The purpose of the science department at Gonzaga Prep is to instill in our students an appreciation of God’s creation through the study of science, its relationship to their lives, and its importance in the spectrum of educational values. We encourage students to open their eyes to phenomena occurring around them and then help them formulate in their minds an overall picture of the natural world in which they live.
Our curriculum is relevant, real, and preparatory for college and for life. It is presented such that students can recognize connections to their own reality and experiences. They are encouraged to reflect upon their experiences and apply what they have learned to live beyond our community. This may be accomplished through hands-on lab experiences, demonstrations, and exposure to contemporary environmental issues and media events. It is our goal that students choose to pursue science-related curricula beyond high school and that they are well-prepared for whatever experiences they may encounter.
3 years are required for graduation. One year must be chemistry and one year must be biology. All students are encouraged to take science in their senior year.
This one-year survey course in Biology is an introduction to contemporary theories in the life sciences and fundamental concepts of biochemistry, cell, and organismal biology. Topics include cell structure and function; energetics, cell respiration, and photosynthesis; cell reproduction and genetics; living systems; evolution; and ecology. This course is highly lab oriented and serves as a foundation for future science students at Gonzaga Prep and in college.
Anatomy and Physiology College in the High School:
This year-long College in the High School course is designed to allow students to gain an appreciation and understanding of how the human body works. The study of human physiology includes the study of the structure and function of biological macromolecules, cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems that make up the human body. Additionally, the course will cover an overview of human anatomy to prepare the student for advanced exploration of anatomy and physiology in the college or university setting. This is equivalent to a first-quarter university Anatomy and Physiology course for science majors. University credit available.
Advanced Placement Biology:
AP Biology is the equivalent of a first-year general biology course in college. Students in AP Biology visit topics to a greater depth and experience laboratory settings at a level of complexity that far exceeds a standard high school biology setting. Students deepen their understanding of biology through inquiry-based investigations as they explore evolution, energetics, information storage and transfer, and system interactions.
A survey laboratory course in introductory chemistry. Topics covered will include matter and energy, measuring and calculating, chemical formulas, molecules, chemical equations, quantitative relationships, bonding and structure, the periodic table, gasses, acids and bases, oxidation, organic and biochemistry, and nuclear chemistry. An honors section is available for those with teacher recommendations.
CHEM110: Chemistry (UW)
CHEM 110 is an introduction to general chemistry with an emphasis on developing problem-solving skills. This course covers basic concepts of chemistry along with the mathematics required for quantitative problem-solving. Passing this class enables the student to earn 5 University of Washington credits along with fulfilling the general education requirements for (NW) The Natural World at the University of Washington. This course fulfills all requirements for the University of Washington's CHEM 110 course and uses all required elements.
CHEM171: Chemistry (EWU)
Introduces chemistry concepts such as uncertainty in measurements, nomenclature, the structure of matter, chemical equations and stoichiometry, introductory thermochemistry, periodic properties, and chemical bonding. There is an emphasis on higher-level application of the concepts and hands-on investigative approach to lab problems. This is equivalent to a first-quarter university chemistry course for science majors. University credit available.
Environmental Science A and B (semester elective each):
The Environmental Science course will provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world. Students will work to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. This course aims to increase student knowledge of the environmental challenges of today while continuing to cultivate scientific critical thinking skills, and understanding that Environmental Science is interdisciplinary --- embracing a wide variety of topics from different areas of study. Different concepts are covered in version A and version B of the course so students can take a full year of Environmental Science.
Honors Physics: College in the High School:
An applied-mathematics-oriented two-semester college prep lab science.
First-semester concepts include kinematics and dynamics. Analyzing physical systems using algebra and trigonometry. This course is a College in the High School course through Central Washington University, Course
The second semester covers the fundamental concepts of motion and energy. Specific topics include rotational mechanics, heat energy, and wave mechanics. This course is a College in the High School course through Central Washington University, Course PHYS 112.
Throughout the course of a year, Physics covers the concepts of kinematics and dynamics using algebra and trigonometry. This class moves at a slower pace but satisfies the requirements for College in the High School through Central Washington University, Course PHYS 111. the latter part of the second semester covers topics in rotational mechanics, heat energy, and wave mechanics.
Robotics I and II (semester elective each):
The Robotics course helps students learn and gain a working knowledge of robotics. Primary work will utilize an Arduino board and will involve building and troubleshooting electronic circuits on breadboards and programming the operations. Students will work with a remote control car and program it to drive and add sensors or switches to the robot.
Introduction to Engineering Design:
In this engineering course, students learn the use of engineering hardware and software tools and apply an engineering approach to solve problems. Students use engineering systems design and apply aspects such as materials considerations and sustainability to create products. The course will emphasize the design development process of a product and how a model of that product is produced, analyzed, and evaluated, using a Computer Aided Design System. In addition to the design development, the course will expose students to communication methods, teamwork, and global and human impacts.