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Community Forums - K-12 Educators - HS Science Sequence

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What sequence do your students take their science classes in? We are restructuring our whole department's curriculum and can't decide the order. Right now, they all take biology as freshmen. From there out, they can take whatever order they want (which makes teaching these classes hard when they are all at different levels and backgrounds). We offer chem 1, chem 2, physics,  geology, and anatomy & physiology.

Our hope is to make all the  sophomore take either geology or chem/physics next year. We can't decide on the chem/physics because of the NGSS. 

This thread was posted on February 9, 2015 at 4:09 PM ET by Aubrey Mikos.
  |   11 Replies   |   Last on 4/13/2017 at 9:20 AM ET
Re: HS Science Sequence

Hello! My own school is currently debating a similar issue.  Currently (for students on the "regular"  or Advanced Placement (AP) academic tracks) we have freshmen take Biology, sophomores usually take Chemistry, juniors enroll in Physics and seniors are allowed to choose from a variety of 4th year courses (Anatomy & Physiology, Forensics, Medical Microbiology & Pathophysiology, Biology II, Chemistry II, Environmental Science, AP Physics 2, Physics C, Computer Science).  Students that are a part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program essentially work within the same system, but instead are concurrently enrolled in Chemistry and Physics during their sophomore year as they are required to take 5 years of science courses.


The suggested change for next year is inteded to address the needs of our struggling or at-risk students (based on testing data from previous years).  Instead of taking Biology as freshmen, these students would enroll in Integrated Physics and Chemistry (IPC), then transition to Biology as sophomores, choose EITHER Chemistry or Physics for their junior year and finally choose a 4th year course from the aforementioned list.  The hope is that by introducing the basic concepts from Chemistry and Physics during IPC, these students can choose to focus on the course during their junior year that best fits their needs or personal strengths.

Hope this helps!

This was posted on May 6, 2016 at 3:25 PM ET by Jazz Etter.
Re: Re: HS Science Sequence

Our students take biology (9th) then chemistry for higher level and ICP for others  (10th)  Then in Indiana they are required to take at least one more science class, although a majority take at least 4 years some 5 or six.  Our electives include: zoology, anatomy and physiology (dual credit with local college), robotics, forensics, envrionmental science, phsics, AP biology, AP environmental science and AP chemistry. (all with 4 teachers and about 500 students!)

This was posted on May 10, 2016 at 10:18 PM ET by Kim Terry.
Re: Re: HS Science Sequence

Our students take biology (9th) then chemistry for higher level and ICP for others  (10th)  Then in Indiana they are required to take at least one more science class, although a majority take at least 4 years some 5 or six.  Our electives include: zoology, anatomy and physiology (dual credit with local college), robotics, forensics, envrionmental science, phsics, AP biology, AP environmental science and AP chemistry. (all with 4 teachers and about 500 students!)

This was posted on May 10, 2016 at 10:18 PM ET by Kim Terry.
Re: HS Science Sequence

Our campus follows the Biology, Chemistry and Physics track. In their Senior year, the students are provided with AP or Dual Credit (Chemistry,Physics, Environmental Science, Geology or Astronomy) options. The advanced students, of course, have the option on doubling up on their Science credit either on their Juniot or Senior year.

This was posted on May 8, 2016 at 10:36 PM ET by James Sy.
Re: HS Science Sequence

We start with biology in the 9th grade for stduents that are ready for that rigor - if not they take physical science.  Following biology they take chemistry or physics depending on their math level and their preference.  They then have the option to take any of the APs: Biology Chemistry or physic. We are in the process of developing and Anatomy Physiology class that would follow biology and chemistry.  We have found that the biggest difficulty is if math levels are different  for chemistry and expecially physics.  Good luck.

This was posted on May 10, 2016 at 1:48 AM ET by Robin Cowen.
Re: HS Science Sequence

I just had this changed this year in my school. The freshmen take biology, the sophomores take a physical science/chemistry/earth science mix and then they are able to take various electives such as chemistry, physics, anatomy & physiology, advanced biology, environmental science, or applied science. I agree that it is tough to fit in the geology component using the NGSS, but we decided to put it in to the 10th grade curriculum. Hope that helps!

This was posted on May 8, 2015 at 9:29 PM ET by Laura Mibeck.
Re: Re: HS Science Sequence

We are entering the next school year by implementing the new NGSS curriculum breakdowns.  Our on level students currently take  Matter and Energy freshman year, Chemistry sophomore year, biology junior year, and whatever they desire senior year.  Our more advanced students take physics freshman year, and double up on Biology and Chemistry their sophomore year, giving them 2 years to take AP science classes.  Most take AP chem, bio, and/or environmental science.  Many take Anatomy and Phsiology in addition to these.   I also agree regarding the Geology component.  We also decided to put in the biology 10th or 11th  grade curriculum. 

This was posted on May 9, 2015 at 10:13 AM ET by May Shlash.
Re: HS Science Sequence

We restructured our science curriculum so that freshman take physical science, sophomores take chemistry, and juniors take biology.  However, the sophomore year of chemistry has proven to be difficult for many of our students even though we offered it at two different levels.  This upcoming school year we are pushing for physical science, integrated science/chemistry, and then biology.  Students will be left with the choice though and so might lead to the same problems you currently deal with.  The thinking is that the students might get more excited about science classes if they are allowed the freedom to choose what interests them the most.  We currently offer biology (both regular and dual credit), chemistry I and II (dual credit), forensics, anatomy and physiology, physics, physical science, we will add to this list next year with AP environmental science, and integrated science.

This was posted on May 11, 2015 at 9:58 PM ET by Chelsey Servantes.
Re: Re: HS Science Sequence

How many years/credits of science do your schools require? Mine requires 3 years, but one of our Ag. classes counts if they take it. So some kids really get only get 2 years of science with the science teachers... making it even more difficult to hit ALL of the NGSS standards. 

This was posted on May 20, 2015 at 8:57 AM ET by Aubrey Mikos.
Re: Re: Re: HS Science Sequence

In Alabama you must take 4 science courses to graduate. 1 has to be Biology, 1 has to be a physical science (Chemistry and/or Physics) and the other 2 can be electives. Biology is matched up pretty well with the NGSS standards but the other classes are really lacking.  Some students double up and take 2 or even 3 sciences in one year leaving them with no sciences for their remaining years. 

This was posted on April 13, 2017 at 9:20 AM ET by Beth Bowers.
Re: Re: Re: HS Science Sequence

We require 3 years of science.  Even with that, it is difficult to hit all NGSS due to gaps in learning that are already abundant.  Perhaps you can coordinate with your Ag teacher to see what NGSS they can legitimately work into their curriculum, or if perhaps they are hitting some of them already. 

This was posted on May 25, 2015 at 4:36 PM ET by Chelsey Servantes.