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Science Course FAQS

FHS Science Department
Course FAQs


Welcome students and parents of Fremont HS.

Students need to pass one life science and one physical science class to graduate.

Counts as Life Science

Counts as Either

Counts as Physical Science

Biology
Physiology
Biotechnology
AP Biology

Environmental Science
AP Environmental Science

Chemistry
Chemistry Honors
AP Chemistry
Physics
Physics Honors
AP Physics


Grade 9: Biology is required for all freshman.


Grade 10-12

OR OR
recommended prior courses and grades

Biology and
Algebra 1
(Can be concurrent)

Biology and
Algebra 1
Biology and
Algebra 1
(Can be concurrent)
Biology and
Algebra 2
/Trig or Math Analysis
(Can be concurrent)
Biology
Prior courses completed with B or better. Prior courses completed with B or better.


Grade 11-12

Biotechnology
recommended prior courses and grades
Biology and
a Physical Science (may be concurrent)
Biology and
Chemistry

Biology and
Chemistry
Honors.
Algebra II/Trig or Math Analysis

Physics Honors and Calculus (may be concurrent)
Biology and
Chemistry
Biology and
Chemistry or Physics
Biology completed with a C or better. B or better in science and English. Strong reading and writing skills needed. Prior courses completed with B or better. Note: AP Physics requires college-level effort. B or better in Biology and Chemistry. Note: College-level text used.

Note: All AP classes require college-level work ethic.

Biotechnology
Biotechnology is best explained by how it is being used in industry: recombinant DNA technology to make insulin, golden rice, transgenic organisms , GM (genetically modified) foods , forensic investigations (DNA fingerprinting, bioremediation (the process of breaking down environmental pollutants), and gene therapy to treat genetic diseases. Biotechnology is the field of science that uses products of living organisms (DNA sequences or protein) primarily to make new products.

This course is designed to provide you with a broad overview of the science of biotechnology as well as develop the technical skills needed by local industry. We will be focusing heavily on laboratory experiments with an emphasis on techniques currently being used by industry.
This class is designed to give you many opportunities to get basic lab skills and work experiences in the Biotechnology fields. You will learn general laboratory practices with special attention lab safety. In addition, you will learn and practice the laboratory techniques unique to the Biotechnology field. Almost every day is a lab day in Biotech!

Topics covered in the class include;

What is Biotechnology? Plant Biotechnology
Drug Discovery Study of DNA
Raw Materials of Biotechnology Biotechnology in Agriculture
Bringing a Product to Market Study of Proteins
Basic Skills of the Workplace Biotechnology in Medicine


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Biology
Biology is the first science you will study at Fremont. It is the introductory course for all freshmen, but some sophomores, juniors and seniors take the class as well. It is an academic class, and you will need to spend about 25-45 minutes a day outside of class studying and doing homework. Most Biology classes expect you to keep a Biology notebook that gets very full!

Biology now is very different from the Biology classes that your parents may have taken. There was a lot of focus on plants, animals, and dissection. You may even have heard them talk about bug collections. Things have changed! Overall, we focus on how things work in all living things rather than what living things are made of or look like. For example, we will study how the information contained in our genes is read by the body and made into protein. We will study how living things make ATP - the chemical that powers their bodies.
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Biology AP
This is a college level biology course that will prepare you to take the Advanced Placement Exam in Biology. AP Biology is considered by many students to be one of the most challenging classes at Fremont. One of the reasons for that is that it IS an AP class and therefore involves a lot of work and independent study outside of class. Also AP Biology is unique in that it is a blend of Science and English.

Your science skills and abilities need to be good, and it really helps to be interested in the subject! But also you need to have a good grasp of the English language, as there is a lot of reading, and writing. You will be expected to write science essays in the class. In fact, on the AP exam itself 40% of your grade will be based on the essays you write (4 in 90 minutes). You will also find that Biology has its own unique language. You will learn words in Biology you never knew existed! In a perfect world you will have passed Biology, Chemistry, and Physiology with a B or better as well as be competent in English before you take AP Biology. However, many students who are college bound have been successful in the class without taking all these classes.
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Chemistry
Chemistry can be defined as the study of matter. Matter is anything that occupies space, from very small things like electrons to very large things like stars. If you have asked any of these questions, you have started to study chemistry:
What will happen to you if your space suit gets a rip? Why shouldn't you burn an empty spray paint can? Why do flames have different colors? How much gas can you put in a soda? Why does a soda can explode when shaken? How does soap clean your hands? Why do some reactions have explosive results?

