Science

The Bellarmine Science Department offers a full range of courses with the belief that a substantial experience in natural science is needed by every college-bound student. These courses are grounded in the Jesuit tradition of the promotion of justice and service to others. A balanced core of three years of lab science is required of all students. All incoming freshmen will be offered the opportunity to take a Placement Recommendation Exam. The results of this exam will help freshmen and their parents determine which of the three options (Earth Science, Biology or Biology Honors) would be the best placement.  Students who take Earth Science in their freshman year may take Biology or Biology Honors in their sophomore year and Chemistry or Chemistry Honors in their junior year. Students expecting to follow a science-oriented course of study in college are advised to enroll in Physics or one or more of the science electives during their junior and/or senior years. After the requirements have been met, students may choose from an extensive and varied list of science electives. All courses provide students with opportunities to develop skills in forming hypotheses, interpreting data, and drawing conclusions. In each course, science as a process is the unifying theme.

Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) Program

The Science Department offers honors and AP classes in a variety of disciplines including biology, chemistry, physics and environmental science.  Students wishing to enroll in an honors or AP science course must follow the Informed Enrollment process, soliciting feedback from their current teacher, parents and counselor, and securing counselor approval, prior to requesting the course.

Courses
Course Name
Term
UC / CSU Approved?
Biology Year Yes

Course Description: This survey course is an introductory life science course concerned with an in-depth study of the structure and function of living organisms. This is an extensive laboratory science course and will expose the student to a variety of laboratory techniques. An emphasis is placed on inquiry and analysis as well as the learning of important facts and concepts. The main areas of study include: cellular and molecular biology; the anatomy and physiology of organisms; genetics and evolution; ecological principles; and moral concerns.

Comments: Sophomore-level science course. Required for sophomores not taking Biology Honors or a more advanced course.

Biology Honors Year Yes

Course Description: This course is designed to survey all the topics presented in the regular Biology course as well as additional topics. This is an extensive laboratory science course and will expose the student to a variety of laboratory techniques. An emphasis is placed on inquiry and analysis as well as the learning of important facts and concepts. The main areas of study include: cellular and molecular biology; the anatomy and physiology of organisms; genetics and evolution; ecological principles; and moral concerns.

Comments: Sophomore-level science course.  Required for sophomores not taking Biology or a more advanced course. Informed Enrollment for sophomores. The pace of the course will be rapid and is designed for the student who is both self-motivated and very disciplined in study skills.

Biology AP Year Yes

Prerequisites: Completion of Biology and Chemistry is required. It is highly desirable that the student have a course in secondary school physics and a four-year college prep program in mathematics.

Course Description: The AP Biology course is designed to be the equivalent of the general biology class usually taken during the first year of college. This course is designed to: 1) prepare the student for the Biology AP exam; 2) further his knowledge of biology; and 3) increase his laboratory skills.

Comments: Elective. Informed Enrollment. This course should not displace any other part of the student's science curriculum. One additional lab hour is required. Although the course will prepare students to take the Biology AP exam, they are not required to take the exam.

Biochemistry Semester Yes

Prerequisites: Completion of three year-long lab science courses including Biology and Chemistry is required.

Course Description: This is a descriptive course that provides a systematic and methodical application of general and organic chemistry principles. It aims to provide the linkage between the inanimate world of chemistry and the living world of biology. Organic chemistry of fundamental structures and majority of organic chemical reactions encountered in biological chemistry will be covered in this course. The main classes of organic compounds such as carbohydrates, amino acids, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids, with some emphasis on functionalities and properties of particular relevance to biology, will be discussed. The major classes of compounds in biological systems will be surveyed. Biopolymers and the principles behind their synthesis and design will be studied. Concepts pertaining to metabolism will be introduced, for energy and biosynthesis, showing how pathways are interconnected. The course will be taught using a combination of lectures, demonstrations of experiments and molecular modeling.

Comments: Senior elective. This course is designed for students planning to pursue careers in bio-engineering, biotechnology, biochemistry, molecular biology and medical sciences. It also may serve as a preview of more advanced courses such as college-level Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry or Molecular Biology.

Marine Biology Year Yes

Prerequisites: Completion of Biology and Chemistry is required.

Course Description: The Marine Science course is an introduction to Oceanography and Marine Biology. The first semester focuses on Oceanography with an emphasis on the formation, structures and physical environments of the Earth's oceans. In the second semester, the course content will shift to Marine Biology and the study of the unique organisms of the marine environment. The course will highlight the environmental, ecological and evolutionary relationships between the life forms in the sea and the marine biome. The history of ocean exploration, as well as recent discoveries in the marine sciences, will be presented throughout the course. This course will also examine the effects of human activity on the ocean environment. Supplemental course work will include off-campus field trips and independent research projects.

Comments: Elective.