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Experimental Sciences

The Science department is committed to delivering a rich, modern and exciting curriculum based on a strong theoretical content systematically introduced and complemented by experimentation. We believe that it is extremely important that our students understand the connections between Biology, Chemistry and Physics and this is why the three subjects are taught simultaneously in grades 9 and 10. From traditional methods to cutting edge biotechnology and computer assisted experiments, students are exposed to a broad range of techniques that prepare them perfectly for the best science programs in the best universities. From preserving our environment to finding efficient and clean ways of producing energy or promoting the research for new drugs, the place of science in our societies has never been more important. We believe it is our mission to foster a desire to learn science and to create vocations.

Grade 9

INTERNATIONAL SECTION

The following courses focus on bringing 9th grade International students of varying science backgrounds to a common level of scientific literacy in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Students will be introduced to the scientific method and basic laboratory techniques through regular lab investigations, including standard data analysis and graphing techniques. Connections between the three sciences will be made as often as possible.


BIOLOGY

2 hours per week
In this course, we start by exploring the characteristics and the chemicals that make up living organisms all the way to more complex systems and mechanisms in the human body.

Assessment competencies:
Solves problems using appropriate theory and technique
Communicates effectively using appropriate scientific conventions and terminology
Demonstrates the acquisition of scientific knowledge
Exhibits experimental skills including protocol design, data presentation and data analysis 
Works safely and as a member of a team


Standards alignment:
 
School defined
Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department and Tessa
 Teichert-Stein, Biology Teacher 
 

PHYSICS/CHEMISTRY
2 hours per week

In Physics, students will be introduced to the kinematics and the notions of speed, velocity, and acceleration. Forces will be introduced through the concept of gravitation and weight. They will finish the curriculum with a study of kinetic and potential energy. In Chemistry, they will explore concepts such as density, the mole, atomic structure, elements, chemical reactions and formulas. Students will develop their understanding of the scientific method through practical lab work and written reports. A large variety of experimental techniques, including the use of computer software and probes, will be introduced to the students during this first year of high school science.

Assessment competencies:
Solves problems using appropriate theory and technique
Communicates effectively using appropriate scientific conventions and terminology
Demonstrates the acquisition of scientific knowledge
Exhibits experimental skills including protocol design, data presentation and data analysis 
Works both as a member of a team and with regard to safety

Standards alignment: School defined
Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department and Mauricio Albrizzio
Chemistry Teacher 


RESEARCH AND DESIGN 

2 hours per week
A curriculum to challenge and inspire… The Design Tech curriculum is a design process and project-based learning program that provides students with a lively, collaborative and dynamic environment in which they are required to push their experimentation beyond the visual and think “outside the box.” The students who pursue this course are asked to use creative tools to address a variety of challenges and to learn about the design thinking process as a means to solve problems and generate creative ideas and solutions to those problems. Core topics are based on the study of concepts such as the design cycle, product/industrial design, environmental design, product innovation and Architecture, as well as knowledge of materials and strategies for product development and evaluation. From high-level conceptual thinking and brainstorming to producing, presenting, and defending tangible solutions, students are exposed to all aspects of the design cycle. Various engineering and design software packages will be utilized in order to give each student the ability to design and build a unique creation and prototype. Design Tech couples the Sciences and the Arts, using methods and principles from each in the design process. It is a cross-disciplinary course in which students are forced to think across disciplines in order to become better innovators and designers.

Assessment competencies:
Ability to identify/define a design need through research and exploration of ideas
Good understanding of the different phases of the design process and their applications to develop and generate ideas
Ability to solve problems with creative and innovative visual and conceptual solutions
Quality of the final design solution
Attitude, effort and class participation

Standards alignment: School defined
Updated: 
August 2016
Author: 
Barbara Abacassis, Research and Design teacher 


FRENCH SECTION

These courses are defined by the French Ministry of Education, and provide students with a solid foundation in biology, earth science, physics, and chemistry. They prepare them for either IB science programs or the Baccalaureate ES or S.

Extensive laboratory work is employed to develop the basic scientific skills of observation, manipulation of equipment, measurement, recording and reporting of information, objective interpretation of data, design of controlled experiments and critical evaluation.

PHYSIQUE-CHIMIE

2 hours per week
In this physics and chemistry course delivered in French, the curriculum is articulated around the concept of energy. In Physics, the students will discover dynamics and mechanical energy, the principles of an alternator, and they will work on energy chains in power stations. In Chemistry, after studying atoms and ions' structure, the students will learn how to identify metals and aqueous ions, and they will build batteries and synthetize aromas and soap. This course is a very experimental-based program. Its purpose is to feed students’ appetite for sciences and provide them basic scientific skills.


