Welcome to the Science Department
Capuchino High School is part of a nationwide movement to teach physics first, followed by chemistry and then biology. This movement has grown out of the recognition that physics is the most basic of sciences, and modern biology the most complex. Students first construct an understanding of the electrostatic and gravitational forces that shape our world, then extend this understanding to the structure and behavior of atoms in chemistry. Finally, students apply their knowledge of chemistry to understand complex biological systems.
Each course in the sequence is taught in the context of real-world Earth Science problems. It is no longer enough for students to simply memorize facts; they must be able to construct explanations and apply them to real-world systems that affect all of our lives. Capuchino’s science courses implement the Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize the following practices:
- Asking questions and defining problems
- Developing and using models
- Planning and carrying out investigations
- Analyzing and interpreting data
- Using mathematics and computational thinking
- Constructing explanations and designing solutions
- Engaging in argument from evidence
- Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
All Capuchino students begin with an introductory physics course that emphasizes investigation, pattern recognition and critical thinking. All students then take chemistry, where they learn to develop conceptual models and justify arguments with evidence. Students can then choose whether they will take College Prep Biology or IB Biology, and also have the option to take IB Environmental Systems and Societies and AP Physics. In these advanced courses, students have the opportunity to design their own lab work in addition to learning rigorous, college-level content. Students who have an interest in engineering, medicine or other sciences often choose to take all three advanced sciences.