Chemistry is about the study of matter and changes that occur to matter. In this course, you will examine the structure of matter so that you will understand and be able to predict its behavior. This course will provide a basic framework for understanding environmental, biological or consumer problems and making informed rational decisions. Concepts will be covered in depth, but with less emphasis on particular exceptions to rules and quantitative calculations and measurements. A basic understanding of algebra and graphing is needed to do well in this course.
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Chemistry Honors
This course will cover the same concepts as the regular Chemistry course. However, the concepts will be covered with more depth and with much greater detail to quantities of matter involved. This course requires that you be very comfortable with basic algebra and graphing skills. The material covered will be more than adequate to prepare you for further studies at the college level in the science or engineering disciplines.
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Chemistry AP
This is a college-level chemistry course which will prepare you to take the Advanced Placement Exam in Chemistry. Chemistry topics will be covered with depth, with greater detail given to quantitative measurements and calculations. This course is extremely rigorous and fast paced. The quality of student work and behavior is expected to be at the college level. This course requires that you have taken either Chemistry or Chemistry Honors and passed with a minimum of a C, but grades of B or above (in a previous chemistry course) is highly recommended. How does it compare to AP Biology? Many students find it more challenging because it requires very good math skills. While there are essays, most of the AP Chemistry test is quantitative.
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Environmental Science
The focus of this course is on Environmental Science based on California State Science Content Standards for High School, including Earth Science. The four areas of study are the biosphere, geosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere. The course builds on basic Biology concepts and makes connections to real-world environmental issues. Human activity and its impact on the four Earth spheres is a thread that runs throughout the course. Emphasis is placed on human behaviors and how individuals can negatively or positively impact the environment. Major units of study include: Earth structure; plate tectonics; earthquakes; the carbon cycle, global warming; air pollution; acid rain, water properties and the water cycle; human population; consumerism; local eating; agriculture and flowering plant life cycles. Explore labs and activities on the computer are used to discuss and debate global environmental issues and solutions. A variety of teaching strategies are used including computer simulations and tutorials as well as hands- on experiments and activities. Literacy skills are emphasized and practiced throughout the course. Outside reading projects are utilized to promote and practice literacy.
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Environmental Science AP
This is a college-level environmental science course which will prepare you to take the Advanced Placement Exam in Environmental Science. The goal of the AP Environmental Science course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them . Environmental science is interdisciplinary; it embraces a wide variety of topics from different areas of study including biology, chemistry, and earth science. Students will do best if they have a strong interest in the topic and are willing to do college level work.
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Physics
We're all born with an urge to understand the world around us. This leads us to ask questions such as:
How fast will I be going if I jump off of a bridge? How does a CD player work? What is special about laser light? How does the Sun keep on shining? What is dark matter? What are the ultimate constituents of matter? How did the Universe begin?
At its heart, physics is about finding things out - about understanding what lies behind every-day phenomena like rainbows, red sunsets and blue skies as well as the more revolutionary concepts of quantum theory, relativity and cosmology.

Physics often uses mathematics to describe the laws of nature. But, it doesn't have to use math to express some of the laws of the physical world. Some principles are better expressed in words, like the important Law of Conservation of Energy, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed.

In Physics (regular), we use some Algebra 1 math ideas. If you are rusty, you will get some practice and useful tips to make you successful. The course also includes a number of projects where you will show your understanding of the laws of physics by building or assembling a vehicle or device and operating it in a class competition.
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Physics Honors
The interesting questions, topics and basic course content for Physics Honors are nearly identical to regular physics. In Physics Honors we recommend Algebra 2 but concurrent enrollment is fine. We still use Algebra 1 math ideas (mostly) but you are expected to be very comfortable with basic algebra. There is more math and more challenging types of problems but the basic course idea and projects are similar to regular physics. In comparison to the regular physics course, we will cover some topics in greater detail and add a few more.
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Physics AP
This is a college level calculus-based physics course which will prepare you to take the Advanced Placement Exam in Physics (AP Physics C : Mechanics). The Physics topics will be covered in-depth, with greater detail given to quantitative measurements and calculations. This course is extremely rigorous and fast paced. The quality of student work and behavior is expected to be at the college level. This course requires that you have taken Physics Honors and passed with a minimum of a C, but grades of B or above are highly recommended. The course also has a math requirement of concurrent enrollment in calculus or having already passed calculus. How does it compare to AP Biology? Many students find it more challenging because it requires very good math skills. While there are essays, most of the AP Physics test is quantitative.
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Physiology
Physiology is the study of the structures and functions of the human body. As you learn about the various body systems (nervous, skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular, etc.) you will also learn what each of us can do to improve the overall health of our bodies. Several systems will be studied in depth, including how they help maintain a stable internal environment and how each system interacts with other body systems. The information you learn will be directly applicable to the choices you make in your daily life.
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