Grade 9 Biology

Course Description:

Biology is the study of living organisms. This course examines living systems at several levels. We begin at the molecular level, by investigating the chemical and physical properties of substances that are essential to the sustenance of life, beginning with the most important: water. Students learn about the four major types of organic compounds, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. We then study the structure and function of cells. Students prepare microscope slides and examine various types of cells, using examples from all 5 kingdoms of organisms. Students learn how cells bring in the substances they need, using such processes as diffusion, osmosis and active transport. We then discuss the Cell Growth Cycle and the processes of mitosis, DNA replication, transcription and translation. This is followed by an introduction to Genetics, using the experiments of Gregor Mendel to illustrate the basic mechanisms of genetic inheritance. We extend our study into cases of multiple alleles, co-dominance and polygenes.

The second semester begins with students investigating topics in the fast-developing field of biotechnology, and presenting their analyses. We then explore the diversity of living organisms, and how populations of organisms interact with each other and the environment. The effects of biotic and abiotic factors on populations will be investigated. For our final topic, students will analyze two complex biochemical processes that are essential to life, cell respiration and photosynthesis.

Units:

  • The Chemistry of Life
  • Cell Structure and Function
  • Cell Growth and Division
  • Ecology and the Diversity of Life
  • Photosynthesis and Cell Respiration
  • Genetics and Biotechnology

Skills and Understandings:

Students will understand that:

 

  • Over a million different substances have been identified, yet water stands out as a substance with a unique combination of properties. These properties are considered crucial to the sustenance of life itself. The elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur combine to form three important classes of organic molecules: carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. Each class of compound has different functions, determined by their structure.
  • All organisms are composed of cells, of which there are two types: the basic prokaryotic cell of bacteria, and the eukaryotic cell of all other organisms. All cells have one or more chromosomes, ribosomes, and cytoplasm surrounded by a membrane. Eukaryotic cells have additional specialized organelles. Materials are moved into and out of a cell by both active and passive transport.
  • Organisms vary in size from microscopic to enormous, yet the cells they are composed of are all about the same size, due to the metabolic requirements of cells. In order for an organism to grow, its cells must divide. In all eukaryotes, cell division begins with mitosis. Eukaryotic chromosomes are composed of DNA and histone proteins. The DNA nucleotide sequences are codes for the immense variety of proteins produced by the ribosomes.
  • All somatic cells contain a complete set of genes, consisting of homologous pairs of chromosomes. Sex cells (gametes) are produced by meiosis, and they contain only half the usual number of chromosomes. Sexual reproduction is the fusion of two gametes, producing a cell with a complete set of chromosomes, half from the male and half from the female. Recent advances in biotechnology have created numerous applications, which were considered "science fiction" by previous generations. These include in vitro fertilization, genetically modified organisms, cloning, and DNA profiling. The impact of these technologies on society must be considered.
  • The organic compounds necessary for life are produced in plants by specialized organelles called chloroplasts, using the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis occurs in two stages, the light reactions and the dark reactions. The light reactions use light energy to split water molecules and make ATP. The dark reactions use energy from ATP to fix carbon from carbon dioxide into sugars.
  • Cell respiration releases energy from food to make ATP, which provides energy for metabolism. Anaerobic respiration occurs in the cytoplasm, and produces a small amount of ATP. Aerobic respiration occurs in mitochondria, and produces a large amount of ATP.
  • All communities of organisms depend on energy from the Sun, which is passed from producers to consumers and decomposers. This energy is ultimately degraded to heat, which radiates from Earth into space. Communities rely on the recycling of nutrients in order to sustain life. Many ecosystems can be classified by type as a biome, which shares specific characteristics with other ecosystems, e.g. desert and tropical rainforest. New species arise through the process of evolution through natural selection.

This course upholds the KAS Mission Statement by:

  • Raising students’ awareness of the impact of the human race on the lives of all other organisms, and on our environment. Human population is rapidly increasing, and resource demand is rising even faster.
  • Fostering a sense of community among our students. By becoming more aware of the impact of people on the environment, students are encouraged be global citizens.

