Science Department

Philosophy, Goals, and Objectives
of the Science Department

We are a team of 11 science teachers who have unique science backgrounds and expertise in various areas of science.  Our team of educators includes the content areas of: Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Marine Biology, and Physics.  We have spent the majority of our adult life to teach high school age students and help students gain an appreciation for science in their everyday lives.

We strive to create a science program for all of our students that not only meet California State Standards, but also prepare them to use science for improving their lives and coping with an increasingly technological society. We also attempt to produce informed citizens who are prepared to deal responsibly with science related social issues. We introduce students to nature; make them aware of current science issues, and the scope of a wide variety of science and technology-related careers. For those students who aspire to scientific careers, we provide the knowledge appropriate to their needs.

To attempt to fulfill students’ science needs, whether for graduation requirements or to meet CSU/UC requirements, we recognize the importance of exciting their interest with curiosity, and build and sustain their science knowledge by a scientific inquiry approach.  Science is experimental by nature and inherently involves experimentation in the classroom.  Each of our science educators values the laboratory experience for each student and tries to enrich learning with a minimum of one lab per week.  Each instructor believes it is vital to a student’s success in science to have the opportunity for a hands-on approach in the lab. We believe science education goes further than the regurgitation of facts, figures, and word meanings. Our students must understand the process of scientific discovery and its effects on society. A successful science program should insure that all students see the need for competency in science and understand that science is a tool for solving everyday problems.

Specifically, our science program science program will ask each student to meet the following criteria:

  • The student will learn the ability to observe natural phenomena objectively and draw conclusions from these observations.
  • Each student will learn to think with a logical, critical, creative, and independent
  • The student will have an understanding of the process of science and its use as a tool to help solve personal and societal problems.
  • The student will have an understanding and appreciation of our limited natural environment and a concern for its protection and future.
  • The student will develop a comprehensive scientific background necessary to function in a rational and intelligent manner.
  • The student will build a body of science knowledge
  • The student will begin to integrate science, technology, and society.
  • The student will have an understanding of the interdependence of science with mathematics and the humanities.
  • The student will develop their pathway towards a becoming a life-long learners and make meaningful contributions to society, and they must not only learn and understand science but also must do science.

SCIENCE DEPARTMENT STAFF 2018-2019

Mr. Daniel Johnson – Science Department Chair / Biology teacher 
Mr. Tony Varesio – Biology and Sports Anatomy Teacher
Mrs. Jane Burns – Biology and Sports Anatomy Teacher
Mrs. Michelle Mensinger – Biology Teacher
Mrs. Heather Miles – Biology Teacher
Ms. Ginny Torkelson – Chemistry Teacher
Mrs. Sujata Jadhav – Chemistry & Engineering Teacher
Mrs. Rachel Silva – Chemistry Teacher
Mr. Randolph Walters – Chemistry & Engineering Teacher
Mrs. Kakali Tripathi  – Physics Teacher

Supplies

SCIENCE THOUGHTS!

7 Myths About High School Physics
http://www.aps.org/programs/education/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=235197

1. Physics will lower students’ GPAs and hurt their chances of getting into college.
FACT: Colleges want to see that students have taken a challenging curriculum, and a B in physics is often better than an A in a less challenging course.

“ College admission is never just about the GPA. A transcript with physics is better than one without it.” –Vikki Otero, Senior Assistant Director, University of Colorado Admissions Office

2. Students won’t miss out on future opportunities or experiences if they don’t take physics.
FACT: Physics answers questions about the world that no other field can. In addition, not taking physics closes doors to a huge number of potential careers.

 

3. Only the most mathematically advanced students can handle physics.

FACT: Physics can be taught at a variety of levels for students with different mathematical backgrounds.

 

4. Physics is for boys.
FACT: Over 600,000 girls take high school physics each year, nearly half of the nation’s enrollment.

 

5. Students don’t need to take physics in high school because they can just take it in college.
FACT: Research shows that students who have taken high school physics do better in college physics courses, and are more likely to graduate from college.

