The Science Department strongly encourages all students to first take at least one life science course and one physical science course, which allows them to experience both disciplines and provides them with the foundational skills necessary for them to continue their study of science at The Frederick Gunn School and at an undergraduate, four-year university. Our students must complete three laboratory courses to complete their graduation requirements. The Science Department also advocates that every student completes one year of both biology and chemistry.
The Frederick Gunn School's introductory science class, Earth and Physical Science, is typically offered to freshmen and provides an introduction to experiential learning in physics and chemistry. This is a skills-heavy course that incorporates physical and earth science concepts. Our students learn to:
Work with formulas
Follow and generate laboratory procedures
Collect and analyze data
Become educated consumers of science in the media
The course also provides a strong foundation in the mathematical skills that are required for our students to excel in subsequent science courses offered as part of the curriculum. Students may be recommended to the honors level of this course based on past performance and with the approval of the Science Department Chair and Academic Office.
Students are recommended to their second and third-year lab courses based on past performance, and guided by teacher recommendations. They may study chemistry or biology, which are both offered as honors courses, or physics. In these courses, students learn the languages and practices of a specific scientific discipline and prepare to advance to honors or AP level courses. Upperclassmen may enroll in one of six AP courses (in biology, environmental science and physics), or choose a full-year elective, such as Human Anatomy and Physiology, in which students become proficient in identifying over 50 landmarks on a skull model; or Pre-Med, which was introduced in 2019 in response to student interest. The course is taught by a faculty member who is also a medical doctor and provides students with an introduction to clinical methods and hands-on experience in medical techniques.