 

Grade 10 Chemistry

Course Description:

In this course, students will first study the structure of the atom. They then learn how to use the Periodic Table to determine the formulas of ionic compounds of the main group elements, transition metals and polyatomic ions. They will study how the distribution of electrons changes when chemical bonds are broken and formed. Students will use stoichiometry to determine the molar quantities of reactants and products of chemical reactions. They will investigate the behavior of gases in terms of the kinetic energy of particles, and learn how to calculate molar quantities of gases.

In the second semester, students will construct galvanic cells to convert chemical energy into electricity. They will learn about important applications of electrochemistry, and how they are based on oxidation-reduction reactions. Students will learn about the factors that affect reactions in solution, using oxidation-reduction, acid-base and precipitation reactions to illustrate. Last, students will investigate aspects of organic chemistry, learning IUPAC naming of hydrocarbons, and examining how petroleum is refined and processed into useful chemicals. The two main methods of polymerization, addition and condensation, will be explained.

Units:

  • The Structure of the Atom
  • Compounds and Reactions
  • Stoichiometry
  • The Behavior of Gases
  • Reactions in Solution
  • Organic Chemistry

Skills and Understandings:

Students will understand that:

  • Each element has a unique nuclear charge and electron distribution. This combination gives rise to the chemistry of each element. The driving force behind all chemical reactions is to tendency to achieve a stable (low energy) distribution of electrons. This is best achieved by creating a filled electron shell (energy level).
  • Elements may form compounds by losing or gaining electrons. These are ionic compounds. Other elements form compounds by sharing electron pairs. These are covalent compounds. Whether elements will combine to form ionic or covalent compounds depends on which reaction will form the most stable electron distribution.
  • When a chemical reaction occurs, the molecules react in simple ratios. Chemists need to combine reactants in their proper proportions, according to the balanced equation for that reaction. Moles are used to relate the mass (in grams) of each reactant to the number of molecules of that reactant, preserving the correct proportions.
  • Particles in the solid or liquid state are packed close together, but in gases the particles are far apart due to their high kinetic energy. Gas pressure is directly proportional to its temperature in Kelvin, and inversely proportional to its volume. A specified volume of gas, at specified temperature and pressure, will contain the same number of gas particles, regardless of the makeup of the gas (helium, air, water vapor).
  • Chemical reactions that involve the transfer of electrons from one substance to another are classified as oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions. There are many important applications of these reactions, including batteries, electroplating and aluminum refining. Chemical reactions that involve the transfer of hydrogen ions from one substance to another are classified as acid-base reactions. These are very important in living systems as well as industry.
  • Chemical reactions that involve the transfer of electrons from one substance to another are classified as oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions. There are many important applications of these reactions, including batteries, electroplating and aluminum refining. Chemical reactions that involve the transfer of hydrogen ions from one substance to another are classified as acid-base reactions. These are very important in living systems as well as industry.

This course upholds the KAS Mission Statement by:

  • Giving students a fundamental understanding of matter and its interactions. This leads to a broad understanding of today’s world, and the problems that confront us.
  • Developing students’ critical thinking skills, enabling them to make informed decisions, and empowering our students to make positive changes worldwide.

 

Grade 11 Physics

Course Description:

This course begins with an introduction to Newtonian Mechanics, also known as “forces and motion”. Students will analyze graphs of distance vs. time and speed vs. time to determine physical quantities such as acceleration. Students will see how acceleration is produced by the interaction of forces, and they will investigate the effects of friction on motion. They will then learn the relationships between energy, work and power. Students will next study the behavior of objects in free-fall, followed by analysis of the motion of projectiles in two dimensions.

