Academics

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Science

The goal of the science program is to enhance students’ science knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to break down a complex scientific system into smaller parts, recognize cause and effect relationships, and defend opinions using facts. With a focus on fostering students’ awareness of the biological and physical environments around them and to encourage their active and creative involvement with those environments, each science course provides an opportunity for students to acquire a foundation in science that allows her to function as a responsible and judicious citizen. In addition, students gain a command of the Scientific Method to make a hypothesis, perform an experiment, analyze results and draw conclusions. Departmental offerings include laboratory oriented courses in the traditional disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics, and others that allow students to explore specialized topics at an advanced level. Real-world connections are emphasized throughout the curriculum Three years of a laboratory science are required for graduation, including Biology I and Chemistry I, required of students in Grades 9 and 10, respectively.
  • AP Biology

    Offered to Grades 11 and 12
    Prerequisites: Biology I, Chemistry I and recommendation of
    the Department
    This college-level course builds on the concepts introduced in
    the Biology I course. Topics are presented in compliance with the
    College Board AP syllabus and focus on the development of an
    enduring conceptual understanding and the content that supports
    that understanding. The course uses both traditional and inquirybased
    instructional strategies to promote the development of an
    in-depth conceptual understanding and the ability to make connections
    between various concepts. Weekly lab periods provide time
    for students to complete inquiry-based laboratory investigations
    which support the development of data collection and analysis skills,
    the application of mathematical routines and the ability to explain
    experimental data using the relevant scientific concepts. Students are
    expected to read several chapters of the textbook during the summer
    and to complete an assignment demonstrating an understanding of
    the topics. All students are required to take the AP examination.
  • AP Chemistry

    Offered to Grades 11 and 12
    Prerequisites: Biology I, Chemistry I, Advanced Algebra and
    recommendation of the Department. Precalculus is also recommended
    at least concurrently.
    This college-level course provides a rigorous, quantitative, in-depth
    presentation of topics introduced in Chemistry I. These topics
    include stoichiometry, states of matter, thermodynamics, quantum
    mechanics, atomic structure, molecular geometry, reaction kinetics,
    solutions and equilibria. Students explore the development of
    chemical theories as logical progressions from first principles. All
    students are expected to review the first four chapters of the textbook
    and complete problem sets as a summer assignment. The classroom
    environment is collaborative and more discussion-based, rather than
    predominantly teacher lecture. Both traditional and guided inquiry
    laboratory work are integrated within this course to reinforce topics.
    All students are required to take the AP examination.
  • AP Environmental Science

    Offered to Grades 11 and 12 and recommendation of the Department

    Environmental Science is a college-level course focusing on the
    study of ecology, energy, resources, population and pollution.
    Interdisciplinary in nature, this course uses basic concepts from the
    fields of biology, chemistry and geology to examine environmental
    problems. Students study the scientific aspects of environmental issues
    and debate the ethical, economic and political ramifications of these
    topics. Laboratory activities such as water sampling, quantification of
    biodiversity, soil analysis, oil spill remediation and invertebrate inventories
    complement each segment of the course. Students research the
    current status of many environmental issues and discuss what strategies
    might be implemented to address these problems.
  • AP Physics

    Offered to Grades 11 and 12
    Prerequisites: Current enrollment in Calculus and/or recommendation
    of the Department
    AP Physics 1 is an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics
    course. Students cultivate their understanding of physics through
    inquiry-based investigations as they explore these topics: kinematics,
    dynamics, circular motion and gravitation, energy, momentum, simple
    harmonic motion, torque and rotational motion, electric charge and
    electric force, DC circuits, and mechanical waves and sound. Students
    will be able to explain causal relationships, apply and justify the use
    of mathematical routines, design experiments, analyze data and make
    connections across multiple topics. A minimum of 25 percent of the
    class is dedicated to inquiry laboratory practices. All students take the
    AP Physics I examination.
  • Bioethics Project

    Offered to Grades 10 - 12; students selected through an application process
    Biomedical Science is advancing at an ever rapid pace. In many cases we need to discuss the ramifications of new technologies before they have even been fully developed or implemented. With these advances come complex ethical questions dealing with personal freedom, privacy, access to health care and fairness. Each year, the Bioethics Project will choose a broad topic to explore. The 2017-2018 topic is "Genetically Modified Life: Science, Ethics, and Medical Innovation." Past topics have included The Medically Modified Human: Is Better Always Good? and Donor: What is the Value of the Human Body? This intensive two-trimester course with a summer internship component, pairs each participant with a biomedical ethics scholar as a mentor. Students will conduct research on a topic regarding a biomedical ethical issue related to our topic and present a paper on the findings. This course does not fulfill a science credit.
  • Biology

    Required in Grade 9; offered to new students in Grades 10–12
    Biology is a survey course that offers students an introduction to
    important topics in the study of life. These topics include scientific
    reasoning, observation and data collection, experimental design,
    molecular and cellular biology, genetics, evolution and ecology. All
    levels of life, from cells to ecosystems, will be covered. The course is
    designed to give students a broad background for further study in
    advanced science courses. Students will also participate in multiple
    laboratory activities. The purpose of the laboratory component is to
    introduce students to laboratory safety, data collection, analysis and a
    range of scientific procedures. Students will develop an understanding
    of biology and an ability to apply that understanding in the
    classroom and in the laboratory.
  • Chemistry

