Thornton Township High Schools District 205

Preparing all District 205 Students to be Competitive Leaders in our Global Society



Program Description


The Science Program will provide opportunities for students to acquire and communicate concepts and basic vocabulary of biological, physical, and environmental sciences.  Students will apply the processes, techniques, methods, equipment, and available technology of science to solve everyday problems in an increasingly technological world.


Students will use the scientific method to develop the critical thinking and problem solving skills required to conduct research and make responsible decisions and ethical judgments in our society and environment.


Program Goals


1.   Experience the richness of knowing about and understanding the natural world.

2.   Understand and value the impact of science on the individual, society, technology, and the environment.

3.   Understand that science impacts personal decisions concerning well-being, ethics and careers.

4.   Understand and communicate the concepts and basic vocabulary of science.

5.   Understand the process and importance of acquiring, managing, and using information in science.

6.   Understand science as a human endeavor which spans time and culture through interdisciplinary studies


Course Selections

Anatomy & Physiology

Biology I

Biology (Honors)

AP Biology

Chemistry I

Chemistry (Honors)

Chemistry (AP)

Earth Science

Ecology/Environmental Science

Environmental Science (AP)


Forensic Science

Horticulture I

Horticulture II

Physics I

Physics I (Honors)

Physics (AP)

PLTW - Principles of Biomedical Sciences

PLTW – Biomedical Innovation (Honors)

PLTW – Human Body Systems

PLTW – Medical Interventions (Honors)


Biology, Chemistry and Physics are required courses for all students.  All freshmen take Biology, all sophomores take Chemistry and all juniors take Physics.


R-1213-I  BIOLOGY I   FOR 9   l UNIT  Biology regular level is a balance of traditional and modern science. Students are provided a rich experience through broad concepts applicable to all living systems. The course is organized around the following concepts: 1.  Cell structure and function, 2. Evolution and its relationship to phyla, 3. Energy requirements to support organization, 4. Behavior and ecology of organisms, 5. Heredity, and 6. Scientific Methodology. Technology and considerable laboratory investigations aid students in their understanding of the concepts. During laboratory investigations students will practice work place skills, and strong emphasis is placed on laboratory safety.


A-1217-I  HONORS BIOLOGY I  FOR  9    1 UNIT  Biology Honors level is designed for students with above grade level reading, writing and mathematical skills. Through scientific inquiry, students are expected to participate and to conduct research (literature and laboratory) on a variety of biological topics. The course is organized around the following biological themes: evolution, diversity and unity of living things, genetic continuity of life, relationships between organisms and the environment, relationships between structure and function, and science as inquiry. Laboratory investigations will supplement class activities. Each student will be required to complete various independent and group projects.


A-1219-H  AP BIOLOGY  FOR 11-12  2 UNITS  The AP Biology course is designed to be the equivalent of a college introductory biology course. The AP curriculum, which is set by the AP Biology Development Committee, includes molecules and cells (25%), heredity and evolution (25%) and organisms and population (50%). Students entering this course must be highly motivated and willing to do significant work outside of the classroom. The extended period class includes twelve standard laboratory experiments that must be completed prior to May of each year when AP Examinations are given. Lectures are an important part of the course, but a variety of instructional approaches including modeling, research, problem solving and cooperative groups will be used. Use of technology is an integral part of the course. PREREQUISITES: Biology and Chemistry. Recommendation from a science teacher may be required.


R-1221-B  HORTICULTURE I  FOR 11-12  1 UNIT  Horticulture I includes the art of cultivating and using plants for agriculture and for the pleasure of mankind. Topics included in this course are: 1)  job opportunities and career planning; 2) plant identification; 3) plant propagation; 4) landscape planning and maintenance; 5) care and maintenance of house plants and floral crops; 6)  floral design (making corsages and other various flower arrangements); 7) greenhouse operation and management; 8) horticultural mechanics and sales and turf management. Activities include growing and caring for a variety of plants in a greenhouse, outdoor work in landscaping, floral design projects, films, lectures, field trips and guest speakers. This course is designed to develop employable skills in ornamental horticulture.  Students will be charged an additional fee for the cost of materials. Students achieving an “A” or “B” grade for both semesters can earn college credit through the Tech Prep College Articulation Agreement.


R-1223-B  HORTICULTURE  II  FOR 12  1 UNIT  This course is designed to provide students with advanced study in floriculture and the landscape industry. Students will use technology for advanced design work in landscaping, plant identification, plant production and custom floral design. Class activities will include learning how to set up and operate a small business in order to develop employment skills for a career in the floriculture or landscape industry. Students will be charged an additional fee for the cost of materials. Students achieving an “A” or “B” grade for both semesters can earn college credit through the Tech Prep College Articulation Agreement. PREREQUISITE:  Horticulture I.