In the second semester, we will study uniform circular motion, whose laws dictate the motion of galaxies, planets and satellites. The principle of conservation of momentum and its significance will be discussed. Next, the surprising nature of electromagnetism and electromagnetic radiation will be examined, including the well-documented evidence for both wave and particle behavior. The final topic will be nuclear physics. Fusion, fission and nuclear decay will be studied. The evolution of the universe and the life cycle of stars will be discussed.

Units:

  • Forces and Motion
  • Gravity
  • Energy, Work and Power
  • Momentum and Uniform Circular Motion
  • Electromagnetism
  • Nuclear Physics

Skill and Understandings:

Students will understand that:

  • Velocity and acceleration are measures of the rate of change of displacement and velocity, respectively. Force, velocity and acceleration are vector quantities, having both a magnitude and a direction. If more than one force acts on an object, the resultant vector must be determined. If the resultant is zero, no acceleration will occur. In other words, for acceleration of an object to occur, a net force must act on the object.
  • The stars, planets and moons have a complex motion as observed from Earth. Newton's law of universal gravitation provided the basis to explain all observed motion, using a very simple equation. This discovery demonstrated the power of Science to explain previously mysterious phenomena. In a similar manner, Newton combined his own observations with those of Galileo to disprove Aristotle's explanations, and he constructed a simple explanation for the effect of forces on the motion of an object. Newton introduced the fundamental concept of inertia.
  • The Law of Conservation of Mechanical Energy can be used to predict the results of conversion of the two main forms of energy, potential and kinetic.
  • The Law of Conservation of Momentum states that momentum is conserved when objects interact in a closed system. This law may be used to determine the velocities of objects before and after they interact. The Law of Conservation of Momentum, when combined with Newton's law of universal gravitation, yields formulas used to calculate the motion of planets and satellites.
  • Electricity and magnetism, long thought to be separate phenomena, are now understood to be different aspects of the same basic force. Electromagnetic radiation (e.g. microwaves, visible light) demonstrates the properties of a wave without a medium to conduct it. This is unusual in itself, but further experiments also demonstrated that light acts as a particle. This wave-particle duality led to a major revision in our understanding of the nature of matter and energy: quantum mechanics.
  • The most powerful force known is the strong nuclear force. It holds the nucleus together, overcoming the mutual electrostatic repulsion of protons. When nuclear fusion or fission occur, the products will have a higher nuclear binding energy than the reactants. This will result in a loss of mass according to the formula E = mc2. When radioactive nuclei decay, the reaction will obey the laws of conservation of charge and mass number. The half-lives of certain radioactive isotopes are very useful tools for determining the age of artifacts.

This course upholds the KAS Mission statement by:

  • Helping students understand the fundamental nature of matter and energy, and the ways that they interact, from the subatomic level to the expansion of the Universe.
  • Allowing students to develop a rich and broad understanding of today’s world. Our society demands ever more resources and energy. The knowledge gained through this course can help students become critical thinkers, enabling them to make informed decisions, leading to positive changes in the world.

 

Grade 12 Physics

Course Description:

Physics is an algebra-based, introductory course to the Advance Placement Physics 1 and 2 courses that explore topics such as Newtonian mechanics (including rotational motion); work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sound; and introductory, simple circuits. Through inquiry-based learning, students will develop scientific critical thinking and reasoning skills.

Units:

  • Newtonian mechanics
  • Work, energy, and power
  • Mechanical waves and sound
  • Introductory, simple circuits
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Waves and optics
  • Nuclear physics

Skill and Understandings:

  • Students will understand how to use international measurement systems.
  • Students will develop their vocabulary
  • Students will build their critical thinking skills
  • Students will develop their understanding of machines, mechanical system, and the effects of technology.
  • Students will understand Newton’s law of universal gravitation and the mysterious phenomena in our universe to calculate the motion of planets and satellites.
  • Students will understand electricity and magnetism as phenomena and their uses.
  • Students will understand nuclear fission and Energy, Mass, and the speed of light.

This course upholds the KAS Mission statement by:

  • Encouraging collaboration between students. Students are encouraged to read, understand and analyze. They learn to be independent through their work and creativity.