Science Department

Canterbury's science curriculum provides students with a rich array of traditional, advanced, and elective courses in the physical and biological sciences. AP courses are offered in biology, chemistry and physics. The science faculty bring diverse backgrounds and advanced degrees to the classroom, and are passionate about engaging each student with inquiry-based labs and modern applications of science and technology. Using critical thinking skills and experiential learning, students collaborate in the design and interpretation of laboratory experiments.

Field trips are an essential part of the science curriculum. Recent field trips include an Environmental Science class trip to the Aspetuck River to collect data and an AP Biology trip to Long Island Sound. Active engagement with state-of-the-art technology prepares students for science courses in college. Electives to pique student interest range from a course on the Biology of the Brain to a course on the Science of West Africa, taught by a former Peace Corps volunteer. See the Academic Guide for more information on science courses.

DISCOVER

  • Investigate how different wave lengths of light affect growth and oxygen production in aquatic plants in biology.
  • Flame test various salts in chemistry to identify each compound's metal ion.
  • Identify unknowns in chemistry lab by testing and characterizing compounds.


COLLABORATE

  • Work in pairs to solve problems and present solutions to classmates in physics.
  • Create an instructional video tutorial with classmates in physics lab on the mechanical advantage of a system of pulleys.
  • Use an app to create an instructional tutorial for your classmates on drawing Lewis structures in chemistry.

EXPERIENCE

  • Collect specimens from the Aspetuck River as part of an environmental study for the State of Connecticut.
  • Join your AP Biology class on a field trip to Long Island Sound
  • Cultivate and examine bacteria in microbiology.
  • Extract and isolate caffeine from tea in introduction to organic chemistry.

Courses

ALGEBRA 1

Basic concepts and properties of elementary algebra are introduced early to prepare students for equation solving. Concepts and skills are introduced algebraically, graphically, numerically, and verbally, often in the same lesson to help students make connections. Frequent and varied skill practice ensures student proficiency and success. Special attention is given to signed numbers, positive and negative exponents, linear equations, factoring, radicals, simultaneous equations, verbal problems, and test-taking strategies.

GEOMETRY

This full year course regards the properties of right triangles, similar triangles, polygons, and circles. Their geometric properties are treated synthetically with logic and proof, as well as analytically with coordinates and algebra. Multiple formats are supported through mastery including two column and indirect proofs. Students learn to value the need to think logically and present ideas in a clear order. Traditional geometry concepts and deductive reasoning are emphasized throughout, while measurement and applications are integrated to motivate students via real-world connections. Algebra 1 skills are reviewed at point-of-use, ensuring students maintain these skills. Honors section available.

FUNDAMENTALS OF ALGEBRA 2

The goal of this course is to extend the topics and skills of Algebra 1 and Geometry at an appropriate pace. Students will concentrate their efforts on linear, quadratic, exponential and logarithmic functions. Fundamentals of Algebra 2 is a calculator intensive course. Successful completion of this course will prepare students to transition to Elementary Functions.

ELEMENTARY FUNCTIONS

Topics covered in this course include a review of linear functions with related applications, a thorough study of matrices, matrix algebra and applications, and an introduction to the mathematics of finance. This course offers the opportunity to investigate mathematics beyond Algebra 2 and to study topics outside the traditional high school curriculum. This course is calculator intensive and includes an introduction to discrete mathematics.

ALGEBRA 2

The goal of the intermediate algebra course is to introduce and automate the middle-level algebra skills. Practice in the fundamental topics (linear equations, exponents, logarithms, graphs, verbal problems, systems of linear and nonlinear equations, complex numbers, right triangle trigonometry, quadratic equations, and linear and quadratic functions) is provided. Honors section available.

ELEMENTARY FUNCTIONS.

Topics covered in this course include a review of linear functions with related applications, a thorough study of matrices, matrix algebra and applications, and an introduction to the mathematics of finance. This course offers the opportunity to investigate mathematics beyond Algebra 2 and to study topics outside the traditional high school curriculum. This course is calculator intensive and includes an introduction to discrete mathematics.

PROBABILITY AND STATISTICS

This course provides an elementary introduction to probability theory and mathematical statistics that emphasize the probabilistic foundations required to understand probability models and statistical methods. Topics include: basic combinatorics, discrete and continuous random variables, probability distributions, mathematical expectation, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, and linear regression.

PRE-CALCULUS

Pre-Calculus prepares students for a college-level Calculus course by extending the student’s knowledge and skills acquired in previous courses. The course begins with a thorough review of selected topics—linear systems, polynomial functions, exponents, logarithms, sequences, series—and continues with an extensive study of trigonometry both as the solution to triangles and as the study of circular functions. At a more rapid pace, the honors section includes the usual topics treated at the beginning of a Calculus course (limits, derivatives, applications of derivatives). Honors section available.

CALCULUS

This course covers many of the topics included in a college-level Calculus course. Topics include limits, methods of differentiation, related rates, maximization, Riemann sums, methods of integration, and area. The course is not as rigorous as AP Calculus and will not cover all of the topics on the AP syllabus.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT CALCULUS

This course closely examines the theory behind and the applications of the derivative. A strong background knowledge of elementary functions and analytic geometry is required. The second half of this course closely examines integral calculus. The course curriculum satisfies the AB syllabus of the AP program. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP Calculus exam in May.

HONORS LINEAR ALGEBRA

This course covers concepts and mathematical tools such as systems of linear equations, matrices, determinants, vector spaces, inner product spaces, eigenvectors, and linear transformations. These topics are particularly useful for students interested in pursuing engineering, physics, economics, statistics, or computer science.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT STATISTICS

This course covers the AP syllabus with specific emphasis in data exploration, experimental design, probability, and statistical inference. AP Statistics is a non-calculus based course which introduces students to methods and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. This course is graphing calculator intensive. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP Statistics exam in May.

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