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Math & Science Classes
This course is the foundation for all math that you will learn in high school. From real numbers and radicals to proportions and polynomials, the skills you learn in this class will serve you in all future math and many science courses.
This course is designed to develop students’ deductive reasoning skills through the study of spatial relationships. An emphasis is placed on proof. Topics include introductory terminology, segments and angles, triangle congruency, parallel lines, quadrilaterals, similarity, circles, area and volume. Occasionally we will take advantage of the campus and farm for “geometry in real life” activities.
Advanced Algebra continues and expands on concepts taught in Algebra I and Geometry. Advanced Algebra covers the following topics: functions and graphs, systems of linear equations, polynomials, quadratic equations, inequalities, exponents and radicals, exponential and logarithmic functions, rational expressions, sequences and series, and trigonometric functions. Students will become proficient in the use of algebraic expressions and sentences to model real-world situations.
Students entering Pre-Calculus should have a thorough grounding in high school algebra, geometry and right-triangle trigonometry. However, this background is not sufficient to begin studying Calculus or other higher-level mathematics courses. In particular, students have likely had little or no exposure to logarithms, advanced trigonometry, polar coordinates, parametric equations, conic sections, probability, and some advanced topics like the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra.
Students develop skills that will allow them to gather, organize, display, and summarize data. They should be able to draw conclusions or make predictions from the data and assess the relative chances for certain events happening. Topics include: descriptive statistics, basic probability and distribution of random variables, estimation and hypothesis tests for means and proportions, regression and correlation, analysis of count data.
AP Calculus is a college-level mathematics course and the expectations for students are extremely high. Students will explore the following concepts: limits and continuity; differentiation and its application, including extrema and related rates; differential equations and slope fields.
The study of life is a study of how millions of different types of living things survive on this planet. In many ways the strategies are the same for all organisms and so we will study what unifies all life forms — the workings of cells and the mechanics of heredity. But it’s also true that different species have very different approaches to survival and so we will study how such diversity of life has arisen and how different species interact with units about evolution and ecology. Principles we study in the classroom will be illustrated in the fields, streams, woods, and farmland surrounding Olney.
Physics is the study of matter and energy, and how they interact. Like other sciences, physics is based on the assumption that rules govern the way the universe behaves. Testing the world with repeatable methods will yield predictable results, which allow us to describe those rules that govern our universe. Conceptual Physics is a non-mathematical approach to the topic, intended to make connections in your mind between what you study and your everyday world. Conceptual Physics requires basic algebra skills, but most often you will learn by describing physical phenomena with words, as well as observing both real-world and digital demonstrations. Hands-on and electronic labs will allow active exploration of the topics you learn.
Chemistry deals with the composition of matter and the changes that matter undergoes. The goal of this course is to provide students with a core foundation in understanding the principles of chemistry, to help develop critical thinking skills, and to relate learning to your lives. This is a laboratory-based and project-based course. My role will be as a guide for the journey, a facilitator, an events planner, and occasionally a source of information. Other sources of information will be the textbook, charts and diagrams, videos, and internet sources selected by the guide and by you.
Environmental Science is a culminating science course at Olney. Following Conceptual Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, it draws on and expands the students’ knowledge in these disciplines. Yet, our study of the environment is even more interdisciplinary than that. Students learn of the interplay among economics, politics, ethics, and the sciences. They learn that solutions to environmental problems are simple and straightforward – until the human element is taken into consideration.
A chief goal of this course is that the student gains greater awareness of how fragile is the “human niche” in the web of life and of how their daily actions affect the environment. We will take advantage of our own local environment to illustrate ecological principles and to research solutions to environmental problems. In early May, selected students will have the opportunity to compete in Ohio’s Envirothon.
AP Physics: Mechanics
The AP Physics C course covers topics typically found in a first-year introductory college physics course and advances the student’s understanding of concepts normally covered in high school physics. AP Physics C Part I covers Newtonian Mechanics in depth. It provides a solid preparation for the AP Physics C Mechanics exam. Topics of study in mechanics include: kinematics, Newton’s laws of motion, work and energy and power, systems of particles and linear momentum, circular motion and rotation, and oscillations and gravitation. Laboratory work is an integral component of this course. Students will learn the applications for the material being studied in Calculus. Students must have completed or be enrolled in AP Calculus to enroll in this course. This course will prepare students to take the Advanced Placement Exam, by which students may earn up to one year of college credit.
AP Physics: Electricity and Magnetism
AP Physics C Part II includes topics of study in electricity and magnetism. Topic areas include: electrostatics, conductors and capacitors and dielectrics, electric circuits, magnetic fields, and electromagnetism. Laboratory work is an integral component of this course. To enroll in AP Physics C Part II, students must have successfully completed AP Calculus.