Enrolling your child Employment Maps and Directories
Search Website
Separation Line
Separation Line
Separation Line
Elementary Science Curriculum
Separation Line
Separation Line
Separation Line
Middle School Science Curriculum
Separation Line
Separation Line
Separation Line
Separation Line
High School Science Curriculum
Separation Line
Separation Line

 

High School Science Curriculum Overview

Anatomy and Physiology

Student Learnings: What students should know and be able to do

  • Apply the scientific method.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of microscope usage, laboratory safety and techniques
  • Use computer technology for data analysis, case study research, web-based assignments, and presentations.
  • Analyze the form and function of human body systems.

 

Astronomy, Solar System Astronomy, Stellar Astronomy

Student Learnings: What students should know and be able to do

Earth and Space Systems: Understand concepts, theories, and principles of earth and space systems through investigation and analysis

  • Design and conduct experiments, analyze data, interpret and communicate results.
  • Use equipment and supplies in the appropriate manner.
  • Use appropriate tools to perform investigations.
  • Apply the scientific method to investigations of the following advanced Earth Science topics:
    • Space Debris
    • History of Astronomers
    • Constellations
    • Earth, Moon and Sun Relationships
    • Optics and Telescopes
    • Electromagnetic Spectrum
    • Calendar Systems
    • Solar System
    • NASA Space Program
    • Exiobiology (LIFE)

 

Biology

Student Learnings: What students should know and be able to do

Concepts in Biology: Understand biological concepts, theories, and principles through investigation and analysis of cells, organisms and ecosystems

Cell Theory

  • Structure and Functions of Organelles:
    • Cells have particular structures that underlie their functions. Every cell is surrounded by a membrane that separates it from the outside world. Inside the cell is a concentrated mixture of thousands of different molecules which form a variety of specialized structures that carry out such cell functions as energy production, transport of molecules, waste disposal, synthesis of new molecules, and the storage of genetic material.
  • Biochemistry of Cells:
    • Most cell functions involve chemical reactions. Food molecules taken into cells react to provide the chemical constituents needed to synthesize other molecules. Both breakdown and synthesis are made possible by a large set of protein catalysts, called enzymes. The breakdown of some of the food molecules enables the cell to store energy in specific chemicals that are used to carry out the many functions of the cell.
  • DNA Expression:
    • Cells store and use information to guide their functions. The genetic information stored in DNA is used to direct the synthesis of the thousands of proteins that each cell requires.
  • Regulatory Processes of the Cell:
    • Cell functions are regulated. Regulation occurs both through changes in the activity of the functions performed by proteins and through the selective expression of individual genes. This regulation allows cells to respond to their environment and to control and coordinate cell growth and division.
  • Plant Cell Specifics:
    • Plant cells contain chloroplasts, the site of photosynthesis. Plants and many microorganisms use solar energy to combine molecules of carbon dioxide and water into complex, energy rich organic compounds and release oxygen to the environment. This process of photosynthesis provides a vital connection between the sun and the energy needs of living systems.
  • Historical Development:
    • Cells can differentiate, and complex multicellular organisms are formed as a highly organized arrangement of differentiated cells. In the development of these multicellular organisms, the progeny from a single cell form an embryo in which the cells multiply and differentiate to for the many specialized cells, tissues and organs that comprise the final organism. This differentiation is regulated through the expression of different genes.

The Molecular Basis of Herdity

  • DNA Structure and Function:
    • In all organisms, the instructions for specifying the characteristics of the organism are carried in DNA, a large polymer formed from subunits of four kinds (A, G, C and T). The chemical and structural properties of DNA explain how the genetic information that underlies heredity is both encoded in genes (as a string of molecular "letters") and replicated (by a templating mechanism). Each DNA molecule in a cell forms a single chromosome.
  • Patterns of Inheritance (Mendellian Genetics)
  • Chromosome Theory of Inheritance:
    • Most of the cells in a human contain two copies of each of 22 different chromosomes. In addition, there is a pair of chromosomes that determines sex: a female contains two X chromosomes and a male contains one X and one Y chromosome. Transmission of genetic information to offspring occurs through egg and sperm cells that contain only one representative from each chromosome pair. An egg and a sperm unite to form a new individual. The fact that the human body is formed from cells that contain two copies of each chromosome—and therefore two copies of each gene—explains many features of human heredity, such as how variation that are hidden in one generation can be expressed in the next.
  • Sources/Causes of Genetic Mutations:
    • Changes in DNA (mutations) occur spontaneously at low rates. Some of these changes make no difference to the organism, whereas others can change cells and organisms. Only mutations in germ cells can create the variation that changes an organism's offspring.
  • Historical Development:
    • The historical significance of major scientific advances related to the molecular basis of heredity.

The Theory of Biological Evolution

  • Species Evolve Over Time:
    • Species evolve over time. Evolution is the consequence of the interactions of (1) the potential for a species to increase its numbers, (2) the genetic variability of offspring due to mutation and recombination of genes, (3) a finite supply of the resources required for life, and (4) the ensuing selection by the environment of those offspring better able to survive and leave offspring.
  • Biological Diversity:
    • The great diversity of organisms is the result of more than 3.5 billion years of evolution that has filled every available niche with life forms.
  • Natural Selection:
    • Natural selection and its evolutionary consequences provide a scientific explanation for the fossil record of ancient life forms, as well as for the striking molecular similarities observed among the diverse species of living organisms.
  • Common Descent:
    • The millions of different species of plants, animals and micro-organisms that live on earth today are related by descent from common ancestors.
  • Systematics:
    • Biological classifications are based on how organisms are related. Organisms are classified into a hierarchy of groups and subgroups based on similarities which reflect their evolutionary relationships. Species in the most fundamental unit of classification.
  • Historical Development:
    • Understanding the historical significance of major scientific advances related to the theory of biological evolution.

