Science

The Academy Science Department provides students with the opportunity to learn how to use the scientific process to acquire, assimilate, extend, refine and apply scientific knowledge. Students learn how to identify problems, ask questions, analyze data, think clearly and logically, and draw appropriate conclusions. Students have the opportunity to develop an understanding of the basic concepts of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics in our inquiry-based college-preparatory program.

While two full-year courses are required of all students for graduation, the Science Department strongly recommends that students take three years. To meet the wide range of abilities and interests of Punahou students, the department offers advanced placement courses, as well as fundamental courses that emphasize an investigative approach with a lesser mathematical and theoretical emphasis.

The rich variety of elective courses includes single-semester inquiries in areas of physical and biological sciences. Elective courses originate from student interest and/or teacher’s initiative. The Science Department encourages students to take as many elective courses as time allows.

Graduation Requirements

Students must complete two full years of laboratory courses in science to graduate. One of those two years must be taken in the 10th grade or beyond; only one of the two courses may be taken in summer school. Of these two years, the Science Department recommends that one year be in the physical sciences and the other in the biological sciences. The Science Department strongly suggests that each student take a third year in science.

Prerequisites

All science courses, except Biology and Biology Honors, require prerequisites. Please refer to the course description before enrolling in any course.

Progression by Grade Level

Physics Courses

 

Electives Offered

Science electives may be taken after the freshman year.

Advanced Statistics in Science Research
Anatomy and Physiology: Major Systems
Anatomy and Physiology: Minor Systems

Anthropology
Astronomy
Biotechnology
Culinary Chemistry
Engineering Projects I
Engineering Projects II
Marine Biology
Medical Problem Solving+
Oceanography
Real-World Research+
Independent Research

Bold typeface = lab based
* Satisfies Spiritual, Ethical, Community Responsibility Graduation Requirement
+ Offered in Summer School

Course Offerings

Biology

In Biology, students focus their studies on the methods of science and the principles of ecology, basic molecular biology, and classical, molecular and population genetics. The exploration of these topics includes understanding their connections to the overarching theme of evolution, discussing their underlying biochemistry, and illustrating them with examples drawn from the unique ecology of the Hawaiian Islands.

The course challenges students to understand biological concepts and to solve problems through class discussions, collaborative group projects, laboratory investigations and field research.

Open to Grades 9, 10, 11, 12. Year course. One credit. Satisfies Science graduation requirement.

Biology Honors

Intended for advanced science and mathematics students, this course challenges students to investigate and understand biological phenomena in great conceptual and molecular detail. Students choosing this course should have a high level of interest in biology, a basic understanding of the methods of science, a strong mathematics background, and well developed study and time-management skills.

Although the concepts studied in Biology Honors are similar to those studied in Biology, the topics are investigated in greater depth, the pace of the course is more rapid and students are challenged to apply their understanding to more complex problems.

Students explore the overarching principles of evolution and the underlying mechanisms of biochemistry while applying the methods of science to their studies of ecology, metabolism and genetics. Students in Biology Honors engage in class discussions, collaborative group projects, laboratory investigations, fieldwork, research, and analytical writing.

Open to Grades 9, 10, 11, 12. Year course. One credit. Satisfies Science graduation requirement.

Biology and Geology of the Hawaiian Islands (Bio/Geology of Hawai`i)

The Hawaiian Islands are often called the “crucible of evolution” because the many endemic species that evolved here clearly illustrate the processes of natural selection and adaptive radiation. This course explores the geological and biological factors which shape our incredible biological diversity. Students develop profound knowledge of life in Hawaiian environments by studying geological and biological processes, including plate tectonics, volcanism, competition and speciation. The goal is for students to deeply understand the natural history of the Hawaiian Islands so that they are inspired to preserve its natural environments for future generations. The course also includes a field component where students gain insight in natural, outdoor settings.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisite: Biology or Biology Honors. Year course. One credit. Satisfies Science graduation requirement.

Advanced Placement Biology

AP Biology is designed to be the equivalent of a college introductory biology course and should be taken after successful completion of both Biology and Chemistry. The AP Biology curriculum, as outlined by the College Board, covers topics relating to the four big ideas of biology: Evolution, Cellular Processes, Genetics, and Interactions Between Systems. This course strives to develop students’ appreciation for and understanding of modern biology, and to prepare students for the AP examination in May. Students are constantly challenged to apply their learning, both in the classroom and outside of school. Students are given a final exam at the end of the first semester, and must take the AP Biology Exam in May.