    Chemistry (3 credits)
    Required in Grade 10; offered to new students in Grades 11 and 12
    Chemistry requires students to hone their observation, experimentation,
    and analytical skills as they explore the fundamentals of matter,
    including physical and chemical properties and change. Inquiry based
    activities, laboratory work, and group discussion, guide
    students through multiple representations of key ideas such as atomic
    structure, measurement and quantitative reasoning, periodic law,
    stoichiometry, and gas laws. Students will become versed in visual,
    qualitative, quantitative, graphical, physical, and descriptive models
    for each concept as they interpret observations and make predictions
    about the nature of matter. Students gain experience with how to
    follow a rigorous line of evidence and logic in order to draw and
    defend their conclusions. As a matter of course, students will deepen
    the scientific content, skills, mindsets necessary to pursue advanced
    science courses.
  • Environmental Science

    Offered to Grades 11 and 12 and by recommendation of the department
    Environmental Science is a college-level course focusing on the study of ecology, energy, resources, population and pollution. Interdisciplinary in nature, this course uses basic concepts from the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and geology to examine environmental problems. Students study the scientific aspects of environmental issues and debate the ethical, economic and political ramifications of these topics. Laboratory activities such as water sampling, soil analysis and invertebrate inventories complement each segment of the course. Students research the current status of many environmental issues and quantify their own energy and resource use. Capable students are encouraged to take the Advanced Placement examination.
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology

    Offered to Grades 11 and 12
    Prerequisites: Biology I and Chemistry I
    Anatomy and physiology is the study of the fascinating world of the
    human body. Whether you are planning a career in medicine, athletics,
    general science or preparing for the next tennis match, you will learn
    information pertinent to your goals in life. This class will show the
    precision of the interconnectedness of the human body systems and
    provide you tools to understand the amazing relationships that exist
    within your own body. Students will participate in numerous lab activities
    and dissections.
  • Marketing Medicine to the World

    Offered to Grades 11 and 12
    1 credit in English or Science

    This will be the third-trimester course of this series and will explore
    the technical writing side of working as a research chemist, specifically
    in the pharmaceutical industry. Writing scientific research papers
    carries a much different set of skills than the writing students are used
    to in their English and history courses. We will go into the technical
    skills needed to properly write a research paper and then the students
    will write a secondary research paper on the science behind designing
    norethisterone. Additionally, we will explore what goes into getting
    a drug on the market, the ethics behind the price of pharmaceuticals
    and we will have discussions using a gender studies lens.
  • Physics

    Offered to Grade 11, enrollment in Precalculus; Offered to Grade 12,
    completion of or enrollment in Functions and Trigonometry.
    This introductory physics course is designed to examine and discover
    the principles that govern the natural world. It covers topics that are
    both conceptual and quantitative in nature. Areas of study include
    kinematics, dynamics, circular motion, energy, momentum, waves,
    optics, electricity and magnetism. Guided inquiry and traditional
    laboratory experiments foster collaboration and allow students to
    observe and analyze data and propose questions for further study.
    Students use additional technologies to access other experiments and
    to investigate topics not covered in class.
  • Student Designed Practical Research

    Offered to Grades 10–12
    This course may not take the place of yearly science credits.

    The goal of the course is to provide students interested in pursuing
    science, math, computer science, engineering, or interdisciplinary
    STEM the opportunity to define and carry out an independent
    research or design project. While investigating a topic of their
    choice, students accepted into this course will learn how scientists
    study the natural world and engineers innovate the built world.
    Students must enroll in a minimum of two trimesters with the fall
    trimester required. In the fall trimester, students are introduced to
    various research and design protocols, review relevant literature,
    develop an abstract and project management plan, and identify
    resources to support their work. In the second and/or third trimester,
    students launch into their work and are supported by STEM faculty.
    Throughout the course, students share their work-in-progress with
    peers and faculty for regular feedback. Each student will be expected
    to submit a formal technical paper and present their findings in a
    public forum.
  • The Design and Innovations of Medicine

    Offered to Grades 11 and 12
    1 credit in History or Science

    This will be a trimester long course that will explore the history
    of contraceptive practice in the United State of America. We will
    analyze this history through different perspectives including feminists,
    eugenicists, and physicians. Alongside learning the integration of
    contraceptives into society, we will learn how the active ingredient in
    the first ever oral contraceptive was synthesized. We will build off of
    some topics from general chemistry to further develop our chemical
    understanding through organic chemistry.
  • Visual Representation of Medicine

    Offered to Grades 11 and 12
    1 credit in Visual Art or Science

    This will be the second course of this series and we will further explore
    the drug that was synthesized from the first trimester. This course will
    begin with the biochemical exploration of the different pathways this
    drug takes in the human body. We will break down each component
    of the drug and its specific function. As we progress through this
    trimester, it is important to also learn how to communicate science
    effectively to the general public. Therefore, we will learn/apply art
    skills for communicating science/scientific products to the general
    public. We will be doing this through different mediums, where we
    will connect the social-political history and science to art.

Department Faculty

  • Photo of Wendy Hall
    Wendy Hall
    Science Chair / MS/US Science
    Bio
  • Photo of Rebecca Brown
    Rebecca Brown
    US Science
    Bio
  • Photo of Luis Largo
    Luis Largo
    US Science
    Bio
  • Photo of Samantha Prato
    Samantha Prato
    US Chemistry
    Bio
  • Photo of Jennifer Sharp-Stilliard
    Jennifer Sharp-Stilliard
    US Science
    Bio
  • Photo of Lise Woodring
    Lise Woodring
    US Science
    Bio
Kent Place School is an all-girls K through 12 independent college preparatory day school with a coeducational Preschool, located in Summit, NJ.