The Interdependence of Organisms

  • Matter Cycles:
    • The atoms and molecules on the earth cycle among the living and nonliving components of the biosphere.
  • Energy Flow:
    • Energy flows through ecosystems in one direction, from photosynthetic organisms to herbivores to carnivores and decomposers.
  • Interrelationships:
    • Organisms both cooperate and compete in ecosystems. The interrelationships and interdependencies of these organisms may generate ecosystems that are stable for hundreds or thousands of years.
  • Fecundity:
    • Living organisms have the capacity to produce populations of infinite size, but environments and resources are finite. This fundamental tension has profound effects on the interactions between organisms.
  • Human Impact on Ecosystems:
    • Human beings live within the world's ecosystems. Increasingly, humans modify ecosystems as a result of population growth, technology, and consumption. Human destruction of habitats through direct harvesting, pollution, atmospheric changes, and other factors is threatening current global stability, and if now addressed, ecosystems will be irreversibly affected.
  • Historical Development:
    • Understand the historical significance of major scientific advances related to the interdependence of organisms.

Matter, Energy and Organization in Living Systems

  • Entropy:
    • All matter tends toward more disorganized states. Living systems require a continuous input of energy to maintain their chemical and physical organizations. With death, and the cessation of energy input, living systems rapidly disintegrate.
  • Anabolism:
    • The energy for life primarily derives from the sun. Plants capture energy by absorbing light and using it to form strong (covalent) chemical bonds between the atoms of carbon-containing (organic) molecules. These molecules can be used to assemble larger molecules with biological activity (including proteins, DNA, sugars, and fats). In addition, the energy stored in bonds between the atoms (chemical energy) can be used as sources of energy for life processes.
  • Catabolism:
    • The chemical bonds of food molecules contain energy. Energy is released when the bonds of food molecules are broken and new compounds with lower energy bonds are formed. Cells usually store this energy temporarily in phosphate bonds of a small high-energy compound called ATP.
  • Complexity:
    • The complexity and organization of organisms accommodates the need for obtaining, transforming, transporting releasing, and eliminating the matter and energy used to sustain the organism.
  • Limiting Factors:
    • The distribution and abundance of organisms and populations in ecosystems are limited by the availability of matter and energy and the ability of the ecosystem to recycle materials.
  • Conservation of Matter and Energy:
    • As matter and energy flow through different levels of organization of living systems—cells, organs, organisms, communities—and between living systems and the physical environment, chemical elements are recombined in different ways. Each recombination results in storage and dissipation of energy into the environment as heat. Matter and energy are conserved in each change.
  • Historical Development:
    • Understand the historical significance of major scientific advances related to matter, energy and organization in living systems.

The Behavior of Organisms

  • Nervous Systems:
    • Multicellular animals have nervous systems that generate behavior. Nervous systems are formed from specialized cells that conduct signals rapidly through the long cell extensions that make up nerves. The nerve cells communicate with each other by secreting specific excitatory and inhibitory molecules. In sense organs, specialized cells detect light, sound and specific chemicals and enable animals to monitor what is going on in the world around them.
  • Stimulus and Response:
    • Organisms have behavioral responses to internal changes and to external stimuli. Responses to external stimuli can result from interactions with the organism's own species and others, as well as environmental changes; these responses either can be innate or learned. The broad patterns of behavior exhibited by animals have evolved to ensure reproductive success. Animals often live in unpredictable environments, and so their behavior must be flexible enough to deal with uncertainty and change. Plants also respond to stimuli.
  • Adaptive Behaviors:
    • Like other aspects of an organism's biology, behaviors have evolved through natural selection. Behaviors often have an adaptive logic when viewed in terms of evolutionary principles.
  • Human Implications:
    • Behavioral biology has implications for humans, as it provides links to psychology, sociology and anthropology.
  • Historical Development:
    • Understand the historical significance of major scientific advances related to the behavior of evolution.

Scientific Inquiry

  • Design and conduct experiments.
  • Design and conduct an investigation:.
    • Identify scientific issues based on observations and the corresponding scientific concepts.
    • Analyze data to clarify scientific issues or define scientific questions.
    • Compare results to current models and/or personal experience.
  • Use scientific evidence to defend or refute ideas in an historical or contemporary context:
    • Identify scientific concepts found in evidence.
    • Evaluate the validity of the idea in relationship to scientific information.
    • Analyze the immediate and long-term impact on the individual and/or society in the areas of technology, ecomonics and the environment.

 

Chemistry

Student Learnings: What students should know and be able to do

Concepts in Chemistry: Understand concepts, theories and principles in chemistry through investigation and analysis

  • Understand atomic theory
  • Understand relationships between the structure and properties of matter:
    • Organic and inorganic bonding
    • Periodicity
    • Solutions chemistry
  • Understand chemical reactions
  • Understand interactions of energy and matter.
  • Understand the historical significance of major scientific advances.
  • Design and conduct an experiment to investigate a question and test a hypothesis in chemistry.
  • Design and conduct one investigation through a problem-based study, service learning project of field study:
    • Identify scientific issues based on observations and the corresponding scientific concepts.
    • Analyze data to clarify scientific issues or define scientific questions.
    • Compare results to current models and/ or personal experience.
  • Use scientific evidence to defend or refute an idea in a historical or contemporary context:
    • Identify scientific concepts found in evidence.
    • Evaluate the validity of the idea in relationship to scientific information.
    • Analyze the immediate and long-term impact on the individual and/or society in the areas of technology, economics and the environment.
  • Students are encouraged to communicate to an audience outside of the school setting whenever possible.
  • Students must demonstrate basic safety procedures and skills when using tools and equipment.