Additionally, there is a lab component to this course that allows students to develop advanced inquiry and reasoning skills, to consistently work with real data, and to apply their lab work to their content knowledge and vice versa.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisites: Biology/Biology Honors and Chemistry/Chemistry Honors. Year course. One credit. Advanced placement courses must be taken for a letter grade. Satisfies Science graduation requirement.

Chemistry

Chemistry is a year-long, lab and inquiry-based, college preparatory course which integrates a variety of instructional methods. Students will understand the basic concepts underlying a standard college preparatory curriculum while developing critical-thinking and problem-solving skills using extensions of chemical principles in everyday life.

The prerequisite for AP Chemistry is Chemistry Honors, not Chemistry. The Science Department recommends that students who are taking advanced or honors math enroll in Chemistry Honors.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisite: Algebra 1. Year course. One credit. Satisfies Science graduation requirement.

Chemistry Honors

Students study the basic topics in kinetic theory, the electrical nature of matter, periodicity of the elements, quantum mechanical model of the atom, chemical bonding in solids and liquids, energy in chemical reactions, reaction kinetics, equilibrium, solutions, acid-base reactions, oxidation-reduction reactions and stoichiometry.

Although the topics covered in Chemistry Honors are similar to Chemistry, most are studied in more depth, requiring extra hours outside the classroom and stronger math skills. In order to attain the more sophisticated level of understanding demanded by an honors course, it is assumed that students are intrinsically motivated and genuinely interested in science.

The course integrates laboratory exercises with lectures, demonstrations and other group work. A portfolio of experiments is accumulated and carried through to AP Chemistry. All instruction takes place in small groups that meet in the laboratory. Students are required to take unit tests, a cumulative semester examination and a cumulative year final examination.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisite: Algebra 1. Year course. One credit. Satisfies Science graduation requirement. Students enrolling in Summer School Chemistry Honors must have completed Geometry/Geometry Honors.

Advanced Placement Chemistry

The Advanced Placement Chemistry course is the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first year of college.

Students attain a depth of understanding of fundamentals and a competence in dealing with chemical problems. The course contributes to the development of students’ abilities to think clearly and express their ideas, orally and in writing, with clarity and logic. The course differs from Chemistry Honors with respect to the higher level of mastery of chemistry required, the emphasis on chemical calculations, the mathematical formulation of principles, and the kind of laboratory work done by students.

During the school year, students study from an approved Advanced Placement Chemistry textbook. About 17 experiments are completed during the year.

Evaluation is through tests, quizzes, a first semester examination, second semester “mock” AP exam, and an accumulated lab portfolio. Students must take the AP Chemistry Exam in May.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisites: Chemistry Honors and completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2/Trigonometry. Year course. One credit. Advanced placement courses must be taken for a letter grade. Satisfies Science graduation requirement.

Physics

Studying the relationships in nature and discovering how people interact with the universe is the theme of this “hands-on, minds-on” course. Students learn to observe and analyze the physical world critically and systematically, investigating topics such as motion, gravity, projectiles, forces, collisions, energy, electricity, magnetism, waves and light. Classes are highly interactive and designed to encourage participation, collaboration, and creative thinking. The homework expectation is approximately three hours per cycle.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Year course. One credit. Satisfies Science graduation requirement.

Physics Honors

Physics Honors is a high school level, algebra-based course that emphasizes problem-solving techniques and the use of observational and analytical skills. It is an introductory course recommended for students who want a solid mathematical foundation in physics. Students learn to use experimentation and inquiry to discover the functional relationships that exist in the physical world. Classes are taught in a collaborative environment, with students working together on labs, projects, problems and discussions. Topics include: motion, energy, electricity and magnetism, waves, optics and particle physics, as well as other modern topics such as relativity and quantum physics. The homework expectation is approximately four hours per cycle.

Students enrolling in Summer Physics Honors should have very strong mathematical skills and be prepared for an extremely fast-paced learning experience.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2/Trigonometry or Algebra 2/Trigonometry Honors. Year course. One credit. Satisfies Science graduation requirement.

Advanced Placement Physics 1 (AP Physics 1: Algebra-based)

This is a college-level introductory course without calculus, which prepares students for the Advanced Placement Physics 1: Algebra-based exam. This course is equivalent to one semester of a course that is often taken in college as the physics requirement for students majoring in disciplines such as pre-med. In addition to the topics on the AP Physics 1 exam, this course includes other topics normally found in introductory college-level physics courses. Topics include: motion, energy, electricity and magnetism, waves, optics and particle physics, as well as other modern topics such as relativity and quantum physics. Students must take the Advanced Placement Physics 1 exam in May. The homework expectation is approximately four hours per cycle.

