York’s science department helps students develop critical thinking skills grounded in a broad knowledge of the major concepts of science and the scientific method. They learn to understand and interpret natural phenomena through extensive laboratory work, class discussions, field trips, guest lectures, and experimental research projects.
All students in grades 9-12 must complete three years of science, including biology, chemistry, and physics; a fourth year of science is recommended. Students who want more exposure to scientific topics may take two science courses each year in grades 10-12.
The goal of this course is twofold. First is to give the students a conceptual (non mathematical) overview of the major topics in chemistry, physics, astronomy, and earth science. Second is to teach the scientific method and help students develop the ability to use the scientific method as a logical approach to problem solving. The material focuses on fundamental concepts of astronomy, chemistry and physics and includes, but is not limited to, Newton’s laws of motion, energy, atoms, covalent and ionic bonding, black holes, and the star cycle.
With scientists unraveling the mysteries of life faster than ever before, this introductory survey course provides a foundation for students to understand the living world around them. It covers introductory biological principles, including chemistry of life, cellular structure and function, heredity and molecular genetics, evolution, ecology, and classification. Students are encouraged to approach science both critically and with curiosity, utilizing lectures, discussion, readings, and a significant laboratory component. Also, now that York has obtained access to our 100 acre outdoor lab, field work and environmental studies can easily be conducted on campus.Biology students are taken step by step through the scientific process as they prepare a project to be presented at the York Science Fair in February. They can choose to refine their project and submit it to the Monterey County Science Fair in March. York has had significant success at the Monterey County Science Fair, with York students consistently placing at the highest level at the Fair and qualifying to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. In addition, many students have won First Place awards in their divisions at the Monterey County Science Fair, qualifying them to attend the California State Science Fair.
Students are introduced to the basic concepts of anatomy and physiology, with an emphasis on humans, while using the comparative anatomy approach to show relationships between all vertebrates. Approximately 40% of class time is devoted to laboratory activities. These laboratory investigations include both hands-on dissection and computer simulations as well as computer assisted sensory probes for monitoring various physiological parameters. Through lectures, discussions, and labs, students develop a strong sense of how structure and function are related.
This course introduces students to a variety of environmental issues both locally and globally. The emphasis is on solutions for living sustainably. Issues are considered from many perspectives to help students realize it takes compromise and understanding from many groups to solve today’s environmental problems. The students use critical thinking skills and examine the “big picture.” Field trips to local areas of interest, work in the field, and laboratory exercises help to reinforce what they learn in class. Also, now that York has obtained access to our 100 acre outdoor lab, field work and environmental studies can easily be conducted on campus.
This course introduces students to the basic concepts of oceanography, marine ecology, marine zoology, and marine botany. Field trips to local areas of interest and laboratory exercises give students an appreciation for and knowledge of the dynamics of the marine ecosystem both locally and globally. Laboratory investigations include both hands-on dissections and computer simulations as well as work with live specimens to study their physiology.
This course is designed to be the equivalent of a college introductory biology course taken by biology majors during their first year. The textbook, reading assignments, writing assignments, and written examinations are equivalent to those found in major college biology programs. Lectures, discussions, chapter study questions, laboratory investigations, and written examinations are used for instruction and student evaluation. Students become extraordinarily adept at tying various concepts together, and in the world of modern biology, this is definitely a skill necessary for success.
The course exposes the student to the major topics of chemistry, including classification and measurement of matter, atomic theory, nomenclature, stoichiometry, thermochemistry, electronic structure, chemical bonding, gases, liquids and solids, solutions, and nuclear and organic chemistry. Laboratory work familiarizes students with lab equipment and techniques, and reinforces the topics covered in lectures and class discussions.
The lectures and laboratory work in this course go significantly beyond first-year chemistry in the depth and detail with which topics are covered. The testing format simulates the A.P. Chemistry exam, which all students are expected to take in May. Topics covered include stoichiometry, aqueous reactions, electronic structure, chemical bonding, gases, liquids and solids, solutions, thermodynamics, kinetics, equilibrium, acids and bases, precipitation reactions, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry.
Three of the primary branches in physics – mechanics, thermodynamics, and wave motion – are introduced in this class. Topics covered are statics, dynamics of particles and rigid bodies, Newton’s Laws of Motion, conservation principles, rotational motion, simple harmonic motion, wave motion, thermodynamics, and sound. The course has a strong emphasis on problem solving and is designed to give students an outstanding preparation for college physics and engineering courses.
Class in Action
Projectile Motion Demo
Students solved this problem . . .
Then, they used the findings to position the rings for the demo.
And finally, they tested their work . . .
. . . SUCCESS!
This calculus-based course is designed to build on the foundation of the first-year physics course and covers topics in mechanics and in electricity and magnetism. Both the lecture and laboratory work go significantly beyond first-year physics in the depth and detail with which topics are covered. The course is taught through a variety of techniques including: lectures, classroom discussions, demonstrations (in-class and video), computer simulations, homework problems, problem-solving sessions, and hands-on laboratories. A primary objective of this course is to teach students faced with a challenging problem to apply reason and problem-solving tactics to progress from fundamental principles to the solution. To support this objective, the bulk of assigned homework problems emphasize reasoning rather than rote memorization and single-step plug-and-chug problems. Furthermore, to promote student-centered learning, students are encouraged to work collaboratively to solve these problems.
The Science Research Seminar is an opportunity for students to undertake original scientific research under the guidance of York science teachers and local science experts. Students will become proficient in the research processes necessary to solve a scientific problem, primarily by designing and conducting a controlled experiment of their choice.