 

Earth Science

Student Learnings: What students should know and be able to do

Earth and Space Systems: Understand concepts, theories and principles of earth and space systems through investigation and analysis

  • Design and conduct experiments, analyze data, interpret and communicate results.
  • Use equipment and supplies in the appropriate manner.
  • Use appropriate tools to perform investigations.
  • Apply the scientific method to investigations of the following advanced Earth Science topics:
    • Atmospheric variables
    • Weather patterns and forecasting
    • Earth/Moon system
    • Stellar Astronomy
    • Cosmology
    • Astronomy methods/history
    • Plate Tectonics/volcanoes/earthquakes
    • Mapping
    • Earth History
    • Earth's water and mineral resources
    • Rocks and Minerals
    • Weathering and erosion

 

Environmental Biology

Student Learnings: What students should know and be able to do

Environmental Systems: Apply decision making model(s) to issues involving relationships among the individual, the society, the economy and the environmnent.

Natural and Managed Systems: Understand the interaction and interdependence of natural and managed systems.

  • Apply the scientific method to investigation of the following Ecological topics:
    • Biomes
    • Population dynamics
    • Energy Relationships
    • Matter and Chemical Cycles
    • Species adaptations
    • Environmental Quality
  • Understand the nature of the following Human Biology topics:
    • Genetics
    • Human Body Systems
    • Cell Biology
  • Design and conduct experiments, analyze data, interpret and communicate results.
  • Use equipment and supplies in the appropriate manner while conducting investigations:
    • microscope
    • lab equipment
  • Use appropriate tools to perform investigations:
    • dichotomous keys
    • census procedures
    • internet search
    • metric measurement

 

Environmental Science Elective

Student Learnings: What students should know and be able to do

  • Demonstrate an understanding of ecology, biology, the scientific method and the nature of science.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of natural resources both Minnesota (local) and world (global).
  • Investigate both global and local biomes and identify their key components.
  • Utilize their background of ecology, biology and the scientific method to formulate possible solutions to real environmental issues.
  • Assess implications of changes in the environment.
    • short/long term
    • local and global

 

General/Universal/Integrated Science

Student Learnings: What students should know and be able to do

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the scientific method, the nature of science and fundamental physical science (physics, chemistry, technology).
  • Demonstrate an understanding of natural resources both Minnesota (local) and world (global).
  • Understand the application of physical science to real life.
  • Utilize their background of physical science, earth science, biology and the scientific method to formulate possible solutions to real world issues.
  • Assess implications of scientific developments in the environment:
    • short/long term
    • local and global
  • Demonstrate understanding of data collection methods and use of measurement tools.

 

Geology

Student Learnings: What students should know and be able to do

Earth and Space Systems: Understand concepts, theories and principles of earth and space systems through investigation and analysis

  • Design and conduct experiments, analyze data, interpret and communicate results.
  • Use equipment and supplies in the appropriate manner.
  • Use appropriate tools to perform investigations.
  • Apply the scientific method to investigations of the following advanced Earth Science topics:
    • Plate Tectonics
    • Mineralogy
    • Petrology (rocks)
    • Minnesota Geology
    • Volcanoes
    • Earthquakes
    • Weathering and Erosion
    • Geologic Maps
    • Field Study
    • Stratigraphy

 

Meteorology

Student Learnings: What students should know and be able to do

Earth and Space Systems: Understand concepts, theories and principles of earth and space systems through investigation and analysis

  • Design and conduct experiments, analyze data, interpret and communicate results.
  • Use equipment and supplies in the appropriate manner.
  • Use appropriate tools to perform investigations.
  • Apply the scientific method to advanced investigations of the following advanced Earth Science topics:
    • Atmosphere
    • Solar Radiation
    • Temperature
    • Humidity
    • Atmospheric Stability
    • Atmospheric Moisture
    • Air Pressure and Winds
    • Air Masses
    • Weather Patterns
    • Climate
    • Severe Weather

 

Physical Science

Student Learnings: What students should know and be able to do

Concepts in Chemistry: Understand concepts, theories and principles in chemistry through investigation and analysis

  • Understand atomic theory
  • Understand relationships between the structure and properties of matter:
    • Organic and inorganic bonding
    • Periodicity
    • Solutions chemistry
  • Understand chemical reactions
  • Understand interactions of energy and matter.
  • Understand the historical significance of major scientific advances.
  • Design and conduct an experiment to investigate a question and test a hypothesis in chemistry.
  • Design and conduct one investigation through a problem-based study, service learning project of field study:
    • Identify scientific issues based on observations and the corresponding scientific concepts.
    • Analyze data to clarify scientific issues or define scientific questions.
    • Compare results to current models and/ or personal experience.
  • Use scientific evidence to defend or refute an idea in a historical or contemporary context:
    • Identify scientific concepts found in evidence.
    • Evaluate the validity of the idea in relationship to scientific information.
    • Analyze the immediate and long-term impact on the individual and/or society in the areas of technology, economics and the environment.
  • Students are encouraged to communicate to an audience outside of the school setting whenever possible.
  • Students must demonstrate basic safety procedures and skills when using tools and equipment.