Assessment competencies:

Participe activement aux travaux de la classe
Est préparé(e) en arrivant en classe
Travaille avec soin
Se comporte correctement

Standards alignment: Ministère de l’Éducation nationale
Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department and Nancy Saussac
Physique/Chimie Teacher 


SCIENCES DE LA VIE ET DE LA TERRE
2 hours per week
This course is divided into four units: genetics, immunology, evolution and Earth history, and health and environment issues focusing on procreation, pollution, energy resources and biodiversity. The first three themes will be studied through activities and manipulations. The last unit is a research project done in groups of two.

Assessment competencies:
Participe activement aux travaux de la classe
Est préparé(e) en arrivant en classe
Travaille avec soin
Se comporte correctement

Standards alignment: Ministère de l’Éducation nationale
Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department


Grade 10

INTERNATIONAL SECTION

These are modern and exciting courses based on strong experimental approaches and solid theoretical backgrounds. Students will learn how to defend their answers thoroughly and communicate effectively in science. They will have to master a number of problem solving techniques, showing their work impeccably. They will develop their laboratory techniques and learn to write rigorous lab reports.

The two main goals of these Grade 10 courses are:
  • To make sure that students are well-prepared for higher level IB Physics, higher level IB Chemistry, and higher level IB Biology if they choose one or several of these courses in their junior year.
  • To make sure that students at the end of 10th grade have a strong foundation in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, essential to understanding the world we live in.

BIOLOGY

1.5 hours per week
In this course, we continue exploring complex systems and mechanisms in the human body as well as other important processes in plants.


Assessment competencies:

Solves problems using appropriate theory and technique
Communicates effectively using appropriate scientific conventions and terminology
Demonstrates the acquisition of scientific knowledge
Exhibits experimental skills including protocol design, data presentation and data analysis 
Works safely and as a member of a team

Standards alignment: School defined
Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department and Tessa Teichert-Stein, Biology Teacher
 


CHEMISTRY
1.5 hours per week
This course will delve deeper into the structure of the atom, its relationship to the chemical properties of elements and their periodic trends, and chemical bonding. In addition, the course studies the stoichiometric relationships for chemical reactions and allows for students to investigate experimentally the different types of reactions in order to achieve a better understanding of topics including acid base chemistry, oxidation reduction, and chemical kinetics.

Assessment competencies:
Solves problems using appropriate theory and technique
Communicates effectively using appropriate scientific conventions and terminology
Demonstrates the acquisition of scientific knowledge
Exhibits experimental skills including protocol design, data presentation and data analysis 
Works safely and as a member of a team

Standards alignment: School defined
Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department and Mauricio Albrizzio
Chemistry Teacher 


PHYSICS
1.5 hours per week
Grade 10 Physics builds upon the foundations laid in grade 9 Physics. Students will study vectors, waves, forces, and electricity in depth. The course also develops students' practical skills with more challenging lab work as preparation for group four sciences in the IB.


Assessment competencies:

Solves problems using appropriate theory and technique
Communicates effectively using appropriate scientific conventions and terminology
Demonstrates the acquisition of scientific knowledge
Exhibits experimental skills including protocol design,data presentation and data analysis 
Works safely and as a member of a team

Standards alignment: School defined

Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department



FRENCH SECTION
These courses are defined by the French Ministry of Education, and provide students with a solid foundation in Biology, Earth Science, Physics and Chemistry. They prepare them for either IB science programs or the Baccalaureate ES or S.

Extensive laboratory work is employed to develop the basic scientific skills of observation, manipulation of equipment, measurement, recording and reporting of information, objective interpretation of data, design of controlled experiments, and critical evaluation.

SCIENCES DE LA VIE ET DE LA TERRE

1.5 hours per week

The program is constructed around three themes: life basic organization and evolution, basis of sustainable energies, and human physiology and sport.

Assessment competencies:
Participe activement aux travaux de la classe
Est préparé(e) en arrivant en classe
Travaille avec soin
Se comporte correctement

Standards alignment: Ministère de l’Éducation nationale
Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department

 

BIOTECHNOLOGIES
1.5 hours per week
The program is articulated around three themes: bioindustries, health, and environment. Students will learn to keep a scientific journal as if they were working in these industries. They are considered researchers who lead experiments, extract, analyze, and critique data, and come to a sound conclusion.

