Courses Offered


The primary purpose of the science program at Garces Memorial High School is to foster the intellectual growth of the students through an academically challenging curriculum with a moral scientific approach. An understanding of science, its purposes, principals, concepts and methods must be an essential part of the science education of our students. In order to live in a world of science and technology, a student must attain a degree of scientific literacy. Consequently, each portion of the scientific program has a specific role to play appropriate to the academic level of instruction and related to other subjects in the curriculum. The Science Department provides students with the necessary course-work for admittance to colleges and/or universities. Upper pision AP and Honors classes provide a background for students who plan to pursue science related fields. Classes are also provided for students who plan to pursue other fields of interest. The Physics First philosophy is designed to teach students about science in a logical manner in which the transitions between courses are logical and smooth, with each course building on the knowledge gained in the previous course. The developmental progression of learning is from concrete to abstract. For this reason, Newtonian physics should be first. It is by far, the most concrete of the sciences.


The goal of the science department is to expose the student to the natural world as well as practice analytical thinking and scientific objectivity through the use of the scientific method.


Abilities Necessary to Do Scientific Inquiry
Identify Questions and Concepts that Guide Scientific Investigations.
Students should formulate a testable hypothesis and demonstrate the logical connections between the scientific concepts guiding a hypothesis and the design of an experiment. They should demonstrate appropriate procedures, a knowledge base, and conceptual understanding of scientific investigations.

Design and Conduct Scientific Investigations.

Designing and conducting a scientific investigation requires introduction to the major concepts in the area being investigated, proper equipment, safety precautions, assistance with methodological problems, recommendations for use of technologies, clarification of ideas that guide the inquiry, and scientific knowledge obtained from sources other than the actual investigation. The investigation may also require student clarification of the question, method, controls, and variables; student organization and display of data; student revision of methods and explanations; and a public presentation of the results with a critical response from peers. Regardless of the scientific investigation performed, students must use evidence, apply logic, and construct an argument for their proposed explanations.

Use Technology and Mathematics to Improve Investigations and Communications.

A variety of technologies, such as hand tools, measuring instruments, and calculators, should be an integral component of scientific investigations. The use of computers for the collection, analysis, and display of data is also a part of this standard. Mathematics plays an essential role in all aspects of an inquiry. For example, measurement is used for posing questions, formulas are used for developing explanations, and charts and graphs are used for communicating results.

Formulate and Revise Scientific Explanations and Models Using Logic and Evidence.

Student inquiries should culminate in formulating an explanation or model. Models should be physical, conceptual, and mathematical. In the process of answering the questions, the students should engage in discussions and arguments that result in the revision of their explanations. These discussions should be based on scientific knowledge, the use of logic, and evidence from their investigation.

Recognize and Analyze Alternative Explanations and Models.

This aspect of the standard emphasizes the critical abilities of analyzing an argument by reviewing current scientific understanding, weighing the evidence, and examining the logic so as to decide which explanations and models are best. In other words, although there may be several plausible explanations, they do not all have equal weight. Students should be able to use scientific criteria to find the preferred explanations.

Communicate and Defend a Scientific Argument.

Students in school science programs should develop the abilities associated with accurate and effective communication. These include writing and following procedures, expressing concepts, reviewing information, summarizing data, using language appropriately, developing diagrams and charts, explaining statistical analysis, speaking clearly and logically, constructing a reasoned argument, and responding appropriately to critical comments.


Students must successfully complete three (3) years of science: a freshmen level physics course, a chemistry course, and a biology course. A fourth year of science is highly recommended for all students entering a four year institution.


PHYSICS 9 (P) is a freshman level laboratory physics course for students concurrently enrolled in Algebra I. The math is kept to a minimum while students investigate the concepts of physics. There are many labs and hands on activities including some work with computers. This course will introduce students to the concepts of motion, forces, work, energy, waves, light, sound, electricity and magnetism.
This course will fulfill the UC requirement.
Co-requisite: : concurrent enrollment in Algebra I or higher.


PHYSICS 9 (H) is a fast paced freshman level laboratory physics course. It follows the basic curriculum of Physics 9 (P), but includes subject enrichment as time allows. There will be more mathematical analysis of physical concepts than in Physics 9 (P). A significant amount of out-of-class time will be required.
This course will fulfill the UC requirement.
Co-requisite: concurrent enrollment in Geometry or higher or instructor approval.