Students will initially be enrolled in Physics Honors but will experience both the Physics Honors and AP Physics 1 curricula. At the end of Cycle 3 students may choose the AP Physics 1 curriculum, which will be reflected in their transcripts.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: Algebra 2/Trigonometry or Algebra 2/Trigonometry Honors. Year course. One credit. Advanced placement courses must be taken for a letter grade. Satisfies Science graduation requirement.

Advanced Placement Physics 1 and 2 (AP Physics 1 and 2: Algebra-based)

This is a college-level introductory course without calculus, which prepares students for two exams: Advanced Placement Physics 1: Algebra-based and Advanced Placement Physics 2: Algebra-based. The course is equivalent to one that is often taken in college as the physics requirement for students majoring in disciplines such as pre-med. Topics covered in the course include: linear and rotational mechanics, fluids, thermodynamics, waves and sound, electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics. Students must take the Advanced Placement Physics 1 and 2 exams in May. The homework expectation is approximately five hours per cycle.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: Algebra 2/Trigonometry or Algebra 2/Trigonometry Honors. Year course. One credit. Advanced placement courses must be taken for a letter grade. Satisfies Science graduation requirement. Students may not take this course and AP Physics 1.

Advanced Placement Physics C (AP Physics C (Mechanics) and AP Physics C (Electricity & Magnetism))

This is a college-level advanced course with calculus, which prepares students for the two Advanced Placement Physics C exams (Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism). The course is equivalent to one that is normally taken as the first part of a college sequence for students majoring in a physical science. Students build on the foundation established in Physics Honors or AP Physics 1 and 2, developing a deeper understanding and solving more challenging problems, some requiring calculus. The subject matter for the first semester is Mechanics, and for the second semester Electricity & Magnetism.

Concurrent enrollment in AP Calculus (AB or BC) is required. Students must take both AP Exams in May. The homework expectation is approximately five hours per cycle.

Open to Grade 12. Prerequisite: Physics Honors, AP Physics 1, AP Physics 1 and 2 or consent of instructor. Year course. One credit. Advanced placement courses must be taken for a letter grade. Satisfies Science graduation requirement.

Advanced Placement Environmental Science

The Advanced Placement Environmental Science course focuses on three major goals: to use science to come to an understanding of the relationships and systems in our natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, and to examine measures for resolving and/or preventing these problems.

This one-year course takes an interdisciplinary/global approach involving both a cultural context and a broad background in the sciences (biology, physics, chemistry, and geology). In addition to lectures, discussions, and field trips, emphasis is placed on frequent laboratory investigations and one long-term environmental study.

The AP Environmental Science course is equivalent to a one-semester college course in Environmental Science. Students must take the AP Exam in May. The homework expectation is approximately four hours a cycle.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisites: Biology/Biology Honors and Chemistry/Chemistry Honors. Advanced placement courses must be taken for a letter grade. Year course. One credit. Satisfies Science graduation requirement.

Biotechnology

Biotechnology is a field of biology that primarily involves the study and manipulation of DNA. DNA can be studied to detect disease, customize medical treatments, or identify criminals. DNA can be modified in organisms in order to produce medications, vaccines, enzymes and improved agricultural crops.

This class is designed to complement AP Biology and allow students a more in-depth study of molecular biology and its applications to the biotechnology industry. Students learn advanced skills and concepts that prepare them for upper division classes in biology and molecular biology in college. This course is ideal for the student who is planning on majoring in biology or a related field.

This course is highly lab-based with at least two lab experiments per cycle. Students carry out DNA and protein analysis using a variety of techniques including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and electrophoresis.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: completion or concurrent enrollment in AP Biology, or consent of instructor. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit. Offered subject to enrollment.

Anatomy and Physiology: Major Systems

The content of this course includes the basic structure and function of the human body. This course is for students interested in a career in the medical field as well as those curious about how their own bodies work. Through dissections, lectures, readings, discussions and presentations, students learn about various systems including the skeletal, muscular, nervous, circulatory and reproductive systems. They learn how these systems work together to keep the body functioning and how to apply their learning to medical cases. This course incorporates a semester health project that includes research, interviews and service.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisite: Biology or Biology Honors. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit. Offered subject to enrollment.