Assessment competencies:
Participe activement aux travaux de la classe
Est préparé(e) en arrivant en classe
Travaille avec soin
Se comporte correctement

Standards alignment: Ministère de l’Éducation nationale
Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department 

 


CREATION ET INNOVATION TECHNOLOGIQUE

1.5 hours per week]
Course description in progress


PHYSIQUE-CHIMIE

3 hours per week
In this course delivered in French, the students discover Physics and Chemistry concepts through three general themes: health, universe and sports. The students will work on questions like:
How can a star’s light give us informations about the star?
How can we extract, synthetise and identify chemicals to create medicine?
The course tries to contextualise scientific concepts to interest students and provide them solid scientific skills for the Bac S or for IB Physics and Chemistry. The learning style is based on experimental and research activities. In Chemistry, the students will delve deeper into matter's structure and its quantification. In Physics, the core will be waves, cinematic, fluid pression and spectrum studies.

The Grade 10 course is a continuation of the Grade 9 course in Physical Sciences. Together they provide a solid foundation for the Baccalaureates S or for IB Physics and Chemistry. Students begin the program by analyzing the ways of measuring distances and times and going further on Newtonian mechanics. The chemistry program includes the study of chemical reactions, calculations of the quantities of matter, and study of matter (atoms).

Assessment competencies:
Participe activement aux travaux de la classe
Est préparé(e) en arrivant en classe
Travaille avec soin
Se comporte correctement

Standards alignment: Ministère de l’Éducation nationale
Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department and Nancy SaussacPhysique/Chimie Teacher
 

 

Grades 11 & 12

INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE

The IB Group four courses are similar to challenging first year college science courses. Regularly revisited and updated, they are connected to the real world and to developments in science over time. All sciences are offered at the Standard Level (SL) or the Higher Level (HL). SL students study the core and HL students study the core and the Additional Higher Level (AHL) material. Students also study two options. For the three sciences, 24 percent of the final grade is internally assessed during laboratory experiments and on the student’s lab reports. Lab reports are assessed upon a set of very precise IB criteria and students will learn how to design experiments, collect and analyze data and write conclusions. A high degree of critical thinking is required during lab investigations and students will have to discuss the limitations of their experimental work. Students will also have to carry out an extended group project, which consists of an open-ended investigation involving students from all three IB sciences.


IB BIOLOGY SL/HL
Two years, 5 hours per week
The IB Biology program extends over the course of junior and senior year. The four basic biological concepts that run throughout the course are: structure and function, universality versus diversity, equilibrium within systems and evolution. These four concepts serve as themes that unify the various topics that make up the three sections of the course: the core, the additional higher level material and the options. The in-depth study of those topics running in parallel with hands-on inquiry activities and research will allow the students to grow as scientists and embody the characteristics of an IB learner. Course also available in French.

Assessment competencies:
Solves problems using appropriate theory and technique
Communicates effectively using appropriate scientific conventions and terminology

Demonstrates the acquisition of scientific knowledge
Exhibits experimental skills including protocol design, data presentation and data analysis 
Works safely and as a member of a team


Standards alignment: International Baccalaureate Organization
Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department


IB CHEMISTRY SL/HL
Two years, 5 hours per week
IB Chemistry is a demanding course that covers all the standard topics studied in college level general chemistry, including chemical bonding, thermodynamics, kinetics, chemical equilibrium, acid base and red ox chemistry. In addition, this two-year course includes an introduction to Organic Chemistry and explores advanced optional topics such as medicine and drugs and environmental chemistry. Chemistry at the higher level will delve deeper into the same topics studied in the SL course and expand the quantitative aspect of the course.

Assessment competencies:
Solves problems using appropriate theory and technique
Communicates effectively using appropriate scientific conventions and terminology

Demonstrates the acquisition of scientific knowledge
Exhibits experimental skills including protocol design, data presentation and data analysis 
Works safely and as a member of a team

Standards alignment: International Baccalaureate Organization
Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department and Mauricio Albrizzio, Chemistry Teacher
 



IB PHYSICS SL/HL
Two years, 5 hours per week
IB Physics is a challenging course covering most topics studied in university level Physics: kinematics, energy, circular motion, forces (gravitational, electric, and magnetic), thermal physics, simple harmonic motion/waves, atomic/nuclear physics, and particle physics. Practical work is demanding and rigorous and the pace of the class is significant. Course also available in French.

Assessment competencies:
Solves problems using appropriate theory and technique
Communicates effectively using appropriate scientific conventions and terminology
Demonstrates the acquisition of scientific knowledge
Exhibits experimental skills including protocol design, data presentation and data analysis
Works safely and as a member of a team


Standards alignment: International Baccalaureate Organization
Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department

 


ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS AND SOCIETIES SL

Two years, 4 hours per week
Environmental Systems and Societies is an interdisciplinary course that focuses on both the scientific and human aspects of the environment. This is to say that ESS will be a course in which we will study the environment from a social, cultural, economic, historical and geo-political approach, as well as from a physical, biological and chemical perspective (among others). Due to its multidisciplinary nature, this course will require a strong experimental component in addition to a research, discussion and informed debate-based study of local, national and global environmental issues and case studies.

