Academics
Curriculum

Science

DEPARTMENT PHILOSOPHY:

We engage students in active and evidence-based scientific inquiry as they develop strong foundations in biology, chemistry, environmental sciences, physics, and more. Courses model scientific reasoning to show students how accurate information and keen analysis can lead to original thinking. Students explore the phenomena of the physical world and the place of humans within it as they sharpen their analytical, collaborative, and communicative skills in a richly interactive environment.

MEET THE SCIENCE DEPARTMENT FACULTY:

SCIENCE CURRICULUM STRUCTURE:

Stacey Strandberg, the 2018 Wisconsin Outstanding Biology Teacher of the Year

SCIENCE DEPARTMENT COURSE OFFERINGS:

List of 13 items.

  • BIOLOGY – 7111 and 7112

    The biology curriculum consists of course numbers 7111 and 7112. Biology is the study of the living world, including microscopic organisms, plants and animals. In biology, it is important to understand life and life processes; therefore, this course is aimed at learning principles and concepts that apply to all levels of organization, no matter how simple or complex they may be. Students in biology will examine general characteristics that are shared by all living things, such as similarities in chemical makeup, energy usage, ability to reproduce and community survival. Other themes developed as the course progresses include relatedness among living things, adaptation for survival, and interactions of living things and their environment. The laboratory work prescribed for this course focuses on skills in microscopy, and general biology laboratory techniques. Activities include lecture, discussion, oral reports, written assignments, worksheets, laboratory investigations and reports, video tapes, collaborative projects, and computer assisted study. The course fee covers preserved and live organisms, disposable materials, and maintenance of microscopes.

    9th grade, 2 semesters, $50 fee
  • ACCELERATED BIOLOGY – 7101 and 7102

    The Accelerated Biology curriculum consists of course numbers 7101 and 7102 and is a freshman-level science course most appropriate for students with strong learning and study skills who can work well independently and collaboratively to access, process and apply scientific concepts. As a life science course, biology covers in-depth the concepts of ecology, cells, cellular respiration, photosynthesis, genetics, DNA, evolution, viruses, and bacteriology. Additionally, the life processes of invertebrates, vertebrates and human systems will be studied. The laboratory work prescribed for this course focuses on skills in microscopy, dissection, and general biology laboratory techniques. Activities include lecture, discussion, oral reports, written assignments, worksheets, laboratory investigations and reports, videos, collaborative projects, and computer assisted study. The course fee covers preserved and live organisms, disposable materials, and maintenance of microscopes.

    9th grade, 2 semesters, $50 fee
  • AP BIOLOGY – 7451 and 7452

    Advanced Placement Biology is the equivalent of a one year college introductory course in biology. It is designed to be taken after successful completion of a first course in high school biology. A college text is used and the laboratories are intended to be the equivalent of those done in college. The principal topics included in the course are molecules and cells, heredity and evolution, organisms and populations. Emphasis is on understanding the concepts related to each of these topics and recognizing the unifying themes that prevail throughout biology. Application of knowledge and critical thinking are reinforced through quantitative laboratory work. Students should be prepared to spend a minimum of five hours per week completing course work outside of class. Students are required to complete a summer assignment before the start of school. Students are required to do extensive reading and perform all required AP labs and are expected to take the AP exam in May. The course fee covers AP lab materials.

    11th-12th grade, 2 semesters, $50 fee plus AP exam fee
    Prerequisite B or better in Accelerated Biology and a B or better in Chemistry or Honors Chemistry
     | Additional time commitment of one extra period per week extending into the lunch hour.
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit offerings here
  • CHEMISTRY – 7201 and 7202

    Chemistry is a physical science that studies the matter of our environment and applies mathematical principles to this investigation. In this course students will gain (1) knowledge and understanding of fundamental principles of chemical processes, and of properties, reactions, behavior and structures of major classes of chemical compounds and (2) preparation for college by understanding of the basic principles related to the subject matter. The principles of chemistry are developed logically and sequentially through lecture, laboratory work, discussion, written assignments, and computer assisted study. The course fee covers glassware breakage, chemicals, and disposable materials.

