Upper School Courses

Biology (2 semesters)

It’s alive! Biology is the study of living organisms and the natural world. This course has a mandatory series of supervised, hands-on wet labs.   In this class, you’ll learn about the processes and chemistry that give life to the world while exploring topics ranging from DNA to evolution, reproduction to taxonomy. Interactive exercises and web labs will help you improve your analytical skills while introducing you to new scientific and algebraic concepts.

*In order to receive UC credit for this science course, learners must attend labs. Lab schedules are posted in courses at the beginning of each semester. Labs may be completed virtually for learners who are not receiving UC credit for this course

(UC a-g credit )
Chemistry (2 semesters)

Chemistry is a wonderful class that introduces you to matter, where it comes from and how it applies to your everyday life.  You use products made with chemistry in mind, your body every second performs chemistry, the universe as a whole can be broken down within chemistry.  This course will push you in many ways, but will allow you to use creativity to express understanding. 

*In order to receive UC credit for this science course, learners must attend labs. Lab schedules are posted in courses at the beginning of each semester. Labs may be completed virtually for learners who are not receiving UC credit for this course.

(UC a-g credit )
Physics (2 semesters)
 Humans have always been curious about the world around them; from the celestial objects in the night sky to the workings of nature on our planet.  Technically, physics is the branch of science dedicated to studying matter and energy and the interactions between the two.  However, you can think of it as the study of how and why nature is what it is, what are the laws at work?  Physicists are constantly performing experiments to answer any and all questions about the relationships of matter and energy, and how they relate to what we encounter in nature.
(UC a-g credit )
Anatomy and Physiology (2 semesters)

Anatomy and physiology describe the parts and processes within the human body.  The interplay between structure and function will be addressed as we investigate cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, and the body as a whole.  Slides and dissections will enhance your understanding, as well as unit case studies of real life examples of complications we can face.  Online learning will include simulations, animations, videos, and lectures.  Ultimately, the goal of this course is to give you a well rounded introduction to the possibilities of study of our human form!

(UC a-g credit )
Physical Science (2 Semesters)

This is a general Physical Science course for high school students.  This first Semester is Chemistry and second Semester is Physics.In the first semester, you will learn about matter and it’s properties.  You will also explore types of chemical reactions, acids and bases, and biochemistry.  In the second semester, you will learn about physics and the laws of nature.  You will explore Newton’s Laws, gravity, energy, electricity, magnetism, and waves.

(UC a-g credit )

Middle School Courses

Rockin’ Science (1 quarter)

Rockin’ Science will explore the following questions: Why does geology matter ?  and  How does our local geology impact tourism and land use?At the end of this project, learners will have constructed an exhibit and/or virtual tour and/or driving tour brochure of local geology to share with community and tourists.  In this 8 week course, learners will investigate the following topics:

  • Layers of the earth
  • Continental Drift
  • Tectonic plates
  • Volcanoes
  • Earthquakes
  • Minerals
  • Igneous,Metamorphic,Sedimentary rock
  • Weathering of rock
  • Local California geology
Control Your Cell (1 quarter)

How can one explain the ways cells contribute to the function of living organisms?  In this class you will discover that living organisms are made up of many varied cells and that the cell itself has many intricate parts.  It will be through your investigation of the parts of the cell that you will discover many analogies to our everyday life.

I’m Only Human (1 quarter)

In this class you will look closely at the human body and how the interactions between its many systems keep us alive.

1.  In multicellular organisms, the body is a system of multiple interacting subsystems.  These subsystems are groups of cells that work together to form tissues and organs that are specialized for particular body functions.

2.  Each sense receptor responds to different inputs, transmitting them as signals that travel along nerve cells to the brain.  The signals are then processed in the brain resulting in immediate behaviors or memories.

Diversity Domination (1 quarter)

Evolution can be a misunderstood concept, but this class’s goal it to show you that through the evidence collected, we are able to determine ancestry and ultimately diversity by how organisms have changed over time.  Natural selection works by favoring adaptations in organisms that are better suited for living in the current environment.  In fact, had genetic variations not occurred, life would not be what we know!