Anatomy and Physiology: Minor Systems

In this course, students learn about the digestive, immune, endocrine and excretory systems, and expand their understanding of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Students choose from a wide range of topics such as nutrition, pharmacology, epidemiology and demographics of health issues. They explore medical mystery cases as a means of application and extension of their knowledge. Through the study of the human body, students reflect on healthy choices in their own lives. Dissections, fieldtrips, speakers and collaborative projects are incorporated as appropriate. The course Anatomy and Physiology: Major Systems is not a prerequisite for this class.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisite: Biology or Biology Honors. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit. Offered subject to enrollment.

Anthropology

Anthropology, the comparative study of humankind, is an integrative discipline aiming to discover basic principles about culture, behavior and human nature. Anthropology includes both the cultural and biological realms.

Cultural anthropology’s major theme is to see and understand the unfailing ingenuity and inventiveness by which humankind responds to environmental challenges and opportunities by translating ancestral evolution and current genetic makeup into specific and successful patterns of behavior. Archaeology focuses on the evolutionary roots, the evidence of adaptability, and the potentials of the human species as reconstructed in the recovered material culture of past societies. Together these realms constitute Anthropology as a biosocial science.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisite: Biology or Biology Honors. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit. Offered subject to enrollment.

Astronomy

This course focuses on current research and discoveries in astronomy. Topics include interpreting observations of the night sky, the solar system, exoplanets, the lifecycles of stars and galaxies, the structure of the universe, space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life. Students practice telescopic and naked eye observations and learn how to find constellations, nebulae, star clusters and galaxies in the night sky. All students are expected to attend at least two of the four scheduled “star parties” at night during the semester. Grades are based on presentations, homework, quizzes, observations, class participation and projects.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit. Offered subject to enrollment.

Culinary Chemistry

This course explores the chemical and molecular processes involved in altering raw food materials. Ingredients are described in terms of their chemical components, and students learn about the chemical reactions and physical changes that take place during cooking, including baking, boiling, browning and fermenting. In laboratory sessions, students manipulate recipes by changing one variable and quantitatively measuring the impact on the reactions that they are studying. In doing so, students attain a better understanding of the role the ingredients play in these chemical processes, as well as the processes themselves. Connections between cooking practices and culture are emphasized using practical examples of cooking methods significant to cultures around the world.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisites: Biology/Biology Honors and Chemistry/Chemistry Honors. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit. Offered subject to enrollment.

Introduction to Engineering – SUMMER ONLY

This course introduces students to a variety of engineering disciplines, such as bioengineering, mechanical engineering and civil engineering. Students interact with industry practitioners and engage in multiple hands-on technology and engineering projects to apply their knowledge. Student teams work with external beneficiaries to understand and figure out problems worth solving and to begin the execution of proposed solutions. To address these problems in science and engineering, students learn and apply a creative problem-solving framework (design thinking). Steps include need-finding, ideation, prototyping and communication (oral, written, visual; analog, digital). Mathematics is used to facilitate the modeling and communication of ideas.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. One-­half credit. Satisfies general elective credit. Offered subject to enrollment. Students may take either Introduction to Engineering or Engineering Projects I, but not both.

Engineering Projects I

This course provides students with an opportunity to experience the engineering design process from start to finish. This is accomplished by collaborating with team members to design and build solutions to real-world problems. Students create virtual devices in 3-D using Solidworks®, then print the devices in 3-D or fabricate them in the machine shop. Students develop skills in mechanics, electronics, programming, 3-D printing and machine shop operations. First-semester students have the option of completing a self-designed group project or participating in FIRST Tech Challenge [FTC], a robotics competition for pre-college students.

Open to Grades 9, 10, 11, 12. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit. Offered subject to enrollment. Students may take either Introduction to Engineering or Engineering Projects I (Summer Only), but not both.

Engineering Projects II

Students in Engineering Projects II have the opportunity to select an aspect of engineering for in-depth study and to further develop specific engineering skills.

Open to Grades 9, 10, 11, 12. Prerequisite: Introduction to Engineering or Engineering Projects I. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit. Offered subject to enrollment.

Marine Biology

Students in Marine Biology carry out extensive laboratory and fieldwork to study the biology of marine organisms, with an emphasis on local marine animals and plants whenever available. Topics include marine ecosystems, the biology of selected marine organisms, ecological interactions among marine life, and human impacts on the sea. Some class meetings are two hours long to permit uninterrupted lab work and field trips to take advantage of Hawai‘i’s unique environment.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisite: Biology or Biology Honors. Semester course (spring semester only). One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit. Offered subject to enrollment.