    10th-12th grade, 2 semesters, $50 fee
    CURRENT FRESHMEN: completion of Biology or Accelerated Biology and C+ in Advanced Algebra 1, Freshmen Algebra II, or Honors Algebra II or A- in Algebra I
    CURRENT SOPHOMORES/ JUNIORS: completion of Biology or Accelerated Biology 
  • HONORS CHEMISTRY – 7261 and 7262

    This course is a detailed study of the intrinsic principles of chemistry. Chemical concepts are developed with an emphasis on application and mathematical analysis. In addition to acquainting the student with the fundamentals of introductory chemistry, this course focuses on mastery of in-depth problem-solving as applied to structure, quantitative reaction relationships, thermochemistry, chemical equilibrium and acids and bases. The course fee covers replacement of chemicals, glassware, and disposable materials.

    10th-12th grade, 2 semesters, $50 fee
    CURRENT FRESHMEN: Completion of Biology or Accelerated Biology and a C+ average in Honors Algebra II or B in Freshman Algebra II 
    CURRENT SOPHOMORES/ JUNIORS: Completion of Biology or Accelerated Biology and a C average in Algebra II with Trig, Algebra II, Honors Algebra II or Freshman Algebra II
  • AP CHEMISTRY – 7461 and 7462

    Advanced Placement Chemistry is a college-level course designed to build on the concepts learned in first-year chemistry as well as prepare students for the AP Chemistry exam in May. The course is designed to provide students with an increased depth of understanding of the fundamentals of chemistry in the areas of the structure of matter, stoichiometry, gas chemistry, oxidation-reduction, equilibrium, thermodynamics and descriptive chemistry, to name a few. Significant class time will be devoted to hands-on laboratory work. Students should be prepared to spend a minimum of five hours per week completing course work outside of class. Students are required to complete a summer assignment and are expected to take the AP exam in May. In addition to the course textbook, students will be required to purchase a carbonless lab notebook (cost ~$20) available from the instructor. The course fee covers consumable materials.

    11th-12th grade, 2 semesters, $50 fee plus AP exam fee
    Prerequisite successful completition of Honors Chemistry | 
    Additional time commitment of one extra period per week.
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit offerings here

  • EARTH SCIENCES

    GEOLOGY and ASTRONOMY – 7181
    In the geology section we will look at the ever changing landmasses and bodies of water that make up planet Earth. Starting with its building blocks, the rocks and minerals, and continuing to the external and internal forces that shape our planet we will discover how the land we live on and the oceans we swim in were formed and molded over time. From the glacial moraines of Wisconsin to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, we will travel around the world and discover the story of Earth's creation and formation. As part of the course students will have opportunities for in depth learning through the required field trip to Northern Kettle Moraine Forest to observe glacial landforms. In the astronomy section we will take off for space to discover the universe around us. Gone will be the days of looking out the window and staring at the sky and wondering how the stars and planets were formed. Students will leave this course with a historical account of how humankind's understanding of the universe has continued to develop over time. The course fee covers materials used and field trip.

    10th-12th grade, 1 semester, $30 fee
     Prerequisite Biology or Accelerated Biology
    **This course will be offered Semester I only and may be taken independent of other Earth or Environmental Science Course Offerings.
    **Students who have previously taken Geology/Oceanography or Astronomy/Meteorology will not be eligible to register for this course.

    OCEANOGRAPHY AND MARINE BIOLOGY – 7182
    70% of our planet is ocean. This course looks to explore what lies beneath and within that water. To understand marine organisms, you first need to understand the place they call home, the habitat in which they have evolved to live in. Oceanography dives into the erosional and tectonic forces that shape the landscape of the ocean floor along with characteristics of water at different depths. In the marine biology section, we will explore different marine ecosystems like coral reefs, kelp forests, and rocky coastlines and uncover the wondrous diversity of species that inhabits our ocean. This class will also compare the anatomy of different phylums of marine organisms as well as look at how overfishing and climate change have impacted marine ecosystems.
    10th-12th grade, 1 semester, $30 fee
    Prerequisite Biology or Accelerated Biology
    **This course will be offered Semester 2 only and may be taken independent of other Earth or Environmental Science Course Offerings
    **This course will not be available to any student who previously took Geology/Oceanography.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

