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STANDARD COURSE OF STUDY

SCIENCE :: 2004 :: HIGH SCHOOL SCIENC SEQUENCES

HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE SEQUENCES

A wide variety of high school science course sequences may be used to meet the needs of individual students, schools and districts. Traditionally no one sequence has been recommended because the sciences have been treated as separate disciplines. Currently there is disagreement among scientists and science educators about which sequences are best. Neither Benchmarks for Science Literacy (American Association for the Advancement of Science - Project 2061, 1993) nor the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996) recommend a particular sequence, although both recommend that curriculum materials and teachers make more connections between different science disciplines and between the sciences and other disciplines. North Carolina does not have a required sequence because the K-8 Standard Course of Study should prepare students to take any of the standard level high school science courses.

Some typical sequences follow; however, other sequences are possible to meet the needs of particular schools and students. For example, in some smaller schools, Physics and Chemistry are offered in alternate years due to the small number of students and or limited teacher availability. In all recommended sequences, students may take AP or IB Biology, Chemistry, or Physics in lieu of the corresponding SCS course. In many cases, students take additional science electives such as Human Anatomy and Physiology, Astronomy, and AP and IB science courses.

Sequence 1

9th Grade - Biology

10th Grade - Chemistry

11th Grade - Physics

12th Grade - AP Environmental Science

This sequence allows students to meet both North Carolina graduation requirements and the North Carolina Academic Scholar requirements. It follows the recommendation of some universities that students, particularly those planning to major in the natural sciences, should take both chemistry and physics. It also allows students to gain an AP credit while meeting the North Carolina earth/environmental science requirement. With rising expectations in science and mathematics at the middle school level, it should be expected that more students will be capable of completing a sequence including both a chemistry and physics course.

Sequence 2

9th Grade - Earth/Environmental

10th Grade - Biology

11th Grade - Physical Science or Chemistry or Physics

12th Grade - Chemistry or Physics or a science elective

This sequence allows teachers to design a concrete and inquiry oriented Earth/Environmental Science course to introduce students to high school science. Further, students have the opportunity to take both a chemistry course and a physics course if desired.

Sequence 3

9th Grade - Earth/Environmental

10th Grade - Biology

11th Grade - Principles of Technology I

12th Grade - Principles of Technology II

This sequence allows the student to use career-technical education courses to meet the University of North Carolina admissions requirement for a physical science course. Principles of Technology I and II have been designed to give a rigorous hands-on approach to the development of physical science concepts.

Sequence 4

9th Grade - Earth/Environmental

10th Grade - Physical Science

11th Grade - Biology

12th Grade - Chemistry or Physics or a science elective

This sequence retains the advantage of allowing teachers to design a concrete and inquiry oriented Earth/Environmental Science course to introduce students to high school science. This may be followed by a strong physical science course to build the foundation for a more rigorous and molecularly oriented biology course. Students complete their science graduation requirement by the end of the 11th grade and have room to take Chemistry or Physics or other science elective course in the 12th grade. The disadvantage of this sequence is that, unless students take more than one science in a year, they will not have the opportunity to take both a chemistry course and a physics course.

Sequence 5

9th Grade - Physical Science

10th Grade - Biology

11th Grade - Earth/Environmental or AP Environmental

12th Grade - Chemistry or Physics or science elective

This sequence allows the development of physical science concepts before biology, thus preparing students to better understand modern cellular and molecular biology. The disadvantage of this sequence is that, unless students take more than one science in a year, they will not have the opportunity to take both a chemistry course and a physics course.