Concepts in Physics: Understand physics through interactions of matter, force, and energy

Understand the concepts of waves
  • Define, give examples of, compare and contrast, and/or identify the following terms or properties of waves:
    • wavelength
    • period
    • frequency
    • amplitude
    • longitudinal waves
    • transverse waves
    • the principle of superposition
    • constructive interference
    • destructive interference
    • diffraction through a narrow opening (that can vary) or around and obstacle (width can vary).
    • reflection from plane and curved surfaces.
  • Calculate (using the proper units) the period, frequency, wavelength, and/or wave speed given the appropriate information (given any of the information listed here).
    Optional: Understand the differences between AM and FM waves.
  • Define and give examples of the Doppler effect.
  • Explain and draw pictures of how bow waves, shock waves, and sonic booms are produced.
    Optional: Be able to calculate frequency shifts caused by relative motion of a sound source and an observer.
  • Identify, define or discuss the following concepts concerning sound:
    • how sound is produced, travels, and is received.
    • how sound waves are represented.
    • at what speed sound travels through different media.
    • define the terms condensation or compression, rarefaction, pitch, frequency, loudness and explain how they are used when discussing sound.
  • Apply their knowledge of sound to the following concepts:
    • explain and give an example of what resonance is and how things can be caused to resonate.
    • explain and give examples of the diffraction of sound.
    • explain and give examples of the interference of sound.
    • explain standing waves and under what conditions they occur
      Optional:
      • be familiar with the dB scale as a measure of sound intensity level.
      • be able to calculate the dB level or the intensity of a sound based on given data.
      • calculate the velocity of a wave on a string as a function of string tension and linear density.
      • explain the production of sound in various musical instruments.
      • understand what sweet spots and dead spots and how they are produced.
  • State the law of reflection:
    • Draw the incident or reflected ray if given the angle of incidence or angle of reflection and label the normal, incident and reflected rays, and the incident and reflected angles.
    • Define and give examples of the regular and diffuse reflection.
    • State what a virtual image is, where in a plane mirror it appears to exist and why it appears to exist there, and what amount can be seen in the mirror based on the height of the mirror.
  • Construct a complete ray diagram to locate the image of an object as seen in a curved spherical mirror (concave and convex) and be able to describe the image (real or virtual, upright or inverted, larger or smaller than object).
    Optional: Students use the lens and magnification equations to calculate positions and heights of images and/or objects.
  • Define refraction:
    • Explain why it is easier to hear sounds across a lake at night as compared to day (refraction of sound).
    • Explain how a mirage is formed (atmospheric refraction of light).
    • Explain why the bottom of a lake or pool (or submerged objects) appear to be closer than it actually is (refraction of light in liquids).
  • Define and give examples of dispersion:
    • Explain and draw the dispersion of light as it passes through a prism.
    • Define and give examples of total internal reflection and explain why the light reflects inside these materials.
    • Explain how rainbows are made.
    • Calculate the angle of refraction for light traveling from air into another substance given the angle of incidence and the indices of refraction of air and the second substance (Snell's Law).
      Optional: Calculate the speed of light in various media given the index of refraction.
  • Construct a complete ray diagram to locate the image of an object produced by a thin lens (converging or diverging):
    • Be able to describe the image (real or virtual, upright or inverted, larger or smaller than object).
    • Be able to identify, label, and measure the image distance, the object distance, the image height, and the object height on the ray diagram from first point above.
  • Define nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, spherical aberration, and chromatic aberration:
    • Explain what causes each defect in vision and lenses.
    • Explain what type of corrective lens should be used in each case of vision problems and why.
    • Explain how to correct each defect or aberration in lenses.
      Optional: Explain how telescopes and microscopes work—lenses in combination.
  • List chronologically the four major models/theories of light and list evidence to support each model:
    • State the speed of light and be able to calculate the time of light's travel given distance traveled.
    • List in order from long to short wavelength the major divisions of the electronic spectrum.
    • Discuss the characteristics of each major division of the electromagnetic spectrum.
    • Define transparent, translucent, and opaque in terms of the material's interaction with different wavelengths of light.
  • Define polarized light:
    • List at least three different ways to produce polarized light.
    • Determine if the light he/she is viewing is polarized using a polarizing filter.
  • Explain why both black and white are not considered to be color:
    • Explain how opaque objects can appear to be colored.
    • Explain how transparent objects can appear to be colored.
    • Define the term pigment as it related to color.
    • Describe the effects that fluorescent light, candle light, and incandescent light have on the appearance of colored objects.
  • Categorize the primary and secondary colors of light:
    • State the definition of complimentary colors.
    • Explain the difference between mixing by addition and mixing by subtraction.
    • Predict the result when 2 color of light (primary or secondary) are mixed.
  • Explain the following phenomena on an atomic scale:
    • why the sky is blue
    • why sunsets/sunrises are red
    • why water is blue-green (cyan)
  • Explain and give examples of the diffraction of light:
    • Predict changes in a double slit diffraction pattern caused by changes in the wavelength of light or changes in the slit width.
    • Use a double slit diffraction setup to measure the wavelength of visible light.

Understand the concepts of electricity and magnetism

  • State the modern theory of electrostatics which includes knowing:
    • the names of the two charged particles in the atom.
    • the type of electric charge on each of these two particles.
    • the basic rules which describe how these two charged particles interact.
    • the definition of an electrically neutral object.
    • which of the two charged particles in an atom is able to move in solids.
    • the definition of an insulator (or insulating object).
    • how two neutral objects become charged by friction.
    • what it means for an object to be charged by conduction.
    • what it means for an object to be charged by induction.
  • Use her/his knowledge of charging by conduction and/or induction to explain for each of the items below either how each becomes charged, where the charge is stored, or how the phenomenon works. These items include:
    • a pith ball electrometer
    • an electrophorus
    • a Leyden jar
    • a gold leaf electroscope
    • cloud to ground lightning and how to protect yourself against being struck by lightning.
    • a balloon rubbed on a sweater sticking to a wall.
    • charged objects being able to pick up insulators (such as TV screens collecting and holding dust or combs run through hair, picking up small bits of paper).
    • Van de Graaff generator
  • Use Coulomb's Law to calculate:
    • the force between two electric charges given the two charges and the distance between them.
    • one of the two charges given the other charge, the distance between them, and the force between the two charges.
    • the distance between two charges given the two charges and the force between them.
    • the change in the strength of the force between two charges given the changes in the charges and/or the distance between them.
      Optional: Relate potential difference to the work required to move a charge between two points.
  • Hook up a voltmeter or ammeter properly into a circuit:
    • Wire a circuit given a circuit diagram, and/or draw a circuit diagram (schematic) given a circuit already wired.
    • Determine the values of resistors using the resistor color code.
    • Understand the properties of series and parallel circuits.
      Optional: explain the function of a battery, resistor, transistor and resistor in a circuit.
    • Build complex circuits following instructions.
    • Wire a household circuit in a mock stud wall).
  • Analyze an electric circuit using Ohm's law and the circuit rules. This includes finding:
    • voltages across resistors everywhere
    • currents through resistors
    • combining series and parallel resistors
  • Calculate:
    • the power of an appliance given current and voltage.
    • the current drawn by an appliance given the voltage and power.
    • the cost of operating an appliance given the current, voltage, time of use, and the cost per kilowatt-hour.
  • Use the theory of atomic magnetism to explain magnetic induction, how to create magnets, and how to destroy magnets.
  • Determine (using the right/left hand rules for current produced magnetic fields) and draw the magnetic field around:
    • a bar magnet
    • two bar magnets
    • a straight, current carrying wire
      Optional:
      • a single loop of current carrying wire
      • a coil of current carrying wire
  • Describe how to increase the strength of the field—in the case of the current produced fields).
  • List and describe uses for electromagnets and examples of electromagnetic induction in our everyday world.

