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Science

  • AP Biology

    Advanced Placement Biology provides students with the conceptual framework, factual knowledge, and analytical skills necessary to deal critically with the rapidly-changing science of biology. The textbook, range and depth of topics, laboratories, as well as time and effort required, are similar to those of a college-level class. Topics to be covered include biological chemistry, cells, energy, molecular genetics, heredity, evolution, and ecology. There is also a very strong laboratory component of the course exploring many of these topics in greater detail. The College Board has rewritten the conceptual framework for this course which emphasizes a depth of understanding, inquiry labs, analytical modeling and data analysis. Enrolled students are required to take the AP Biology exam in May. Prerequisites: Chemistry, and departmental recommendation
  • AP Chemistry

    This course is a one-year, college-level chemistry course. Material introduced in the sophomore year chemistry course will serve as the foundation for this in-depth analysis. The syllabus will follow that of the AP Chemistry curriculum, and the students will be prepared for the examination at year's end. Formal laboratory assignments will accompany each unit, and complex mathematical analysis of each unit will challenge the students’ understanding of concepts. Topics include matter and its properties, stoichiometry, gases, atomic theory, reaction kinematics, equilibrium, thermodynamics, oxidation-reduction, acids & bases, organic chemistry. Enrolled students are required to take the AP Chemistry exam in May. Prerequisites: Chemistry, and departmental recommendation
  • AP Environmental Science

    This course will introduce students to the basic life-support systems of the Earth and study how humans affect them. Topics to be explored are biomes, impacts of population growth, global climate change, air, water and soil pollution, loss of biodiversity, energy and raw material consumptions, and how global systems are monitored and studied. Enrolled students are required to take the AP Environmental Science exam in May. Prerequisite: Departmental recommendation
  • AP Physics C: Mechanics

    Mechanics provides instruction in each of the following areas: kinematics; Newton’s laws of motion; work, energy, and power; systems of particles and linear momentum; circular motion and rotations; and oscillations and gravitation. Guided inquiry and hands-on learning will foster the development of critical thinking skills and will use introductory differential and integral calculus throughout the course. Enrolled students are required to take the AP Physics C: Mechanics exam in May. Co-requisites: Calculus AB or BC, and departmental recommendation
  • Astronomy

    This non-mathematical semester elective will combine text readings and assignments, class discussions, Web research, and multi-media presentations to bring astronomy to Laguna Blanca. “Where are we in the Universe?” is our theme! We will examine the origins of the universe, galaxies, stars, and our solar system. We will also participate in the Astronomy Unit star parties held at the Museum of Natural History.
  • Biology

    Biology introduces students to the fundamental concepts used to build an understanding of biology and how it relates to a student’s natural surroundings. The program is organized around sets of unifying themes which form a logical sequence allowing students to tie together the complexities of biological interactions. Some of the themes include: nature and continuity of life, unicellular and multicellular organization, evolution, energy transformations, and interactions between organisms and the environment. There is also a strong focus on new discoveries in biology and biotechnology. The lab component is heavily steeped in inquiry allowing students to design and execute their own scientific experiments; with a strong focus on critical analysis and understanding of data.
  • Chemistry

    This course surveys the principles of inorganic chemistry, including an introduction to the structure of matter, the characteristics and behavior of elements and compounds, and the principles governing the reactions which they can undergo. Students will discover how macroscopic phenomenon seen in the laboratory are due to changes at the molecular level and learn how we represent these changes in chemical formulas and equations. The course also covers an introduction to thermodynamics and kinetics allowing students to begin to understand how energy places a role in the outcomes and rates of chemical reactions. Laboratory sessions include standard exercises, which elucidate the underlying principles of chemistry, as well as techniques and procedures currently in use in commercial, industrial, and research laboratories.
  • Chemistry Honors

    The basic principles explored in the Chemistry 10 Honors course will be covered in greater depth and at an accelerated rate. This allows students to cover additional topics within each of the units. Chemistry 10 Honors is taught assuming that students have a mastery of algebraic manipulation. Writing in the scientific style will also be emphasized, so students should have grade-level mastery of English composition. (Not a UC honors weighted course). Prerequisite/co-requisite: Algebra 2 and departmental recommendation
  • Introduction to Biotechnology


    This course introduces students to the exciting and rapidly expanding world of biotechnology through a wide range of topics including: protein chemistry and the interaction of DNA and RNA; the basic concepts of heredity and human genetic diseases; medical aspects of microbiology including disease mechanisms and control; immunology-cells, tissues, and activation of the immune system; immunodeficiencies, including autoimmunity and transplantation issues; oncology-biology of cancer-genetic and environmental factors and treatment options; bioinformatics-analysis of biological datasets; genetically modified organisms. The ethics and societal implications of this branch of science will also be explored.  Laboratory work includes: biochemistry, aseptic technique in microbial lab work, bacterial transformation, recombinant DNA technology, PCR, blood typing, gel electrophoresis analysis of DNA and proteins, and ELISA testing for presence of disease.  
  • Introduction to Forensics