 

6. Physics knowledge has little relevance to the world we live in or to most jobs.

FACT: Physics is fundamental to every other science and to most major technological innovations of the past century. Moreover, physics teaches critical thinking and problem solving skills that are useful no matter what a student goes on to do.

 

7. The only careers you can have with a physics degree are to be a professor or teach high school.

FACT: Physics opens doors to a wide variety of excellent careers. Physics majors have high employment rates and are among the best paid of all college graduates.


Hello Science Students and Parents/Guardians,

During this wonderful time of year, a time of giving, doing special things for one another, preparing extra touches for family and firends, I am asking each of us to come together to make a difference in person’s life. I am requesting you to take a moment to think about this during this holiday season.  I am asking you to think about doing 26 acts of kindness.  This is one act of kindness each day for the 26 lives that were lost in Connecticut on December 14.  

While our hearts are filled with sadness and broken for the lives that were lost as the little ones went to school, and ordinary day for each student, chattered and destroyed by a senseless act.  I for one can’t make sense of it, but I can do something.  I can be kind to 26 strangers, one each day, to help bring a little joy in someone’s life. One act of kindness to honor each of the lives that were lost.  You can make a difference – to make the world a better place.  Won’t you join me?

The act of kindness can be any little jesture:
* letting someone in front of you at the grocery line
*  paying the toll bridge for someone behind you,
*offering an apple to a person who needs a little treat in the afternoon,
* offer to drive someone’s child home from practice,
* read a book to a child,
* make cupcakes and give them to a nearby church, school office staff,
* put flowers on a teacher’s desk,
*sit by a student who seems to be alone,
* turn to the person next to you to greet them,
* help an elderly person put their * groceries in the car,
* leave a small gift on a doorstep of a neighbor’s house,
* return the shopping cart to the store,
* smile at someone & say Good Morning,
* Be nice to someone who is not so nice,
* tip the waiter/waitress a little more this holiday season
* buy a gas card for a family who may be struggling financially
* help clean someone’s house (aunt’s house, grandmother, etc)
* rake the leaves of a neighbors yard
* babysit for free
* ask a neighbor “do you need anything at the store”
* help take care of your neighbors pets while they are visiting family for free
* buy extra socks for the homeless
* play the piano at a convalence home
* walk a senior citizen’s dog
* write a note to a teacher to thank them for the endless time & effort to prepare an awesome lesson, 
* give a friend in need a few extra dollars (anonomously of course), donate a coat to a shelter, 
* purchase toiletries (comb/brush, toothpaste, brush, lotion, etc) and wrap it up to give to a shelter,
* bring an extra pencil to school for someone who forgot theirs, are you good at math or science – volunteer to help someone who is struggling (ask your teacher to help you), 
* can you speak another language – help a student by translating their native language to English, 
* buy school supplies for students who can’t afford it, and give it to your favorite teacher to distribute it.

As you can see the list can be endless.  Please try to make a conscience effort to do one act of kindness each day.Good wishes each of you & your families and may you have a wonderful holiday season!  


Current Science News

SCIENCE NEWS
MAGAZINE OF THE SOCIETY FOR SCIENCE & THE PUBLIC
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/346135/description/Beginnings_of_Bionic

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Students must graduate from NMHS with a minimum of two courses of science (a physical and life science class).  To prepare students for a 4-year college entrance, students should take three years of science for CSU, and it is recommended taking 4 years of science for a UC.  The approved pathway is the following:

FRESHMAN SOPHOMORE JUNIOR SENIOR
Earth Science
NMHS graduation approved
College Elective credits
CP BIOLOGY
UC/CSU approved -LIFE
CP CHEMISTRY
UC/CSU approved -PHYSICAL
CHEM COMM
UC/CSU approved – PHYSICAL
BIOTECHNOLOGY
UC/CSU approved Science Elective
Anatomy & Physiology
UC/CSU approved Science Elective
Anatomy & Physiology
UC/CSU approved Science Elective
AP BIOLOGY
UC/CSU approved Science Elective
AP CHEMISTRY
UC/CSU approved Science Elective
BIOTECHNOLOGY
UC/CSU approved Science Elective
BIOTECH–CHEMISTRY
UC/CSU approved – PHYSICAL
Marine Biology
Science Elective
PHYSICS and
PHYSICS-HONORS
UC/CSU approved –PHYSICAL
CP BIOLOGY
UC/CSU approved -LIFE
CP CHEMISTRY
UC/CSU approved -PHYSICAL
CHEM COMM
UC/CSU approved – PHYSICAL
BIOTECHNOLOGY
UC/CSU approved Science Elective
 Anatomy & Physiology
UC/CSU approved Science Elective
AP BIOLOGY
UC/CSU approved Science Elective
AP CHEMISTRY
UC/CSU approved Science Elective
BIOTECHNOLOGY
UC/CSU approved Science Elective
BIOTECH–CHEMISTRY
UC/CSU approved – PHYSICAL
Marine Biology
Science Elective
PHYSICS and
PHYSICS-HONORS
UC/CSU approved –PHYSICAL
UC/CSU approved Science Elective

 

SCIENCE PATHWAY grades 9-12.

Science Courses

SCIENCE SEQUENCE OF COURSES

9th Grade 10th Grade 11th Grade 12th Grade
LIFE

SCIENCE

CP BIOLOGY

 

 

 

 

PHYSICAL SCIENCE

CP Chemistry – or-

Chemistry in

the Community

2. Biotechnology
Elective science

 

SCIENCE ELECTIVES

Anatomy & Physiology

Biotechnology

Physics

Physics Honors

 

SCIENCE ELECTIVES

Anatomy & Physiology

Biotechnology

Physics

Physics Honors

TRADTIONAL PATHWAY

Biology CP

TRADITIONAL PATHWAY

CP Chemistry

SCIENCE ELECTIVE

Anatomy Physiology

or Physics

or Physics (H)

or Biology AP

or Chemistry AP

or Biotechnology

SCIENCE ELECTIVE

Anatomy Physiology

or Physics

or Physics (H)

or Biology AP

or Biotechnology

Integrated Earth, Life and Physical Science (IEP)  —- Discontinued 2012/2013

Grades:  9                  1 Year  Course #3315 – Credits: 10 Science
Description:  Earth Science is an inquiry-approach standards-based course that will meet the California High School content standards.  Students in Earth Science will study its place in the universe.  Students will study the four major branches of Earth-Science:  geology, meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy.  Many of the concepts are developed through laboratory experiments, teacher-directed lessons, peer collaboration time, group teamwork, independent study time, and multimedia applications.  This course must be passed in order to enroll in Chem/Comm in the junior year.

Biology CP—9th grade only  —- Discontinued 2012/2013
Grade:  9                1 Year                      Course #3349 – Credits: 10 Science
Prerequisite:  Recommendation of instructor
Description:  This course is intended for the college-bound student.

Biology CP
Grades:  9-12                       1 Year     Course #3352 – Credits: 10 Science

Prerequisite: none.
Description:  This course meets theUC/CSU “A-G: requirements.

Biology AP
Grades:  11-12              1 Year              Course #3359 – Credits: 10 Science

Prerequisite:  B or better in both CP Biology and CP Chemistry and both instructors’ recommendations.
Description:  Strong written and oral communication skills are highly recommended along with good homework practices.  An interview with the AP Bio teacher may be required prior to the school year.  Students enrolled in this class are expected to take the AP test.

Astronomy, Aeronautic, Rocketry
Grade:  10-12             1 year  Course #3442 – Credits: 10 Elective

Description:  This course will provide students with a hands-on, inquiry based overview of astronomy, rocketry, aeronautics and spacecraft technology, where learning will be an active process.  Students will design, build and launch model rockets.  Technology utilized in this course will be model rockets with flight computers, full functioning computerized weather station, telescope with GPS and CCD imager.