Understand the concepts of motion.

  • Define and distinguish between the following terms:
    • average speed and instantaneous speed
    • velocity and speed
    • velocity and acceleration
  • Use the equations of motion to analyze the motion of a body in a straight line (assuming uniformly accelerated motion). This includes determining:
    • either the final velocity, initial velocity, acceleration, or time of travel given 3 of the 4 quantities.
    • the average velocity given the initial and final velocities.
    • the distance traveled given the initial velocity, acceleration, and the time of travel.
    • either the final velocity, initial velocity, acceleration, or the distance traveled given 3 of the 4 quantities.
      Optional:
      • analyze the motion of an object by graphical means
      • be able to derive the equations of motion from graphical analysis of motion
  • Analyze an object in free fall motion. This includes being able to determine:
    • the maximum height of a body tossed upward given the initial speed and initial height.
    • the speed of the object at any point during its motion (up or down).
    • the time of flight for an object dropped from rest or tossed up.
    • either the initial speed, final speed, maximum height, or time of flight given any 3 or the 4 quantities.
  • Using the ruler and protractor method of vector addition:
    • draw and label the magnitude and direction of a vector quantity
    • add two vectors and determine the magnitude and direction of the resultant
    • break up any vector into two components, one horizontal and one vertical
      Optional:
      • add vectors using the component method
      • understand static equilibrium of both forces and torques
      • for an object on a slope, resolve its weight into a component that causes acceleration along the slope and a component that presses it against the slope
  • When considering the projectile motion of something that is fired horizontally:
    • determine the time it takes the projectile to hit the ground given the initial horizontal speed and height above the ground.
    • determine the horizontal distance traveled given the initial horizontal speed and the height above the ground (you'd have to get the time of fall first).
    • determine the initial height above the ground given the initial horizontal speed and the final horizontal distance the projectile traveled during its flight.
    • determine the initial horizontal speed given the initial height above the ground and the final horizontal distance the projectile traveled during its flight.
    • describe how the horizontal and vertical components of a projectile's velocity and acceleration change over time (if they do).

Understand the concepts of force

  • State Newton's first law:
    • give three examples that clearly demonstrate this law.
    • apply the first law to explain an example given to you.
  • State Newton's second law:
    • solve for force, mass, or acceleration given two of the three quantities.
    • calculate the weight of a mass given the mass and the acceleration due to gravity.
    • explain the difference between mass and weight.
      Optional: explain and calculate g-forces.
  • State Newton's third law:
    • give three examples that clearly demonstrate this law.
    • apply the third law to explain an example given to you
      Optional: students use their understanding of Newton's laws to construct a bridge or tower out of a given material (toothpicks, spaghetti, etc.) which will then be tested for strength.
  • Define and calculate:
    • orbital period given radius and speed.
    • orbital speed given radius and period or frequency.
    • centripetal acceleration given radius, speed, period, and/or frequency.
    • centripetal force given mass, radius, speed, period, and/or frequency.
  • Define and calculate:
    • torque given force and the lever arm.
    • rotational inertia and apply it to everyday phenomena (sports, etc).
    • angular momentum (mathematical description).
  • State how the law of universal gravitation depends on mass and distance:
    • Calculate the weight of an object given its mass and the acceleration due to gravity where it is being weighed.
    • Calculate the force between two objects given their individual masses and the distance between them.
    • Calculate the change in the gravitational force given only the change in distance between two objects.
    • Describe why all bodies accelerate at the same rate in freefall near the surface of the earth (neglecting air resistance).
  • Complete calculations concerning:
    • Hooke's law for springs
    • simple harmonic motion (includes pendulums and springs).
    • the derivation of the equations for the period of an oscillating spring and/or pendulum.

Understand the laws of conservation

  • Use the conservation of energy and momentum to calculate the motion of objects in collisions.
  • Explain and give examples (or explain examples given) of the conservation of angular momentum.

Understand the concepts of energy and work

  • Define and calculate:
    • an object's kinetic energy given mass and speed.
    • gravitational potential energy given mass and height.
    • momentum given mass and velocity.
    • work done by a force given the distance through which the force acts.
    • impulse given a mass using force and time or change in momentum.
      Optional: students shall understand simple machines and mechanical advantage.

