La Cañada High School

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Science Department

Department Chair: Laura Wheeler
 
The Science Department offers courses that help students develop skills rooted in laboratory experimentation, claim or hypothesis creation, evidence gathering and data analysis, and justified by effective writing of findings from lab work. Students will be asked to examine phenomena in each course and engage in answering scientifically worthwhile, open-ended questions, and to be responsible for sense making of the content concepts with which they will engage. Like the curriculum content of other disciplines in English and math, science instruction, course sequencing, graduation requirements, and course content have been significantly influenced by LCHS’ adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This means that in each science course, students will engage with curriculum that is constructed in three dimensions, with students actively working with science and engineering practices, explaining their learning with cross cutting concepts, like cause and effect, and focusing on core disciplinary ideas. While courses will continue to be taught in a survey model, the courses will intentionally focus on fewer content concepts, and engage with these in greater depth and with the inquiry methods used by scientists working in the various sub-disciplines in business, for government, and at universities and colleges. In addition to a rigorous college preparatory science program, the science faculty offers a wide range of Advanced Placement courses and encourages students to consider enrolling in these demanding courses. Homework for AP classes is intensive. Parents and students should consider AP course enrollment with a candid assessment of the rigors of the course along with the demands of other academically challenging subjects, athletics, and other extra-curricular activities in which the student will participate.

With the implementation of NGSS course sequencing for the 2017-18 academic year, LCHS will implement a new NGSS three course sequence that will increase the graduation requirements for students in the graduating class of 2021 and after. Students in the class of 2021 and following will be required to take three science courses in order to receive a LCUSD diploma. Students in the graduating classes of 2018-2020 will be held to the graduation requirements in place upon their beginning of high school, which means that they will be required to complete one life science class and one physical science class in order to earn a diploma from LCUSD. All college and/or university-bound students should consider the University of California recommendation that students complete three years of science education that provides fundamental knowledge in biology, chemistry, or physics. Competitive private colleges and universities recommend three or more years of science instruction.