R-1225-B  EARTH SCIENCE  FOR 11-12  1 UNIT  This is an elective course for all students who have successfully completed both environmental science and biology.  It is designed to provide a solid foundation in the Earth and Space science for the student who is naturally curious about the physical materials and processes that have created the earth. Anyone interested in meteorology, astronomy or geology will be challenged by this interdisciplinary approach. Special topics include:  plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanism, worldwide glaciation, topographic mapping, solar system astronomy, life cycles of stars, weather prediction, hurricanes and tornadoes.  Earth science supports the trend toward interdisciplinary curriculum since it combines concepts from all of the major sciences in an effort to understand the natural world in an organized way.  This is an elective course for juniors and seniors only.


R-1227-B  ECOLOGY/ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE  FOR 10-11-12  1 UNIT  Ecology/Environmental science is an elective course for students who have one year of previous science credit.  It is organized into three broad areas consisting of natural interactions in the environment (ecology), human impact on natural systems, and political and economic forces that affect the environment.  Students will have experience in environmental issue investigation, data-based decision making, and action plans concerning real-life environmental problems. PREREQUISITE:  Biology



A-1229/1230-B  AP ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE  FOR 11-12  2 UNITS  The AP Environmental Science course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science. Unlike most other college introductory-level science courses, environmental science is offered from a wide variety of areas, including geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental science, chemistry, and geography. Special emphasis is placed on providing 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 and/or preventing them. The AP Environmental Science course is a rigorous science course that stresses scientific principles and analysis, and includes a strong laboratory and field component. It is intended to enable students to undertake, as first-year college students, a more advanced study of topics in environmental science, or alternatively, to fulfill a basic requirement for a laboratory science and thus free time for taking other courses. This course prepares students to take the Advanced Placement Environmental Science examination in May and the opportunity to earn college credits. The AP Environmental Science course is an excellent option for any interested student who has completed one year of biology and one year of chemistry. Due to the quantitative analysis that is required in the course, students should also have taken at least one year of algebra. Also desirable (but not necessary) is a course in earth science. Because of the prerequisites, AP Environmental Science will usually be taken in either the junior or senior year. Experience has shown that the most successful students in AP courses are those who are both well prepared and highly motivated. Because many high school students express interest in the environment and environmental issues, it is expected that this may provide an incentive for students (some of whom might otherwise not take an AP science course) to enroll in AP Environmental Science. PREREQUISITES: Biology, Chemistry, and Algebra I with grade of “C” or better recommended. Students earn 2 units of academic credit.


R-1233-H CHEMISTRY I FOR 10  1 UNIT Laboratory work, lecture-discussions, and other class procedures are carefully structured to form the framework upon which chemical concepts, theories, and principles are based. Broad topics in this course include energy and chemical reactions, metric system, gas laws, stoichiometry; periodic laws; and atoms and their structures. Highly involved in these topics are equation writing, problem solving and experimentation. This course provides a solid foundation in chemistry.  It is appropriate for students who have been academically successful and who intend to pursue either a science or a non science major in college.


A-1235-H  HONORS CHEMISTRY I   FOR 10   l UNIT Laboratory work, lecture-discussions, research projects and other class procedures are carefully structured to form the framework upon which chemical concepts, theories, and principles are based. Broad topics in this course include energy and chemical reactions; rates of chemical reactions; equilibrium, stoichiometry; periodic laws; and atoms and their structure. Highly involved in these topics are equation writing, problem solving and experimentation. This course provides a solid foundation in chemistry for students who have been academically successful and who intend to pursue either a science or a non-science major in college. A completed research project is required.


A-1237-H AP CHEMISTRY  FOR 11-12  1 UNIT This is a rigorous college-level course intended for those students who have acquired the maturity to work in an independent manner. The course involves a special research project and emphasizes independent laboratory work. Introductory concepts and principles of chemistry are reviewed, while such topics as stoichiometry, atomic theory, equilibrium, reaction rates, electrochemistry, oxidation-reduction reactions, chemical kinetics, nuclear chemistry, organic chemistry, and qualitative and quantitative analysis are studied. PREREQUISITE AND RECOMMENDATION: “C” or above in Chemistry I.