Design and conduct an experiment to investigate a question and test a hypothesis in physics

  • Use their knowledge of mechanics to analyze a number of rides at Valleyfair. Students will collect data and calculate various quantities such as speed, acceleration, forces, energy and momentum.
Possible Additional Topics
  • Understand and be able to complete calculations concerning:
    • Buoyant forces
    • Pascal's principle
    • Archimede's principle
    • Bernoulli's principle
    • Continuity
Understand the concepts of modern physics
  • Define, explain, give examples and/or explain examples given of the following concepts in Special Relativity:
    • time Dilation—describe what happens to the apparent rate of a moving clock as observed from rest.
    • how "time travel" could be accomplished.
    • the change in distances with speed—describe how the observed length of a moving object changes as observed from rest.
    • the change in mass with speed—describe how the observed mass of a moving object changes as observed from rest.
    • mass-Energy Equivalence—calculating how much mass must be converted to produce a given amount of energy.
  • Define, explain, give examples and/or explain examples given of the following concepts in Einstein's General Theory of Relativity:
    • describe at least 2 of the phenomena that Einstein predicted and explained using his general theory of relativity.
    • describe what Einstein calls "gravity."
    • describe where all matter gets its "moving orders" from if it isn't from a force of gravity (according to Einstein).
    • explain how the acceleration of an apple freely falling on the surface of the earth can be described by using an "accelerated frame of reference: instead of by a force of gravity.
  • Explain how a black hole is created from the death of a large star.
    • use the concepts of Einstein's gravity to explain what a black hole is thought to be.
    • identify the parts of a black hole including the event horizon and the singularity.
    • define event horizon and singularity for a black hole.
Understand the principles of thermodynamics
  • Thermodynamics goals (accelerated physics only):
    • explain the atomic level behaviors that cause thermal expansion.
    • calculate 1, 2, or 3-dimensional expansion in a given material caused by a temperature change.
    • understand the importance of Joule's work in determining the mechanical equivalent of heat.
    • understand the meaning of each term in the 1st law of thermodynamics, including significance of plus or minus signs.
    • be able to use the 1st law of thermodynamics to calculate a system's internal energy change during some process.
    • be able to calculate the work done by a gas.
    • use pressure-volume diagrams to analyze thermodynamic processes.
    • explain the difference between a heat engine and a heat pum.
    • calculate the efficiency of a heat engine given heat flow or temperature data.
    • explain the 2nd law of thermodynamic in terms of either heat flow or entropy change.
    • use thermodynamic concepts to interpret the short story "The Last Question" by Isaac Asimov.

 

 

 

 

 

Physics

Student Learnings: What students should know and be able to do

Concepts in Physics: Understand physics through interactions of matter, force, and energy

Understand the concepts of waves
  • Define, give examples of, compare and contrast, and/or identify the following terms or properties of waves:
    • wavelength
    • period
    • frequency
    • amplitude
    • longitudinal waves
    • transverse waves
    • the principle of superposition
    • constructive interference
    • destructive interference
    • diffraction through a narrow opening (that can vary) or around and obstacle (width can vary).
    • reflection from plane and curved surfaces.
  • Calculate (using the proper units) the period, frequency, wavelength, and/or wave speed given the appropriate information (given any of the information listed here).
    Optional: Understand the differences between AM and FM waves.
  • Define and give examples of the Doppler effect.
  • Explain and draw pictures of how bow waves, shock waves, and sonic booms are produced.
    Optional: Be able to calculate frequency shifts caused by relative motion of a sound source and an observer.
  • Identify, define or discuss the following concepts concerning sound:
    • how sound is produced, travels, and is received.
    • how sound waves are represented.
    • at what speed sound travels through different media.
    • define the terms condensation or compression, rarefaction, pitch, frequency, loudness and explain how they are used when discussing sound.
  • Apply their knowledge of sound to the following concepts:
    • explain and give an example of what resonance is and how things can be caused to resonate.
    • explain and give examples of the diffraction of sound.
    • explain and give examples of the interference of sound.
    • explain standing waves and under what conditions they occur
      Optional:
      • be familiar with the dB scale as a measure of sound intensity level.
      • be able to calculate the dB level or the intensity of a sound based on given data.
      • calculate the velocity of a wave on a string as a function of string tension and linear density.
      • explain the production of sound in various musical instruments.
      • understand what sweet spots and dead spots and how they are produced.
  • State the law of reflection:
    • Draw the incident or reflected ray if given the angle of incidence or angle of reflection and label the normal, incident and reflected rays, and the incident and reflected angles.
    • Define and give examples of the regular and diffuse reflection.
    • State what a virtual image is, where in a plane mirror it appears to exist and why it appears to exist there, and what amount can be seen in the mirror based on the height of the mirror.
  • Construct a complete ray diagram to locate the image of an object as seen in a curved spherical mirror (concave and convex) and be able to describe the image (real or virtual, upright or inverted, larger or smaller than object).
    Optional: Students use the lens and magnification equations to calculate positions and heights of images and/or objects.
  • Define refraction:
    • Explain why it is easier to hear sounds across a lake at night as compared to day (refraction of sound).
    • Explain how a mirage is formed (atmospheric refraction of light).
    • Explain why the bottom of a lake or pool (or submerged objects) appear to be closer than it actually is (refraction of light in liquids).
  • Define and give examples of dispersion:
    • Explain and draw the dispersion of light as it passes through a prism.
    • Define and give examples of total internal reflection and explain why the light reflects inside these materials.
    • Explain how rainbows are made.
    • Calculate the angle of refraction for light traveling from air into another substance given the angle of incidence and the indices of refraction of air and the second substance (Snell's Law).
      Optional: Calculate the speed of light in various media given the index of refraction.
  • Construct a complete ray diagram to locate the image of an object produced by a thin lens (converging or diverging):
    • Be able to describe the image (real or virtual, upright or inverted, larger or smaller than object).
    • Be able to identify, label, and measure the image distance, the object distance, the image height, and the object height on the ray diagram from first point above.
  • Define nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, spherical aberration, and chromatic aberration:
    • Explain what causes each defect in vision and lenses.
    • Explain what type of corrective lens should be used in each case of vision problems and why.
    • Explain how to correct each defect or aberration in lenses.
      Optional: Explain how telescopes and microscopes work—lenses in combination.
  • List chronologically the four major models/theories of light and list evidence to support each model:
    • State the speed of light and be able to calculate the time of light's travel given distance traveled.
    • List in order from long to short wavelength the major divisions of the electronic spectrum.
    • Discuss the characteristics of each major division of the electromagnetic spectrum.
    • Define transparent, translucent, and opaque in terms of the material's interaction with different wavelengths of light.
  • Define polarized light:
    • List at least three different ways to produce polarized light.
    • Determine if the light he/she is viewing is polarized using a polarizing filter.
  • Explain why both black and white are not considered to be color:
    • Explain how opaque objects can appear to be colored.
    • Explain how transparent objects can appear to be colored.
    • Define the term pigment as it related to color.
    • Describe the effects that fluorescent light, candle light, and incandescent light have on the appearance of colored objects.
  • Categorize the primary and secondary colors of light:
    • State the definition of complimentary colors.
    • Explain the difference between mixing by addition and mixing by subtraction.
    • Predict the result when 2 color of light (primary or secondary) are mixed.
  • Explain the following phenomena on an atomic scale:
    • why the sky is blue
    • why sunsets/sunrises are red
    • why water is blue-green (cyan)
  • Explain and give examples of the diffraction of light:
    • Predict changes in a double slit diffraction pattern caused by changes in the wavelength of light or changes in the slit width.
    • Use a double slit diffraction setup to measure the wavelength of visible light.

