED’s, motors, servos, speakers, etc). Topics will range from building circuits to designing and building an interactive device, to microcontrollers, fundamentals of electrical engineering and circuits, signal processing, and simple mechanics.

    You will engage in group lessons to introduce concepts and then work independently in small groups on various activities and projects to practice your skills. The goal is developing an understanding of how information and electricity move between the computational, electronic, and physical realms to create a desired effect.

    Prerequisites - Programming 1 or by Teacher/Department Head permission. Students must have a basic understanding of Object-Oriented Programming,

List of 6 members.

  • Photo of Luis Fernandez

    Dr. Luis Fernandez 

    Science Faculty
    415.430.3701
  • Photo of Mary Kerr

    Mary Kerr 

    415.430.3730
  • Photo of Kristen Marinakis

    Dr. Kristen Marinakis 

    Science Faculty
    415.430.3756
  • Photo of Kim McCabe

    Kim McCabe 

    415.430.3724
  • Photo of Alex Wankowicz

    Alex Wankowicz 

    Science Faculty
    415.430.3753
  • Photo of Khrista Williams

    Khrista Williams 

    Science Faculty
    415.430.3768

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