Marine Biology
Grades:  10-12           1 Year Course #3433 – Credits: 10 Elective

Description:  This course will provide students with a hands-on, project- based overview of marine biology.  Students will dissect numerous marine organisms and have the opportunity for hands-on field experience in San Francisco Bay and marine ecosystems.  Students will maintain on-site aquariums.  This course is currently listed in the UC A-G system as “g” College Prep Elective.  A change to “d” Lab Science is pending.

Chemistry
Grade:  10-11             1 Year Course #3353 – Credits:  10 Science
Prerequisite:  Completion of Biology CP with a minimum grade of C; current science instructor’s recommendation.  Co-requisite:  Concurrently enrolled in Advanced Algebra.
Description:  This course is the college prep chemistry course and is a pre-requisite for Biology AP.  It is designed for Students intending to major in science, technology, math or engineering at the college level.

Chemistry in the Community
Grades:  10-12           1 Year Course #3314 – Credits:  10 Science

Prerequisite:  Completion of General Biology with a minimum grade of C or successful completion of CP Biology.
Description:  This course is a non-mathematical approach to understanding the principles of chemistry.  The course is designed for students intending to major in non-science disciplines at the college level.

Chemistry AP
Grades:  11-12           1 Year Course #3357 – Credits:  10 Science

Prerequisite:  B or better in both CP Biology and CP Chemistry and both instructors’ recommendations.
Description:  Strong written and oral communication skills are highly recommended along with good organizational and homework practices.  An interview with the AP Chemistry teacher may be required prior to the school year.  Students enrolled in this class are expected to take the AP test.

Anatomy and Physiology
Grades:  11-12           1 Year Course #3356 – Credits: 10 Science

Prerequisite:  Completion of Chemistry or Chemistry in the Community with a minimum grade of C. Current science instructor’s recommendation.

Physics
Grades:  11-12           1 Year Course #3354 – Credits:  10 Science

Prerequisite:  Completion of Chemistry or Chemistry in the Community with a minimum grade of C. Current science instructor’s recommendation.
Description:  A conceptual, less mathematical course than Physics Honors that covers Newtonian mechanics, sound and light waves, and electricity.

Physics Honors
Grades:  11-12           1 Year Course #3360 – Credits:  10 Science

Prerequisite:  Completion of Chemistry and Math Analysis Honors with a minimum grade of C. Current science instructor’s recommendation.
Description:  A rigorous physics class with a more mathematical emphasis.  Covers Newtonian mechanics, sound and light waves, and electricity.

Biotechnology
Grades:  11-12           1 Year Course #3366 – Credits: 10 Science

Prerequisite:  Completion of General Biology, CP Biology, or Physics with a minimum grade of C. Current science instructor’s recommendation.
Description:  This course is an introduction to biotechnology and the biotech industry.  Students will study safety procedures, prepare stock-solutions, identify microorganisms, and perform experiments with cultures and DNA.  This course is strongly recommended if student is planning a career in the biotech industry.  Concurrent enrollment in Ohlone College Personal Development course (.5 units) is required.  Requires interview with NMHS instructor and Ohlone College lab instructor prior to taking the class.

Tourism
Grades:  9-12             1 Year Course #9869 – Credits: 10 Elective

Description:  This class trains students to operate and maintain the marine and astronomy science center.  Students will learn to greet the public and teach them about the exhibits.  They learn to care for marine sharks, fish, and tide pool animals.  Students also learn marketing skills in the gift shop.  This class leads to the Docents class where students teach visiting elementary students about the wonders in the universe and under the sea.

Docents in Science/Technology
Grades:  9-12             1 Year Course #9870 – Credits:  10 Elective
Prerequisite:  Passing Tourism with a C or better and instructor’s approval.
Description:  Students will develop presentation skills as they train to become docents for the Marine Science and Technology Institute (MaST).  They will learn about the various exhibits including the 1000 gallon shark tank and the planetarium.  Students will explain exhibits to visiting 3rd and 4th grade students and learn how to maintain a major science center.  This class offers a great opportunity to earn community service hours during docent presentations.  It also offers college bound students with service experience to include in their college application