Assessment competencies:
Solves problems using appropriate theory and technique
Communicates effectively using appropriate scientific conventions and terminology
Demonstrates the acquisition of scientific knowledge
Exhibits experimental skills including protocol design, data presentation and data analysis 
Works safely and as a member of a team


Standards alignment: International Baccalaureate Organization
Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department and Tessa Teichert-SteinESS/Biology Teacher
 


FRENCH BAC

SCIENCES DE LA VIE ET DE LA TERRE 
3 hours in Grade 11; 4 hours in Grade 12

Each year, two-thirds of the course focus is Life Science and one-third is Earth Science. The programs are conceived around four themes: genetics and evolution, plate tectonics, sustainable energy and human physiology. Both years are complementary; grade 12 delves more into details and refines manipulative skills.


SCIENCES DE LA VIE ET DE LA TERRE S
 SPÉCIALITÉ

2 hours per week
Students choosing "option Biologie" commit to two extra hours and a higher coefficient for the baccalaurate in biology. The program provides more detailed informations and requires further investigations into Climate changes on Earth, Genetics and Metabolism. It is entirely based on experiments.

Assessment competencies:
Utilisation adéquate des théories et des techniques pour résoudre les problèmes scientifiques
Communication efficace et utilisation adéquate des conventions et de la terminologie scientifiques
Acquisition des connaissances scientifiques
Utilisation des compétences expérimentales y compris de la conception d'un protocole et de la présentation et analyse des données
Capacité de travail en équipe tout en respectant les consignes de sécurité

Standards alignment: Ministère de l’Éducation nationale
Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department and SVT teacher
 


BAC S PHYSIQUE-CHIMIE 
5 periods per week
In Premiére and Terminale S, the purpose of the Physics and Chemistry course is to provide the students solid scientific skills and knowledge. It is also set to develop critical thinking towards all the scientific information we now have easy access to. Through a very large spectrum of topics (mechanics, optical, waves properties, oxidation/reduction, acid/base reactions, and organic chemistry) and a very experimental and active based program, the students will experiment by themselves using the scientific method. For example, they will learn how to analyze sounds and motion samples, and how to titrate chemical species using different methods, how to extract, synthetize and identify species in organic chemistry. They will also approach 20th century Physics, as they will get an introduction to quantum mechanics, special relativity, and wave-particle duality. They will also learn how to get information from an MNR or IR spectrum, how information is stocked on a CD or a DVD, and they will be sensitized to green chemistry issues. It is a very rich and inspiring science program!

PHYSIQUE-CHIMIE S SPÉCIALITÉ
2 hours per week

For the students in terminale S who are passionate about Physics and Chemistry, choosing a Physics and Chemistry speciality is highly recommended!
It is a very experimental, scientific, skills-based program. There are no contents to add to the core program, but through three themes: water, sounds, and materials. The students will conduct experiments, study scientific documents, set up approaches to solve problems, consolidate skills, and enjoy science. For example, they will find out how to model water circulation in the oceans, desalinate water, build an hydrogen battery, synthetise a glue and test its properties, build a musical instrument, and test the acoustic reverberation qualities of a room.

Assessment competencies:
Utilisation adéquate des théories et des techniques pour résoudre les problèmes scientifiques
Communication efficace et utilisation adéquate des conventions et de la terminologie scientifiques
Acquisition des connaissances scientifiques
Utilisation des compétences expérimentales y compris de la conception d'un protocole et de la présentation et analyse des données
Capacité de travail en équipe tout en respectant les consignes de sécurité

Standards alignment: Ministère de l’Éducation nationale
Updated: August 2016
Authors: Christine Bois, Head of Science Department and Nancy SaussacPhysique/Chimie Teacher 
 

TRAVAUX PERSONNELS ENCADRES

When students turn into researchers!
Developing a six-month term project in order to solve an original scientific problem, they will work in a team. The core of this project is the design and implementation of high quality experiments.
It is the very first part of the well-known 
French Baccalaureate!

International High School

150 Oak Street

San Francisco, CA 94102-5912

Phone: 415.558.2000

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An independent Pre-K through 12th grade co-educational day school in the heart of San Francisco. The school delivers a rigorous bilingual (French/English) immersion program through middle school, culminating in either French Baccalaureate or International Baccalaureate program in its International High School.

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