Medical Problem Solving (Medical Science) – SUMMER ONLY

Medical Problem Solving is a course taught at the John A. Burns School of Medicine in Kaka‘ako. It is designed for students who are interested in studying the field of medicine. The course provides a unique learning opportunity involving JABSOM physicians working along with teachers and students from different schools on Oahu. Students delve into real cases using the same methods as medical students. They work together in order to understand and appreciate relevant medical concepts as they confront the principles and practices of medicine. Although the course is brief in terms of time, it is rich in opportunities. Students have access to state of the art technology used in medical training, clinical skill labs, and even mock patients. Throughout the course, guest speakers share examples and career advice to highlight the diversity of options and pathways in the health care profession. Students who sign up for this course should be committed, professional, and willing to take on new challenges.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisites: Biology/Biology Honors and Chemistry/Chemistry Honors. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit. Enrollment limited. Students may take either Medical Problem Solving or Medical Problem Solving Online, but not both.

Medical Problem Solving Online – ONLINE COURSE/SUMMER ONLY
Not Offered in 2016

Medical Problem Solving is a course that solves medical mystery cases as experienced by students in medical schools. Students use collaborative problem-solving techniques in order to understand and appreciate relevant medical/biological facts as they confront the principles and practices of medicine. Students enhance their critical thinking skills as they examine data and draw conclusions. Students explore anatomy and physiology pertaining to medical scenarios and gain an understanding of the disease process, demographics of disease, and pharmacology. Additional learning experiences include current issues in health and medicine, personal health and lifestyle analysis, interviewing a patient, and creating a community service action plan.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisite: Biology or Biology Honors. Requirements: Participation in online course orientation (May 2015), daily access to high-speed Internet. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit. Students may take either Medical Problem Solving or Medical Problem Solving Online, but not both.

Oceanography

Students in Oceanography use a combination of laboratory investigations, class discussions, fieldwork, and videos to study the major principles of oceanography. These principles include physical processes, such as tides, waves, and currents; ocean chemistry; marine geography and geology; and navigation. Some classes are two hours long to allow for extended lab work and field studies that take advantage of Hawai‘i’s unique location.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisite: Biology or Biology Honors. Semester course (fall semester only). One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit. Offered subject to enrollment.

Real World Research SUMMER ONLY

This course seeks to expand interested students’ understanding of professional-level scientific research. Students are challenged to explore the questions and methodology associated with a theme of current interest to the scientific community, as identified by the course instructor. Emphasis is placed on students designing and executing their own independent research project, either as a lab or field-based activity. This is done by reading scientific literature as well as the active collection and analysis of data in the pursuit of individual projects. Peer feedback and assistance from the instructor is significant in guiding each student’s work throughout the course. The class culminates in an individual presentation of results by each student and writing of a scientific paper.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisites: two yearlong science courses and consent of instructor. Semester course. 1/2 credit. Satisfies general elective credit. Enrollment limited.

Independent Research in Science (Ind Science Research)

This course is for those students who have a sincere desire to work independently on personal or competitive projects and receive both academic credit and faculty advice. Projects are generally initiated by students and may be investigative or research-oriented. Students with an opportunity to work on outside projects in industry or at the University could use this course for making contacts and establishing deadlines, or they could use these projects as a foundation for entry in science award and scholarship competitions.

The instructor provides deadlines, grade and/or credit contracts, coordination of activities with other faculty and/or outside contacts, and instruction in methods of research, accountability, and presentation of material.

To take the course, the student must present a written proposal to the instructor prior to enrollment, stating the purpose of the project. The instructor and student then work out a departmental contract that is given to the Department Head for approval.

Open to Grades 9, 10, 11, 12. Semester course. One-half credit. Must be taken as a sixth course. Satisfies general elective credit.

Advanced Statistics in Science Research

Students perform research in four areas of science, one each quarter, and use statistics in working with their data. This course teaches all topics of the AP Statistics class while also teaching research methods and allowing time for students to perform their own science research. The pace for learning both math and science will be fast and muchof the learning is self-directed. Students produce scientific papers and give presentations in seminars each quarter. Statistical methods using graphing calculators as well as computer programs such as Matlab are used. Students average 4 hours per cycle of work outside of class and they may take the AP Statistics exam in May.

Open to Grade 10, 11, 12. Prerequisite: (math) completion of, or concurrent enrollment in advanced precalculus; (science), biology and chemistry, completion of, or concurrent enrollment in physics. Year course. One credit. Satisfies general elective credit. Offered subject to enrollment.