Understand the concepts of electricity and magnetism

  • State the modern theory of electrostatics which includes knowing:
    • the names of the two charged particles in the atom.
    • the type of electric charge on each of these two particles.
    • the basic rules which describe how these two charged particles interact.
    • the definition of an electrically neutral object.
    • which of the two charged particles in an atom is able to move in solids.
    • the definition of an insulator (or insulating object).
    • how two neutral objects become charged by friction.
    • what it means for an object to be charged by conduction.
    • what it means for an object to be charged by induction.
  • Use her/his knowledge of charging by conduction and/or induction to explain for each of the items below either how each becomes charged, where the charge is stored, or how the phenomenon works. These items include:
    • a pith ball electrometer
    • an electrophorus
    • a Leyden jar
    • a gold leaf electroscope
    • cloud to ground lightning and how to protect yourself against being struck by lightning.
    • a balloon rubbed on a sweater sticking to a wall.
    • charged objects being able to pick up insulators (such as TV screens collecting and holding dust or combs run through hair, picking up small bits of paper).
    • Van de Graaff generator
  • Use Coulomb's Law to calculate:
    • the force between two electric charges given the two charges and the distance between them.
    • one of the two charges given the other charge, the distance between them, and the force between the two charges.
    • the distance between two charges given the two charges and the force between them.
    • the change in the strength of the force between two charges given the changes in the charges and/or the distance between them.
      Optional: Relate potential difference to the work required to move a charge between two points.
  • Hook up a voltmeter or ammeter properly into a circuit:
    • Wire a circuit given a circuit diagram, and/or draw a circuit diagram (schematic) given a circuit already wired.
    • Determine the values of resistors using the resistor color code.
    • Understand the properties of series and parallel circuits.
      Optional: explain the function of a battery, resistor, transistor and resistor in a circuit.
    • Build complex circuits following instructions.
    • Wire a household circuit in a mock stud wall).
  • Analyze an electric circuit using Ohm's law and the circuit rules. This includes finding:
    • voltages across resistors everywhere
    • currents through resistors
    • combining series and parallel resistors
  • Calculate:
    • the power of an appliance given current and voltage.
    • the current drawn by an appliance given the voltage and power.
    • the cost of operating an appliance given the current, voltage, time of use, and the cost per kilowatt-hour.
  • Use the theory of atomic magnetism to explain magnetic induction, how to create magnets, and how to destroy magnets.
  • Determine (using the right/left hand rules for current produced magnetic fields) and draw the magnetic field around:
    • a bar magnet
    • two bar magnets
    • a straight, current carrying wire
      Optional:
      • a single loop of current carrying wire
      • a coil of current carrying wire
  • Describe how to increase the strength of the field—in the case of the current produced fields).
  • List and describe uses for electromagnets and examples of electromagnetic induction in our everyday world.

Understand the concepts of motion.

  • Define and distinguish between the following terms:
    • average speed and instantaneous speed
    • velocity and speed
    • velocity and acceleration
  • Use the equations of motion to analyze the motion of a body in a straight line (assuming uniformly accelerated motion). This includes determining:
    • either the final velocity, initial velocity, acceleration, or time of travel given 3 of the 4 quantities.
    • the average velocity given the initial and final velocities.
    • the distance traveled given the initial velocity, acceleration, and the time of travel.
    • either the final velocity, initial velocity, acceleration, or the distance traveled given 3 of the 4 quantities.
      Optional:
      • analyze the motion of an object by graphical means
      • be able to derive the equations of motion from graphical analysis of motion
  • Analyze an object in free fall motion. This includes being able to determine:
    • the maximum height of a body tossed upward given the initial speed and initial height.
    • the speed of the object at any point during its motion (up or down).
    • the time of flight for an object dropped from rest or tossed up.
    • either the initial speed, final speed, maximum height, or time of flight given any 3 or the 4 quantities.
  • Using the ruler and protractor method of vector addition:
    • draw and label the magnitude and direction of a vector quantity
    • add two vectors and determine the magnitude and direction of the resultant
    • break up any vector into two components, one horizontal and one vertical
      Optional:
      • add vectors using the component method
      • understand static equilibrium of both forces and torques
      • for an object on a slope, resolve its weight into a component that causes acceleration along the slope and a component that presses it against the slope
  • When considering the projectile motion of something that is fired horizontally:
    • determine the time it takes the projectile to hit the ground given the initial horizontal speed and height above the ground.
    • determine the horizontal distance traveled given the initial horizontal speed and the height above the ground (you'd have to get the time of fall first).
    • determine the initial height above the ground given the initial horizontal speed and the final horizontal distance the projectile traveled during its flight.
    • determine the initial horizontal speed given the initial height above the ground and the final horizontal distance the projectile traveled during its flight.
    • describe how the horizontal and vertical components of a projectile's velocity and acceleration change over time (if they do).

