An independent Catholic school for young women in grades 7-12

Science

Intellectual curiosity is a hallmark of an Ursuline student.  Asking “why” is at the heart of the study of science, and at Ursuline, students engage in the major scientific disciplines as well as enjoy the opportunity to explore other areas of science through an array of electives. Teachers rely on a variety of teaching methods to engage scientific inquiry, utilizing Ursuline’s well-equipped laboratory spaces to encourage exploration.  Technology such as virtual reality is seamlessly incorporated to yield additional experiences that transcend the physical space, and students work together to develop collaborative strategies for design and problem-solving. Students graduate from Ursuline with a firm base of knowledge, in addition to critical thinking skills and analytical skills deepened through experimentation.

 

 

Science Classes

Life Science

Seventh grade students study living organisms and how they survive, building a strong foundation in  fundamental principles and concepts  of the natural world. Students work with a variety of topics they will engage in depth in upper school, including cells, human anatomy and physiology, genetics, and ecology. (Grade 7)

Physical Science

In Physical Science, eighth grade students learn the fundamental principles of chemistry and physics including the properties and classification of matter, atomic structure, elements and compounds, chemical bonding and reactions, motion, force, simple machines, and energy. Through inquiry-based learning principles and active design, students have a variety of opportunities to demonstrate their mastery of these concepts. (Grade 8)

Biology

This course, designed to provide grade 9 students with active laboratory-based challenges, develops their understanding of the natural world through critical thinking skills and problem solving. Students learn about cell structure and function, biochemistry, metabolism, cell reproduction, animal and plant physiology, evolution, and genetics. At the end of the course students are able to synthesize the details of each topic into the larger conceptual framework of the biological world. (Grade 9)

Chemistry

“What if?” is an essential question in chemistry, and this course gives grade 10 students the opportunity to investigate fundamental concepts in the discipline. Topics include atomic structure, periodic law, chemical bonding and reactions, molecular geometry, stoichiometry, gas behavior, solutions, equilibrium, acids and bases, redox reactions, thermodynamics, and organic chemistry. In their weekly labs, students rely on analytical thinking strategies to take on the challenge of translating theoretical concepts into real world applications. (Grade 10)

Anatomy and Physiology

In this hands-on course, students study the anatomy and physiology of the human body comprehensively, learning anatomical terminology, biochemistry, nutrition, cells and tissues, homeostasis, the integumentary system and body membranes, and select systems. Through topics in this course, students recognize common human diseases and learn about the many career opportunities in the healthcare industry. Using microscopy and dissections of preserved specimens, students study physiological concepts through active experimentation, culminating in the dissection of a fetal pig so that students can synthesize their knowledge of all the various systems to show how they interact within an organism. (Grade 11 or 12)

Environmental Science

Focusing on the interaction between humans and the environment, students engage with topics such as over-fishing, coral bleaching, biodiversity, global climate change, human population growth, tropical deforestation, renewable vs. nonrenewable energy, and environmental disasters such as damage from oil spills and hurricanes. Students conduct field research on the Ursuline campus and participate in citizen science projects assisting scientists in their data collection. (Grade 11 or 12)

Physics

Critical thinking, mathematical problem solving, and laboratory investigation form foundational experiences in physics. Students develop a profound  analytical and quantitative skill set as they gain a deeper understanding of how the natural world works.  Physics includes the study of the universe from the largest galaxies to the smallest subatomic particles and includes motion, force, energy, and waves. Students apply their theoretical knowledge through demonstrations, experimentation and laboratory work. (Grade 11 or 12)

AP Biology

This College Board-approved course is equivalent to a two-semester college introductory biology course and as such moves at a rigorous pace.  Lecture and laboratory work supplement the student’s significant independent learning about molecules and cells, heredity and evolution, and organisms and populations. The laboratory component of the course challenges students to think analytically and to develop their ability to interpret data. Students enrolled in this course are well-prepared to succeed on the AP biology examination. (Grade 11 or 12)

AP Chemistry

Approved by the College Board, this course is equivalent to a two-semester college introductory chemistry course. To be successful in this fast-paced course, students should be independent learners, understand the concepts presented in sophomore chemistry and employ excellent scientific reasoning skills. The course requires a conceptual approach to problem solving. Students enrolled in this course are well- prepared to succeed on the AP exam. (Grade 11 or 12)

Forensic Science

Forensics is a fast-paced and interesting field of study in the criminal justice system and popularized by TV series such as NCIS and others, which involve cases using scientific evidence to investigate crimes.  Students enrolled in this course will focus on the science of gathering and processing evidence such as hair and fiber analysis, fingerprints, DNA analysis and blood spatter/analysis to solve crimes. Students work actively in this class as investigators and augment lectures, reading, case activities, and video presentations with real-world projects. (Grade 11 or 12)

 

Meet Our Faculty

John Andersen

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Jennifer Brown

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Kellynd Graham

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Elizabeth Mathew

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Terri Schneider

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