Science

Philosophy

The Upper School science program builds upon the foundation provided 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 scientific methods to answer questions about events in the world around him. Experimental skills developed prior to Form III are used extensively in laboratory and field-based investigations. Data analysis skills are expanded in the Upper School to exploit statistical analysis strategies, such as functional regressions, standard deviations, and chi-squared test. Practical applications of science, such as environmental sustainability, bioethics, engineering projects 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 as the basis for an investigation, carry out an experiment to confirm or refute their hypothesis, and write a report that presents their 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 opportunities for interdisciplinary work.

Biology
This required Form III laboratory and field-based science course is a survey of molecular biology, patterns of inheritance, evolution and natural selection. Laboratory investigations and recently published scientific papers are used as critical learning tools. The field work component of this class consists of a learning abroad trip to the Island School in the Bahamas where students will study marine tropical ecology and sustainability. They will produce a report and a presentation on their findings to share with Form II in preparation for their trip the next year. They will conclude the year learning about the human body systems through the investigations of diseases.

Chemistry IV
Chemistry IV is an experimental science course providing a robust foundation for the subsequent Advanced Chemistry course. It covers atomic structure and bonding, properties of matter, stoichiometry, solutions and solubility, chemical equilibrium, thermodynamics, acids and bases, and ionic equilibrium. There is a large component of the mathematics of chemistry that run through all topics in the second semester, which emphasizes a strong integration of algebraic problem- solving skills. The laboratory portion of this course is focused on the hands- on application of the topics covered in class. Students will produce several full-length laboratory reports throughout the year that will require independent research and critical thinking. Text: Wilbraham, et al., Chemistry.

Classical Physics
This Form V and VI course is frequently taken as the third laboratory science course for students who want a strong science background. This is a biannual course that runs alternatively to Modern Physics. This is a survey course covering mechanics, Newton’s laws, momentum and energy, thermodynamics, waves and electricity using algebra and trigonometry on a regular basis. A strong experimental component weaves through the entire course. Students who complete both Classical and Modern Physics during their Junior and Senior years will have the necessary knowledge to continue to pursue an education in physics in college. Text: Zitzewitz, Physics: Principles and Problems; Glencoe

Modern Physics
This Form V and VI course is the alternative course to Classical Physics and focuses on modern advancements and discoveries in physics. This survey course covers topics including optics, electromagnetism, nuclear physics, relativity and the standard model. Students will investigate these phenomena using in-class experiments, online simulations and engineering-based projects. Students who complete both Classical and Modern Physics during Forms V and VI will have the necessary knowledge to continue to pursue an education in physics in college.
Text: Zitzewitz, Physics: Principles and Problems; Glencoe

Advanced Physics 1
This form V and VI course is equivalent of the first semester of an introductory college-level course on algebra-based physics, covering the topics of Newtonian mechanics; work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sound; and introductory, simple circuits. At the end of this course, students are expected to take the AP Physics 1 exam. Outstanding performance in Algebra is a prerequisite. 
Text: Knight, College Physics: A strategic approach;4th edition, Pearson.

Advanced Physics 2
This Form VI course is equivalent to the second semester of an introductory college-level course on algebra-based physics, covering the topics of fluids; thermodynamics; electric circuits; magnetism and electromagnetic induction; geometric and physical optics; and quantum, atomic, and nuclear physics. At the end of this course, students are expected to take the AP Physics 2 exam. Outstanding performance in Advanced Physics 1 is a prerequisite.
Text: Knight, College Physics: A strategic approach;4th edition, Pearson.

Advanced Chemistry
The pace and content level is comparable to college-level General Chemistry 1 and 2, thus the course extends the conceptual foundation provided in Chemistry IV. Advanced chemistry presents more sophisticated analytical laboratory methods as well as delves more deeply into atomic theory, chemical and molecular bonding, states of matter, chemical reactions, thermodynamics, and nuclear chemistry. Parallels will be drawn to the AP Chemistry curriculum and at the end of this course, students should be able to take the AP Chemistry test. Students interested in taking the class will be expected to have maintained a B+ average in Math and at least an A- in Form IV Chemistry. If taken in Form VI, a placement test will be required. Text: Brown, et al. Chemistry: The Central Science

Independent Study in Science
Working with an internal or external mentor a student may select an area of science specialization (such as engineering or biomedical research), explore it in depth and conduct independent research. This course often entails independent completion of online courses offered by colleges such as M.I.T. or Stanford University. Approval for an independent study is contingent on student course load, availability of mentors, and demonstrated strength and interest in science.

Advanced Genetic Research
This science elective course is offered to students in Forms V and VI. The goal of this course is for students to experience scientific research as scientists do. Students will read and analyze scientific articles, learn the basics of molecular genetics and genomics, and design an original research project. They will also present the results of their work at the DNA Barcoding symposium organized by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and submit their written work for publication.