R-1241-B PHYSICS I FOR 10-11-12   1 UNIT This course is a student-centered course that concentrates on a systematic understanding of fundamental physics and physical processes.  A strong emphasis is placed on analytical thinking through problem solving.  Discussions, demonstrations, lectures, reading, writing, laboratories, projects, and classroom presentations are used to develop a quantitative scientific approach to understanding our physical world.  Physics requires students to think, both creatively and conceptually.  In addition, students will learn to develop skills in leadership, collaboration and scientific inquiry.   PREREQUISITES: One algebra credit and one science credit.


A-1243-B HONORS PHYSICS I   FOR 10-11-12    1 UNIT  This advanced course will develop the conceptual foundations in Physics I and add mathematical structure to help broaden student understanding.   A more in-depth look at physics concepts will prepare students for future Advanced Placement studies as well as to take a full range of other physics courses.  The course is organized around the following themes:  mechanics (forces, matter, energy, motion) and the application of those principles including the study of heat, gas behavior, sound, light, electricity and magnetism.  The course emphasizes the importance of both individual and collective problem solving strategies.  Laboratory investigations will be an integral part of the course.  PREREQUISITES:  “C” or better in geometry and a previous science course.


A-1245-B  AP  PHYSICS   FOR 11-12  1 UNIT  This course allows the student to investigate in depth the topics introduced in Physics I. Additional topics such as friction, angular motion, torque, electricity, magnetism, energy conversion, and modern physics are presented. Each student is expected to complete an in-depth investigation and to present a formal report of his findings.  RECOMMENDATIONS:  Physics I  recommended.


A-1247-H   ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY    FOR 11-12  l  UNIT  This course is designed for students who plan to enter health-related careers. The organization and function of the major systems of the human body form the course content. Class work involves advanced level text materials, lecture-discussion, demonstrations, guest speakers and laboratory investigations.  RECOMMENDATION: Biology and Chemistry I.


R-1275-H  FORENSIC SCIENCE FOR 11-12  1 UNIT  Goals/Skills Developed: This crime scene investigation laboratory course involves scientific investigations including DNA fingerprinting, hair identification, forensic anthropology, blood and its use in crime detection. Skills will be developed in microscopy, chromatography, comparative analysis, spot tests, qualitative analysis, mass comparisons, density analysis, and other qualitative and quantitative examinations. Deductive reasoning will be utilized to communicate results, analyses, and conclusions.  This course cannot be taken in lieu of the required Science sequence.  PREREQUISITES: Biology, Chemistry highly recommended. 


R-1281-I   PLTW - PRINCIPLES OF BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES FOR 9-12     1 UNIT    This course provides an introduction to the biomedical sciences through exciting “hands-on” projects and problems.  Student work involves the study of human medicine, research processes and an introduction to bio-informatics.  Students investigate the human body systems and various health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, sickle-cell disease, hypercholesterolemia, and infectious diseases.  A theme through the course is to determine the factors that led to the death of a fictional person.  After determining the factors responsible for the death, the students investigate lifestyle choices and medical treatments that might have prolonged the person’s life.  Key biological concepts including:  homeostasis, metabolism, inheritance of traits, feedback systems, and defense against disease are embedded in the curriculum.  Engineering principles including: the design process, feedback loops, fluid dynamics, and the relationship of structure to function are incorporated in the curriculum where appropriate.  The course is designed to provide an overview of all the courses in the Biomedical Sciences program and to lay the scientific foundation necessary for student success in the subsequent courses.


R-1283-B   PLTW – Human Body Systems for 9-12      1 UNIT    This course will engage students in the study of the processes, structures and interactions of human body systems. Important biomedical concepts in the course include: communication, transport of substances, locomotion, metabolic processes, identity, and protection. The central theme will focus on how the body systems work together to maintain homeostasis and good health. The systems will be studied as “parts of a whole,” working together to keep the amazing human machine functioning at an optimal level. Students will design experiments, investigate the structures and functions of body systems, and use data acquisition software to monitor body functions such as muscle movement, reflex and voluntary actions, and respiratory operation. Exploring science in action, students will work through interesting real world cases and often play the role of biomedical professionals to solve medical mysteries.  PREREQUISITE:  PLTW Principles of Biomedical Sciences.


R-1285 – H   PLTW – MEDICAL INTERVENTIONS for 11-12     1 UNIT    Students investigate the variety of interventions involved in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease as they follow the lives of a fictitious family.  These interventions are showcased across the generations of the family and provide a look at the past, present and future of biomedical science.


R-1287 – H   PLTW – BIOMEDICAL INNOVATION for 11-12    1 UNIT    In this capstone course, students apply their knowledge and skills to answer questions or to solve problems related to the biomedical sciences.  Students will design innovative solutions for the health challenges of the 21st century.