    ECOLOGY – 7161
    Ecology is the study of the interrelationships between organisms and their environment. We live in an era of expansion where the needs of society are often put up against the needs of the Earth’s flora and fauna. In this class students will discover the wonders of wildlife, their interactions with each other and the environment and how human actions impact the world they live in. Students will use critical thinking, varied forms of communication and problem solving in order to defend decisions regarding current real world concerns. These skills will help students build a global awareness which will empower them to be responsible stewards of the Earth. By the end of this course students will have taken a global tour around Earth’s ecosystem, discovered unique and amazing places and their inhabitants, witnessed the threats to their survival and be prepared to make a difference in their future. Students will have opportunities for indepth learning through the required field trip. The course fee covers materials used and field trip.

    10th-12th grade, 1 semester, prerequisite Biology or Accelerated Biology
    $50 fee
    **This course will be offered Semester I only and may be taken independent of other Earth or Environmental Science Course Offerings

    SUSTAINABILITY/CONSERVATION – 7162
    Sustainability looks at how humans interact with the environment, with the goal that our actions will allow us to meet our current lifestyle needs while at the same time preserving our environment and its resources for future generations. This course will look deeper than just the environmental perspective but will show how it’s the combination of social, economic, government and environmental perspectives that must work together in order to create a sustainable culture. Topics included in this course include consumption, energy use, air pollution, water quality, reduction of waste and food production. Within each topic we’ll look at how our actions and decisions can negatively impact the environment and talk about changes in our lifestyle that can lead to a greener and more sustainable environment. As part of this course we will also conduct a lab associated with UW-Milwaukee and present our research posters at the UW-Milwaukee Science Education Research Conference.

    10th-12th grade, 1 semester, prerequisite Biology or Accelerated Biology
    $50 fee
    **This course will be offered Semester 2 only and may be taken independent of other Earth or Environmental Science Course Offerings
  • ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE - 7151 and 7152

    The AP Environmental Science course is the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science. The course requires that students use a college textbook, complete laboratory experiments and understand environmental science typical of an introductory college course. Students will identify and analyze natural and human-made environmental problems, evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. This course is made as an interdisciplinary course, embracing topics from geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental science, chemistry, and geography. Application of knowledge and critical thinking are reinforced through quantitative laboratory work. Students are required to have successfully completed Biology and Chemistry prior to taking this course. In addition, summer assignments will need to be completed prior to the start of the course in fall. Students will need to spend a minimum of five hours of outside work on this course each week and complete all AP labs to successfully prepare for the AP exam in May. The course fee covers the AP lab materials.

    Grades 11-12; 2 semesters
    Prerequisite: completion of Biology or Accelerated Biology AND Chemistry or Honors Chemistry
    Fee: $50 plus AP Exam fee
    Required: scientific or graphing calculator
    Time: This class meets for an additional time each week by extending a class into the lunch period.
  • PHYSICS – 7301 and 7302

    Physics follows either the honors or the standard chemistry course. Physics provides a general understanding of motion, forces, energy, electricity and magnetism. Emphasis is placed on mastery of graphical and mathematical relationships and the analysis of lab data to make interpretations and generalizations. Activities include lecture, discussion, problem solving, lab activities, written reports, and computer simulations. Physics should be taken by anyone interested in a career in science, engineering, or the medical field. The course fee covers the purchase and maintenance of lab equipment. Daily homework is given, estimated at 20-30 minutes per day.

    11th-12th grade, 2 semesters, $50 fee
    CURRENT SOPHOMORES: B- average in Algebra II w/ Trig, Honors Algebra II or Freshman Algebra, or B in Algebra II and a C or better in Chemistry or Honors Chemistry
    CURRENT JUNIORS: Completion of Chemistry or Honors Chemistry 
  • AP PHYSICS 1 – 7311 and 7312

    Advanced Placement Physics 1 is a year-long course designed to be equivalent to a first semester algebra-based college Physics course. Prior coursework in Physics is not required. Course content includes mechanics, energy and power, mechanical waves and sound, electrostatics, and introductory circuits. Significant class time will be devoted to hands-on laboratory work. Students should be prepared to spend a minimum of five hours per week completing course work outside of class. Students are required to complete a summer assignment before the start of first semester and are expected to take the AP exam in May. The course fee covers consumable materials.