    Forensic Science applies the tools of multiple scientific disciplines such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Psychology as well as the process of scientific inquiry to the goal of investigating crime scene evidence in the eye of the law. This course introduces students to the key topics in forensic science, including the application of the scientific process to forensic analysis, procedures and principles of crime scene investigation, physical and trace evidence such as hair, fiber, fingerprints, DNA, and blood. Students will actively participate in labs and activities relating to the investigation of hypothetical crime scenes and the analysis of evidence. Lastly, we will explore various career options available in the field of forensic science.
  • Introduction to Marine Science

    Intro to Marine Science is an elective course exploring many different aspects of the marine environment. This includes marine biology, oceanography, climatology, etc. Most importantly, this course is a place for students to explore topics in oceanography and marine biology that pique their interest.   This class will be a project-based course with some lectures interspersed to reinforce ideas students may come across in their projects. There is also emphasis put on exploring and using the numerous local resources that exist related to the marine environment. Finally, the last goal is for students to gain an appreciation and understanding of the marine environment that is also their environment.
  • Physics

    The goal of the physics course is to foster an appreciation for the world of natural phenomena and for the physics that explains it. Students learn to analyze real world phenomena through laboratory modeling with sophisticated equipment and computer-interfaced hardware. The course provides both an explanation of the concepts involved and advanced algebraic solutions to complex problems. Students first explore mechanics, then examine units in waves, optics, e & m, and thermodynamics. They finish with the modern physics seminar, encountering relativity and quantum mechanics.
  • Physics Honors

    The Physics Honors course covers basically the same material as the standard course but with greater emphasis on understanding and mathematics, and with greater expectations for individual learning. The course provides a more complete explanation of the concepts involved and requires advanced mathematical solutions to extremely challenging problems. Lab activities require more complete mathematical treatment, and lab reports are expected to reveal greater understanding. Students first explore mechanics, then examine units in waves, optics, e & m, and thermodynamics. They finish with the modern physics seminar, encountering relativity and quantum mechanics. Prerequisite/co-requisite: Pre-Calculus and departmental recommendation
  • The Big Bang Theory

    This seminar will continue where physics class left off. We will examine relativity, and quantum theory, the two pillars of modern physics, and finally particle physics and Cosmology in great depth. We will read The Elegant Universe, and Fabric of the Cosmos. This course can be taken concurrently with physics. Guests from UCSB will be making presentations as a part of this course. Students will be evaluated on their participation in discussions and will make PowerPoint presentations on specialized topics. Prerequisite: Departmental recommendation
  • The Science of Food (Garden to Table)

    THE SCIENCE OF FOOD
    Grades 7-12
    Between its origin and our plate, food often undergoes some form of intentional modification, either to enhance flavor, increase shelf life, or improve its appearance.  These processes can be as simple as roasting a carrot to enhance sweetness through the Maillard reaction or as convoluted as intentionally changing the protein structure of an egg through molecular gastronomy, however they all have one important thing in common...they are deeply rooted in science.  Through practical, hands-on experiments, we will discover how chefs and food manufacturers transform our food into the products we consume every day.  Among other topics, we will investigate emulsifications, gluten development, food preservation, molecular gastronomy, and spice to understand how and why they are used...and we may just create some delicious delicacies along the way.  They say "you are what you eat," so bring an inquisitive mind and a healthy appetite and let's find out what you're made of.
     
  • Photo of Staci Richard
    Staci Richard
    Science & STEM Department Chair & Science Research Program Coordinator
    805.687.2461 x0503
  • Photo of Daniel Ary
    Daniel Ary
    Math & Computer Science Instructor
    805.687.2461 x0506
    Bio
  • Photo of Adam Bairzin
    Adam Bairzin
    Science & STEM Instructor
    805.687.2461 x0544
    Bio
  • Photo of Erik Faust
    Erik Faust
    Mathematics Instructor
    805.687.2461 x0516
    Bio
  • Photo of Lucy Lombardi
    Lucy Lombardi
    English Instructor
    805.687.2461 x0510
    Bio
  • Photo of Zachary Moore
    Zachary Moore
    Middle School Science Instructor & Director of Summer Studies
    805.687.2461 x0543
    Bio
  • Photo of John Pagano
    John Pagano
    Innovation Center Coordinator & Science Instructor
    805.687.2461 x0545
    Bio
  • Penny Pagels
    Biology Instructor
  • Photo of Katherine Pointer
    Katherine Pointer
    Upper School Science Instructor
    805.687.2461 x0228
    Bio
  • Photo of Meghan Roarty
    Meghan Roarty
    Psychology Teacher
    805.687.2461 x0520
  • Photo of Jannine Tuttle
    Jannine Tuttle
    Middle School Science Instructor
    805.687.2461 x0546
    Bio
Laguna Blanca is Santa Barbara’s premier private, co-educational, college preparatory day school for students in Early Kindergarten through Grade 12.