Understand the concepts of force

  • State Newton's first law:
    • give three examples that clearly demonstrate this law.
    • apply the first law to explain an example given to you.
  • State Newton's second law:
    • solve for force, mass, or acceleration given two of the three quantities.
    • calculate the weight of a mass given the mass and the acceleration due to gravity.
    • explain the difference between mass and weight.
      Optional: explain and calculate g-forces.
  • State Newton's third law:
    • give three examples that clearly demonstrate this law.
    • apply the third law to explain an example given to you
      Optional: students use their understanding of Newton's laws to construct a bridge or tower out of a given material (toothpicks, spaghetti, etc.) which will then be tested for strength.
  • Define and calculate:
    • orbital period given radius and speed.
    • orbital speed given radius and period or frequency.
    • centripetal acceleration given radius, speed, period, and/or frequency.
    • centripetal force given mass, radius, speed, period, and/or frequency.
  • Define and calculate:
    • torque given force and the lever arm.
    • rotational inertia and apply it to everyday phenomena (sports, etc).
    • angular momentum (mathematical description).
  • State how the law of universal gravitation depends on mass and distance:
    • Calculate the weight of an object given its mass and the acceleration due to gravity where it is being weighed.
    • Calculate the force between two objects given their individual masses and the distance between them.
    • Calculate the change in the gravitational force given only the change in distance between two objects.
    • Describe why all bodies accelerate at the same rate in freefall near the surface of the earth (neglecting air resistance).
  • Complete calculations concerning:
    • Hooke's law for springs
    • simple harmonic motion (includes pendulums and springs).
    • the derivation of the equations for the period of an oscillating spring and/or pendulum.

Understand the laws of conservation

  • Use the conservation of energy and momentum to calculate the motion of objects in collisions.
  • Explain and give examples (or explain examples given) of the conservation of angular momentum.

Understand the concepts of energy and work

  • Define and calculate:
    • an object's kinetic energy given mass and speed.
    • gravitational potential energy given mass and height.
    • momentum given mass and velocity.
    • work done by a force given the distance through which the force acts.
    • impulse given a mass using force and time or change in momentum.
      Optional: students shall understand simple machines and mechanical advantage.

Design and conduct an experiment to investigate a question and test a hypothesis in physics

  • Use their knowledge of mechanics to analyze a number of rides at Valleyfair. Students will collect data and calculate various quantities such as speed, acceleration, forces, energy and momentum.
Possible Additional Topics
  • Understand and be able to complete calculations concerning:
    • Buoyant forces
    • Pascal's principle
    • Archimede's principle
    • Bernoulli's principle
    • Continuity
Understand the concepts of modern physics
  • Define, explain, give examples and/or explain examples given of the following concepts in Special Relativity:
    • time Dilation—describe what happens to the apparent rate of a moving clock as observed from rest.
    • how "time travel" could be accomplished.
    • the change in distances with speed—describe how the observed length of a moving object changes as observed from rest.
    • the change in mass with speed—describe how the observed mass of a moving object changes as observed from rest.
    • mass-Energy Equivalence—calculating how much mass must be converted to produce a given amount of energy.
  • Define, explain, give examples and/or explain examples given of the following concepts in Einstein's General Theory of Relativity:
    • describe at least 2 of the phenomena that Einstein predicted and explained using his general theory of relativity.
    • describe what Einstein calls "gravity."
    • describe where all matter gets its "moving orders" from if it isn't from a force of gravity (according to Einstein).
    • explain how the acceleration of an apple freely falling on the surface of the earth can be described by using an "accelerated frame of reference: instead of by a force of gravity.
  • Explain how a black hole is created from the death of a large star.
    • use the concepts of Einstein's gravity to explain what a black hole is thought to be.
    • identify the parts of a black hole including the event horizon and the singularity.
    • define event horizon and singularity for a black hole.
Understand the principles of thermodynamics
  • Thermodynamics goals (accelerated physics only):
    • explain the atomic level behaviors that cause thermal expansion.
    • calculate 1, 2, or 3-dimensional expansion in a given material caused by a temperature change.
    • understand the importance of Joule's work in determining the mechanical equivalent of heat.
    • understand the meaning of each term in the 1st law of thermodynamics, including significance of plus or minus signs.
    • be able to use the 1st law of thermodynamics to calculate a system's internal energy change during some process.
    • be able to calculate the work done by a gas.
    • use pressure-volume diagrams to analyze thermodynamic processes.
    • explain the difference between a heat engine and a heat pum.
    • calculate the efficiency of a heat engine given heat flow or temperature data.
    • explain the 2nd law of thermodynamic in terms of either heat flow or entropy change.
    • use thermodynamic concepts to interpret the short story "The Last Question" by Isaac Asimov.





Untitled Document

Copyright and Privacy information

© Copyright Rosemount - Apple Valley - Eagan Public Schools, 3455 153rd St. W., Rosemount, MN 55068 • 651-423-7700
All Rights Reserved • Copyright Notice | Privacy Statement | Nondiscrimination and Vocational Opportunities Notification

Copyright and Privacy Information