    11th-12th grade, 2 semesters, $50 fee plus AP exam fee
    Prerequisite succesful completion of Honors Chemistry or A average in Physics Additional time commitment of one extra period per week 
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit offerings here

  • BL 111 HUMAN ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY – 7371 and 7372

    This is a foundational course covering the basic structure and function of the human body at various levels, including the cell, the tissue, the organ, and the organ system. A minimal amount of chemistry is covered at the beginning of the course to enhance the student's understanding of the chemical processes underlying cellular function. The focus of this course is normal structure and function; however, some disease states also may be discussed. Laboratory studies using fetal pigs, computer simulations and other animals may be used to supplement the course material.

    11th-12th grade, 2 semesters, $50 fee
    Prerequisite completion of Chemistry or Honors Chemistry, B- in Accelerated Biology
    **Students will be eligible to receive 4 transferable college credits from Cardinal Stritch University by enrolling in the Concurrent Enrollment dual-credit program.
  • INDEPENDENT SCIENCE RESEARCH PROJECTS (ISRP) – 7401 and 7402

    This independent-study course is designed for the highly motivated, self-directed student who wishes to design and conduct her own in-depth scientific research project and present her findings at local, district, state and/ or national competitions. A student should expect to work up to 8 hours per week on her ISRP project, and resources will be provided that will help the student with such topics as reviewing the scientific method, writing abstracts, graphing, and statistics.

    Student requirements: Each student interested in registering for ISRP must secure her own outside mentor or conduct a project that does not require an outside mentor. Additionally, each student’s parent(s) must be willing to provide transportation and supervision at competitions in the event that the course instructor is not able to, due to other professional obligations.
    Format: The class will meet face-to-face 2 or 3 times each week. The other days of the week will be spent conducting research, analyzing data, writing the research paper and completing course readings and assignments. Please note, the course must fit into the student’s daily schedule (i.e. due to the timeintensive nature of the course, only students who can fit ISRP into their schedule can register for the course and receive teacher instruction and feedback.) Class size will be limited to 12 students due to the individuality of each project and the truly student-driven independent nature of the class

    11th-12th grade, 2 semesters, $50 fee
    Prerequisite B+ cumulative GPA, ability to learn independently, completion of Biology or Accelerated Biology AND completion of Chemistry or Honors Chemistry | Students planning to complete research offsite must be able to drive.
DSHA offers science-based courses through the new Specialized Studies department, including Intro to Engineering and AP Computer Science courses.
Click here to learn more
The DSHA Science Department offers marine biology every two years. The most recent travel destination occurred this past summer, when 20 students traveled to a Marine Science Seminar in Hawaii. The next trip of its kind will take place in June 2020.

ISRP

Calling all students with burning questions and a desire to answer them! If you are a motivated, self-directed young woman with an interest in performing an in-depth investigation to answer a question of interest to you, consider the Independent Science Research Project (ISRP) course. This unique course will offer you the opportunity to design an experiment, and collect and analyze data to test a hypothesis of interest to you. In the spring, students present their research and compete in local, regional, and sometimes national, science and engineering fairs!

In 2017-2018, three girls participated in ISRP:

Stephanie Franczak: Effect of Repeated Concussions on the Neurologic and Psychological Health of High School and College Athletes  Winner of American Psychological Award, 3rd place in Biological & Environmental Sciences, and the Mensa of Wisconsin Foundation 1st Runner-Up at the Capital Science & Engineering Fair

Iris Ramirez: Comparison of Fecal Coliform in Urbanized v. Non-Urbanzied Sections of the Kinnickinnic River —  Winner of the Association for Women Geoscientists Special Award at the Capital Science & Engineering Fair

Abbey Burg: Effect of Colored Lights on Bacterial Nitrification in the Aquaponics System

Learn more about the Capital Science and Engineering Fair

Learn more about the Waukesha Science Fair 
There are many opportunities outside of the classroom for students interested in science at DSHA, including specialty courses, research projects, and trips. Discover some of the science-related opportunities below:

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