CHEMISTRY (P) is a sophomore level laboratory chemistry course. This course includes the nature and classification of matter, structure of atoms, chemical bonds, molecular structure, chemical formulae, polyatomic ions, moles, types of chemical reactions, stoichiometry, enthalpy, entropy, colligative properties of matter, combined gas law, reaction rate, equilibrium, and acids and bases. An introduction to redox reactions will be added as time allows.
This course will fulfill the UC requirement.
Co-requisite:73% or higher in Algebra I or higher and concurrent enrollment in Geometry(P) or higher
Prerequisite:73% or higher in Physics 9(P) or Physics 9(H)


CHEMISTRY (H) is a challenging and fast paced sophomore level science course. In addition to the material covered in Chemistry (P), Chemistry (H) will also include nuclear chemistry, entropy, redox reactions, and ethics in science as well as other topics. Students will do enrichment and critical thinking assignments.
Co-requisite:concurrent enrollment in Algebra II or higher and instructor approval
Prerequisite:90% or higher in Physics 9 (P) or 80% or higher in Physics 9(H) or instructor approval.


BIOLOGY (P) is a junior level laboratory life science course. The content is comprehensive with up-to-date coverage of organic chemistry, molecular biology, cellular biology, genetics, evolution, animal diversity, ecology, and development. The labs are designed to practice lab skills, graphing, and to enhance inquiry and exploration.
This course will fulfill the UC requirement.
Prerequisites: 70% or higher in Chemistry P or H


BIOLOGY (H) is a junior level laboratory life science course that moves quickly and covers the areas of biochemistry, cell structure, cell functions, cellular metabolism, genetics, gene expression, evolution, ecology, and animal diversity. Biological concepts are emphasized and reinforced. A term paper may be required, and a significant amount of out-of-class time will be required. This course includes a final exam that covers all material from both semesters.
This course will fulfill the UC requirement and is a UC approved honors course.
Co-requisite:concurrent enrollment in Math Analysis or higher
Prerequisites:successful completion of Chemistry (P) with an A- or higher or Chemistry (H) with a B- or higher or instructor approval.


PHYSICS 12 (P) is a senior level elective laboratory science elective course. Topics covered include motion, forces, work, energy, heat, waves, light, sound and electricity and magnetism. Other topics will be introduced as time allows. This course uses an age appropriate text and it is more math based than the Physics 9 courses.
This course fulfills a third year science requirement for the UC system.
Co-requisite:concurrent enrollment in Math Analysis or higher
Prerequisites:passing grades in Chemistry and Biology.


PHYSICS 12 (H) Honors Physics is a senior level laboratory science elective. This course is designed for students who are planning on majoring in a science in college. Extensive time out-of-class will be required. This is a non-calculus based course, but concurrent enrollment in Calculus or Math Analysis is required.
This course fulfills a third year science requirement for the UC system.
Co-requisite:concurrent enrollment in Math Analysis or higher
Prerequisites:Enrollment is determined by the science department faculty.


ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY (P) is a senior level, biological laboratory science course. The course emphasis is the study of human anatomy and physiology. It builds on biology course instruction on cell biology. Histology is introduced to bridge the concepts of the cell and the subsequent organ systems. Labs, which include dissection, illustrate the unique and specialized function of each system.
This course fulfills a third year science requirement for the UC system.
Prerequisites:passing grades in Chemistry and Biology


BIOLOGY (AP) AP Biology is a college level course offered to seniors. This course is equivalent to an introductory biology course taken by biology majors during the freshman year of college. Biology (AP) differs significantly from the biology courses offered to juniors. The main objective of the course is to prepare students for the AP Exam offered each May. Significant time outside of class and dedication are required.
This course fulfills a third year science requirement for the UC system.
Prerequisites:B or better in Chemistry (P) or (H) and B or better in Biology (H).


ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE (P) focuses on the environment and human impact. Local field trips, field work, and data collection allow students to apply biological, ecological, and environmental concepts to the local environment. Course emphasis is on the environmental challenges that our community faces. Through field and laboratory activities, the course builds on experience in graphing, data collection, and mapping.
Prerequisites:Completion of Biology (H) or Biology (P) and consent of instructor.


CHEMISTRY (AP) is a college level chemistry course offered to juniors. The course is designed to be equivalent to a first year majors level chemistry course. Topics covered in AP Chemistry include atomic structure, physical and chemical properties of elements and compounds, changes in matter and energy, reaction rates (kinetics), thermodynamics, and equilibrium. The main objective of the course is to prepare students for the AP Exam offered each May. Significant time outside of class and dedication are required.
Prerequisites:Completion of Chemistry (H) with a B or better and consent of the department chair.


Course Description:
Computer Applications is one-semester course (5 credits) that focuses on learning Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The purpose of this course is to enable students to become computer literate and to demonstrate skills necessary to be successful in their future education. Students will learn Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and become more proficient at touch typing, and learn standard MLA formatting.


AP Computer Science is designed to introduce the student to the object-oriented programming paradigm using the Java language. This course teaches students to use the standard Java library classes from the AP Java subset delineated in Appendices A and B of the AP Computer Science Course Description. Concepts such as classes, objects, inheritance, polymorphism, and code re-usability are studied. An in-depth study of the design, implementation, and analysis of commonly used computer algorithms is also covered.

Courses by Department