Joseph and Thalia dissect sheep brains in Mindmapping class.

Joseph and Thalia dissect sheep brains in Neuroscience class.

At ESA, we believe that students learn science by actually doing science! What that means is our classes are as hands-on as possible and ask students to design their own experiments and research projects. Through this inquiry-based approach, students gain expertise in the scientific method, which focuses on skills such as questioning, developing procedures, identifying variables, collecting and analyzing data and drawing conclusions.

We also focus heavily on the research portion of science, requiring students to read scientific articles, choose support for their stance, and properly cite sources. Students also learn to design controlled experiments, analyze data using mathematical and statistical calculations, and represent their data using Excel. While we are skill-focused, our 4 year scope and sequence includes a variety of content areas including genetics, earth science, ecology, anatomy, neuroscience, and more!

 

9th and 10th Grade Classes
Genetics: This is a genetics course that will explore topics including how cells, DNA, and heredity work, and what role genes play in determining human behavior.  The course will center on experiments using Drosophila as a model organism.  Students will be expected to follow the scientific method in order to design and carry out these experiments and then analyze and evaluate their results. Throughout the course, students will be exploring questions of identity, bioethics, and the future of medicine through tasks including taking on the role of a genetic counselor, learning about CRISPR, and discussing genetics in the news topics. 

 

11th and 12th Grade Classes
Neuroscience: In neuroscience class, we will focus on one of the most important organs in the human body, the brain. We will explore how the brain is organized and the biological bases of behavior. We will see how scientists and doctors have come to learn about the structure and functioning of the brain by learning about different cases of brain injuries and disorders. We will also study how drugs and neurotoxins alter the normal neural functions. We will examine changes in the brain through evolution and its implications for the development of cognition and learning. Students will use the scientific method and inquiry skills to investigate variables that affect memory, learning, perception, emotions, and attention.

 

Everyday Chemistry: In this course we’ll get curious about what we observe in the world around us (the macroscopic level), the mystical inner mechanisms we can’t see (the microscopic level and smaller) and how these phenomena are represented (with symbols, equations, and models) in Chemistry. Knowing information at the atomic level helps to explain the behavior of matter on larger scales. Theoretical models are used to describe chemical behaviors of matter that are not directly measurable. By the end of this semester, students will better understand that technology, air pressure experiences, and food can all be explained and manipulated through Chemistry.

 

Computer Science: Students in computer science will be learning to code in Python, starting with the basics of object types, input / output, variables, loops and flow, and eventually moving into defining their own functions / objects and using turtle to create visuals. Students will also engage in offline activities to learn about the history of computers and the internet, how they work, and current social issues surrounding their use.

 

Bodies: Bodies is a Human Biology class that focuses on the human body and its survival mechanisms. In this course, students will learn why organisms must maintain an internal balance and what happens something upsets that balance. They will also identify common life processes (circulation, nutrition, regulation), describe the functioning of organ systems and explain how these organs systems contribute to maintaining homeostasis. Students will also be able to explain the effect of common diseases (heart disease, diabetes, asthma) on organ systems and understand the relevance of these health problems in today’s society. Students will sharpen their scientific method skills by conducting physiology experiments on pulse, cardiac recovery rates, vital capacities, and visual reaction time, before designing their own panel project on one of these variables.

 

General Chemistry: Observable phenomena (macroscopic), atomic phenomena (microscopic), and symbolic representations (equations and models) are interrelated. Knowing information at the atomic level helps to explain the behavior of matter on larger scales. Theoretical models are used to describe chemical behaviors of matter that are not directly measurable. Equilibrium is the driving force behind all chemical reactions.