Breakable Biodiversity (1 quarter)

Organisms are dependent on interactions with the environment and other organisms.  Resources are essential to survival and when things like over-competition, climate change, and human behavior alter those resources, devastating effects can occur.  In this course you will be introduced the amazing diversity of life, biodiversity.  You will investigate how the integrity of ecosystems of all these organisms can be threatened, and ways to support the environment.

Energetic Ecosystems (1 quarter)

Matter and energy are transferred through ecosystems as organisms harvest the energy from the sun and interact within the environment.  How is this energy converted into a usable form?  How is it processed?  What organisms are responsible for the energetic interactions seen in an ecosystem?  These and many more questions will be answered in this class!

Born To Be Wild (1 quarter)

Organisms use many methods to reproduce offspring.  Sometimes the offspring are identical while in other cases they are much different genetically.  This depends on the type of reproduction method, the random assortment of genes contributed by parents, or changes in the DNA called mutations.  The variation in traits in sexually reproducing organisms has yielded the amazing diversity of life here on Earth.  In this class you will learn what genes are, how they work, how we use them to predict offspring, and effects of changes to their DNA.

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave (1 quarter)

This is a combination Science/Social Science course.  This course requires concurrent enrollment in both the science and the social science sections of this one quarter course.

This course covers the early American Republic after the Revolutionary War. Learners will learn how young America creates their government and why they decide to expand west. This course also studies the science of human impact on land. Learners will study how early Americans used natural resources and their impact on the environment.

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave will explore the following questions:

1. How and why did the United States expand?

2. How did early Americans use their natural resources and effect their environment?

3. How much power should the federal government have? And what should it do?

4. How does the meaning of freedom change over time?

Newton and Nature (1 quarter)

In this class you dive into the forces of nature that we see, use, and are affected by everyday.  Sir Isaac Newton was the first to actively describe these laws.

What’s the Matter? (1 quarter)

In this class you observe the properties of matter and how atoms interact in chemical reactions. You are also introduced to the study of Thermodynamics, or how heat is transferred within the environment, and other areas of chemistry related to acids and bases, radiation, and life.

Expert Engineers (1 quarter)

This course is for middle school students who wish to challenge themselves weekly with at home engineering projects.  Each week you will have the following requirements: 1. Gather the required materials and Create a Plan 2. Discuss your Plan with your classmates and facilitator through the weekly online Plan Discussion 3. Execute the Plan with as many trials as you feel necessary 4. Analyze your trials and present your results to the class and facilitator via a formal Presentation Discussion 5. Participate in a Reflection Discussion where you talk about how to do it differently next time

Ride The Wave! (1 quarter)

In this class you discover the importance and application of waves and energy.

Core Ideas:

1. A simple wave has a repeating pattern with a specific wavelength, frequency, and amplitude.

2. A sound wave needs a medium through which it is transmitted.

3. When light shines on an object, it is reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through the object, depending on the object’s material and the frequency (color) of the light.

4. The path that light travels can be traced as straight lines, except at surfaces between different transparent materials (e.g., air and water, air and glass) where the light path bends.

5. A wave model of light is useful for explaining brightness, color, and the frequency-dependent bending of light at a surface between media.

6. However, because light can travel through space, it cannot be a matter wave, like sound or water waves.

Electricity and Magnetism! (1 quarter)

In this class you learn what electricity and magnetism are, and how the two can be used together for advancing human kind!

1. Electric and magnetic (electromagnetic) forces can be attractive or repulsive, and their sizes depend on the magnitudes of the charges, currents, or magnetic strengths involved and on the distances between the interacting objects.

2. Forces that act at a distance (electric, magnetic, and gravitational) can be explained by fields that extend through space and can be mapped by their effect on a test object (a charged object, or a ball, respectively).