Science


Our science courses give students the analytical tools to decipher our increasingly complex world. Through collaborative, hands-on work in all sciences, students learn to ask the important questions, design experiments and interpret results. Our work culminates each year in the Center 63 Science and Math Symposium, an event that requires students at all grade levels to present their work to their peers and teachers for review. Upperclassmen with a passion for science are encouraged to pursue Research Science Scholar opportunities off campus for credit.

Grade 9

  • Physics I: The science department believes that a firm understanding of the natural laws that govern the universe is essential to further studies in science. This is a conceptually and mathematically rigorous course that allows students to understand the principles that govern the phenomena they witness in their everyday lives. Extensive and original laboratory work forms a cornerstone of this course. Students explore the concepts of motion, forces, momentum, energy, static electricity, electric circuits, magnetism, and wave phenomena (sound and light).

Grade 10

  • Chemistry: Chemistry is a broad science. Knowledge and awareness of chemical principles are important in understanding other fields of science and touches on virtually every aspect of life. Chemistry is a subject that explains the fundamental principles involved in the study of matter; chemical equilibrium; acids and bases; oxidation-reduction reactions; kinetics and thermodynamics; and organic biochemistry. This course prepares the student for advanced study in chemistry. It also establishes a foundation for the understanding of the chemical principles which are especially applicable to the study of biology, the next course in the science sequence at Nichols. Prerequisite: Physics

Grade 11

  • Biology: The main topics covered in Biology are i.) Molecular and Cellular Biology, ii.) Genetics, iii.) Animal Structure and Function with an emphasis on Human Systems, iv.) Evolutionary Concepts, and v.) Plant Structure and Function. Laboratory exercises are designed to demonstrate the principles discussed in class. Additionally, labs provide the students with an opportunity to develop laboratory skills and to learn the use/application of scientific instruments. Prerequisite: Chemistry
  • AP Biology: This course follows the Advanced Placement biology curriculum. There are three major areas of study. In molecular and cellular biology, students study the chemical basis of biology, cell structure and function, enzymes, and energy transformations. In heredity and evolution, topics include basic heredity, molecular genetics and evolutionary biology. The organisms and populations unit includes species diversity, structure and function of plants and animals, and ecosystem structure and function. Laboratory work is an essential part of the course. Prerequisite: Chemistry and permission of the Department. The AP exam is a requirement of the course.

Science Electives

  • Physics II: In Physics I, students are introduced to physics as it was understood in 1900. This introduction provides the launching point for Physics II, in which students look into the marvelous and strange world of modern physics. This course is designed to combine a rigorous overview of core topics of physics with an exploration of the fascinating and counterintuitive discoveries of the last century. A review of motion sets the stage for the study of Special Relativity. A review of momentum and energy paves the way for the study of particle physics. A review of wave phenomena opens the door to mysteries of quantum mechanics. As time permits, other topics are explored as well. This course incorporates an extensive laboratory component. Prerequisite: Completion of the science graduation requirement.
  • AP Physics C: This course involves and advanced mathematical approach to physics. The content of the course follows the AP Physics C syllabus which is a calculus based program. Each year of this course alternates content and consists of either a full year of mechanics or one full year of electricity and magnetism. Concurrent registration or completion of AP Calculus BC is required. In rare cases, the Department Chair may also admit students registered for AP Calculus AB. Prerequisite: Completion of the science graduation requirement and permission of the Department. The AP exam is a requirement of the course.
  • AP Chemistry: This course is designed for students who have successfully completed one full year of chemistry and who have demonstrated excellent ability in the area of mathematics. It is the equivalent of a college freshman chemistry course. This course provides preparation for the Advanced Placement chemistry exam and for further scientific study at the college level. Laboratory work is a vital part of AP Chemistry. Prerequisite: Permission of the Department and completion of the science graduation requirement. The AP exam is a requirement of the course.
  • Anatomy and Physiology: Complete with clinical case studies and dissections, human anatomy and physiology examines both the structure and function of the human organ systems. The anatomy section of the course is interwoven with the physiology section so that the structure of body parts is related to the function of the body parts. Emphasizing relevance, each organ system is introduced with a clinical case study pertaining to a pathology of the system. Through lecture and laboratory work, the course explores the skeletal system, the muscular system, the nervous system, the circulatory system, the respiratory system, the digestive system and the renal system. Prerequisite: Completion of the science graduation requirement.
  • Introduction to Engineering I: This course is intended as a survey class for students that are interested in engineering. The content of the course draws from the diverse fields such as mechanical, civil, aeronautic, electrical, and computer engineering. Each topic is comprised of equal parts instruction and lab work. As part of their lab work, students learn how to use hand and power tools. Students regularly use spreadsheets, 3D CAD software and various microcontroller programming environments. In addition to coursework, the students participate in several contests out in the Buffalo community. This course is suitable for any student who successfully complete Physics. Prerequisite: Completion of the science graduation requirement or permission of the Department.
  • Introduction to Engineering II: This course extends material from Introduction to Engineering I in two directions. It exposes students to new topics not covered in the entry level class and allows students to explore previous topics learned in more detail. Students in this course are expected to be mentors for students in the Introduction to Engineering I class through training in equipment and sharing general knowledge. Students in this class are expected to engage in events that require different skill sets than are delivered in Introduction to Engineering I. Prerequisite: Completion of Introduction to Engineering I.
  • Organic Chemistry: Generally stated, organic chemistry is the study of compounds containing carbon. This course integrates and elaborates on topics introduced in physics, chemistry, and biology. Emphasis is placed on synthetic organic chemistry concepts such as alkene reactions, stereochemistry, substitution reactions, biomolecules, and structure elucidation. These topics lead into a study of drug-target interactions and enzyme kinetics, and culminate with a medicinal chemistry perspective on drug design from discovery to approval. This course prepares the student for advanced study in pre-professional sciences. Prerequisite: Completion of the science graduation requirement.
  • Geology and Geologic Hazards: The study of the Earth's processes offers students the opportunity to apply the principles of science to the Earth. Through lectures, laboratory work, and field trips, this course studies the geologic history of the Earth, plate tectonics, fossils, rocks and minerals, and structures. Geologic hazards, including earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis are examined for their geologic elements as well as the hazards they pose for humans. Analysis of the economic and environmental impact as well as public health and urban planning repercussions are discussed. Prerequisite: Completion of the science graduation requirement.

Faculty

Mrs. Julie Alford

Titles: MS Science

Rene Bouchard

Titles: US Science

Mr. Philip Coburn

Titles: US Science

Mr. Laurance Hiller

Titles: US Science

Jake Morris

Titles: US Science

Mr. Gregory Plumb

Class of '96
Titles: MS Science, MS Dean of Students

Mr. Josh Ring

Titles: MS Science

Dr. Daniel Rosenblum

Titles: US Science

Ms. Sandy Smith

Class of '93
Titles: MS Science