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Advanced Physics | Forms V and VI Trimester Elective Track
The Upper School science programbuilds upon the foundation provided by science studies in the Lower and Middle schools. The Upper School student has gained competence in the use of the basic tools of science and is able to employ a variety of scientificmethods to answer questions about events in the world around him. Experimental skills developed prior to Form III are used extensively in laboratory investigations. Data analysis skills are expanded to exploit statistical analysis strategies, such as functional regressions and standard deviations. Practical applications of science, such as environmental sustainability, bioethics, engineering projects, and alternative fuels, are explored in every course.
Following completion of the Upper School science requirement, students should be able to organize and master a large amount of information. They should be able to pose questions to serve as the basis for an investigation, carry out an experiment to find out more about the object of the inquiry, and write a report which presents findings and suggests avenues for future experimentation and research.
Browning’s membership in the Black Rock Forest Consortium provides an excellent resource for science studies as well as an opportunity for interdisciplinary work.
This required Form III laboratory science course is a survey of molecular biology, patterns of inheritance, and human genetics, concluding with a rigorous analysis of invertebrate and vertebrate organisms. Laboratory investigations are used as critical learning tools. The year concludes with an individualized science investigation at Black Rock Forest, which serves as an excellent laboratory for students to examine data and make sound inferences. Text: Glencoe Science, Biology, The Dynamics of Life.
This Form IV and Form V experimental science course is most often used to fulfill the second laboratory science graduation requirement. It covers atomic structure and bonding, properties of matter, solutions and solubility, chemical equilibrium, energy transfer in chemical reactions, acids and bases, ionic equilibrium, and organic chemistry. Text: Wilbraham, et al., Chemistry.
This Form IV course is a survey of topics, including mechanics, energy and heat, electricity, magnetism, and sound and light. The course will focus on a solid understanding of the concepts involved in each topic as well as reinforcing solving algebraic problems solving skills. Text: Hewitt, Conceptual Physics.
This Form V and VI course is frequently taken as a third laboratory science course for students who want a strong science background. The course covers mechanics, Newton’s laws, momentum and energy, thermodynamics, waves, optics, electricity, and magnetism using algebra and trigonometry on a regular basis. A strong experimental component weaves through the entire course. Text: Zitzewitz, Physics: Principles and Problems.
Focusing on one or more topics, this course for students in Form V and VI examines the complex interaction between science and society. Recent topics have included: Politics, Education, and the Media; Technology in the U.S. West; and Communications Technologies and the Nature of Complex Systems. Texts and readings vary depending on the topic.
This an advanced course extends the depth of mechanics topics studied in introductory courses and broadens the perspective with additional topics selected from thermodynamics, special relativity, nuclear physics, fluid mechanics, optics, and quantum physics. Calculus tools are used periodically and are reviewed as needed. Outstanding performance in physics or conceptual physics is a prerequisite, and calculus is a corequisite. Text: Tipler, Physics.
The Environment of New York City
This course uses environmental case studies in and around New York City as springboards to studying global environmental concerns. Beginning with a thorough investigation of past and current environmental issues, students will look into ecological threats faced by New York City. Case studies that will be examined include pollution in Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal, issues in global warming, and the relationship between food production and the environment. The course will emphasize our role as citizens, not only of New York City, but also the world.
Anatomy and Physiology
This course is an introduction to the study of human anatomy and physiology, focusing on the skeletal, muscular, neurological and digestive systems. How these systems impact our lives through physical movement, as well as through disease, is essential to our understanding of our selves. Lab work will include a detailed mammal dissection, investigations of the role of enzymes, and the physiology of muscle fatigue and oxygen debt. Students will submit research papers based on clinical studies of a disease of the systems studied over the course of the trimester.
The Dynamic Earth
This course is an introduction to the geological history of the State of New York and will provide students with a context for exploring the implications of New York’s geology on the region as a whole and on New York City in particular. In this course we will examine how New York’s geology has impacted historical and current city planning. Why, for example, in Manhattan are there concentrations of tall buildings in some areas and not in others? Why are some subway lines so circuitous? Is it likely for an earthquake to occur in New York City? This course will include standard geological lab identifications, experiments and field trips to local sites of geological significance.
The course focuses on the science applied to determine the details of a crime scene. Students will investigate and test different components of a typical crime scene, including hair and fiber analysis, blood typing, fingerprinting, protein electrophoresis, blood splatter analysis, bullet trajectory, and anthropologic analysis of bones. This course will study and employ a variety of techniques and analytical methods used in criminal investigations with the goal of proving arguments in court. Activities and experiments are primary components of this course.
This course is designed as an introduction to marine biology with an emphasis on the specific study of the Atlantic Ocean, including tides, water composition, bacteria and algae, stinging cell animals, worms, soft-bodied animals, fishes, reptiles, pelagic birds, and marine mammals. Students will examine how global warming is specifically impacting the Atlantic Ocean. Lab activities will include the chemical analysis of a saltwater aquarium, dissolved oxygen measurements, bacteria analysis, diving response, and dissections of marine mollusks, dogfish and sea anemone.
The island of Manhattan is surrounded by bodies of water, all of which have been used and abused in some way. This course uses basic principles in hydrogeology (including topics such as groundwater structure, the water cycle, and water resource management) to examine issues with the water in and around New York City, and to compare our resources with other parts of the country. Students will undertake the task of testing water quality in various bodies of water (including the Hudson and East Rivers, and natural ponds in Central Park). Additionally, students will investigate natural water resources available to New Yorkers, the history of their creation, and how to be a part of their conservation.