Science Department

  • Radnor’s science curriculum follows a long tradition of engaging students in active learning. The science program provides students with depth and breadth of scientific knowledge and skills through a well-defined sequence of studies. The sequence of classes in our science program is, in order, biology, chemistry, and physics. It is strongly recommended that the sequence below is followed in order. Each discipline has three levels of instruction, and each level has different expectations and requirements. Students are expected to select an appropriate level from biological and physical sciences as they progress through the core sequence of biology, chemistry, and physics. Students must complete the core sequence prior to taking Advanced Placement or higher level science courses. With teacher recommendation students can take AP courses concurrently with the appropriate core science course. The science electives, Bioethics, and Genetics, are offered to juniors and seniors.

    An Honors level class has the highest emphasis on rigor and mastery of the sciences. Students are highly motivated and hard-working learners capable of independent study at a rigorous pace. The average honors student will have 4-6 hours/week of out-of-class work including homework and written laboratory reports. The honors level assignments will engage students with higher critical thinking skills with the greatest conceptual understanding. These students are expected to study and read beyond what is done in the classroom. Higher critical thinking skills such as evaluation, synthesis, and analysis of data and concepts are emphasized. Students must be in either the advanced or more likely the honors level mathematics classes for success at this level.

    An Advanced level class has a moderate pacing and workload. These advanced level classes are for students motivated in science and capable of some independent work. The average advanced student will have 3-4 hours/week of out-of-class work including homework and written laboratory reports. The assignments are more concrete and teacher-lead. Students are challenged to improve their critical thinking skills such as analysis, comparison and contrast concepts and also the ability to collect, organize, and interpret data. Students must be at the advanced math level to achieve maximum success.

    A College Preparatory level class is paced appropriately for the students and emphasizes the fundamental concepts, vocabulary, and skills of each discipline. Hands-on activities and laboratory investigations are important in developing student understanding. The average academic student will have 2-3 hours/week of out-of-class work that includes homework and lab work that will reinforce concepts learned in the classroom. Assignments and tests emphasize  comprehension, application, and analysis. They also stress more concrete concepts with greater hands-on applications. Students starting at this level will have the highest degree of teacher guidance, but will work toward greater selfreliance by the end of the course.

    An elective class is one that is associated with one of the sciences. These courses count toward graduation credits but do not satisfy sciencerequirements for graduation. In addition to AP Courses, students may select a fourth year of science at the College-Preparatory level.

    Radnor High School Science Courses Flowchart

    Note: With teacher recommendation, students may move from one level to another

9th-Grade Offerings

  • Science and the Environment CP (05030354)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily

    Science and the Environment is a multidisciplinary science coursethat combines aspects of all branches of science. Students explore scientific concepts and are involved in scientific inquiry through hands-on activities. Critical thinking skills and problem solving are developed along with observation, interpretation and communication skills. Content of the course consists of a wide variety of selected topics based on the Pennsylvania Science Standards with emphasis on practical applications.

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  • Biology studies the living world in a multitude of ways. Students will explore this broad field through readings, lectures, research, and laboratory investigations. The topics covered in all levels of Biology will include, but not be exclusive to, Biochemistry, Taxonomy, Cytology, Microbiology, Genetics, Ecology, Comparative Anatomy, and Evolution. All biology courses will prepare students for the Biology Keystone Exams given in May. Those students not passing this exam must take the remediation course, Keystone Biology.

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  • Biology H (05030320)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Co-requisite(s): Enrollment in Algebra 1 A (0414) and the 8th grade team recommendation; Geometry H or higher

    Biology H is a course where learning is focused on enriched content and offered at an accelerated pace. Students are expected to independently read the text. Honors Biology provides students with a rigorous and comprehensive study of biological themes. Laboratory investigations with accompanying detailed written reports form a framework for the development of critical thinking skills. Emphasis is placed on the ability of students to learn independently outside the classroom. Students who have successfully completed Biology H are able to cover all the material in Biology 322 in addition to being able to: explain how cells store and use information to guide their functions, understand the relationship among DNA, genes and chromosomes as well as different types of inheritance patterns, distinguish between different reproductive patterns in living things, and describe the factors affecting gene frequency in a population over time and the related consequences. Students taking Biology H are expected to remain on the honors track, taking Chemistry H and Physics H in the subsequent years.

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  • Biology A (05030322)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Co-requisite(s): Algebra 1 A (0414) or Geometry A or higher

    Biology A is a college-prep level course where learning is structured to enhance the development of higher level thinking skills using an appropriate pace and challenging content. Students are expected to work both in teams as well as independently in the writing of laboratory reports and in the preparation of projects. Students who have successfully completed this course are able to cover the topics listed for Biology 324 in addition to being able to apply their knowledge of Genetics to the understanding of the Human Genome Project and the ramifications of gene manipulation, genetic engineering and genetic technology as a whole.

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10th-Grade Offerings

  • Biology CP (05030324)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Co-requisite(s): Enrollment in Algebra 1 CP (0416) or higher

    Biology CP is an academic course where learning is accomplished through guided instruction. A moderate pace is used to develop thinking skills and to prepare students to meet the Pennsylvania graduation requirements. Students are involved in laboratory investigations where both individual and group work is assigned. At the close of the course, students are able to: understand the basic chemical and structural basis of living organisms, describe how genetic information is inherited and expressed, explain the mechanisms of the theory of evolution and the role of mutations and gene recombination in changing a population or organisms, and apply the concept of natural selection to illustrate and account for a species’ survival or extinction.

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  • In chemistry courses students learn how current models of the submicroscopic world of atoms and molecules explain observable, real-world phenomena. The course emphasizes the organization of the periodic table and its use in predicting the properties of matter. In labs students make observations and draw conclusions based on the current models they are studying. Throughout the course, students are exposed to the language of chemistry.

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  • Chemistry H (05030330)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Prerequisite(s): Biology H or Biology A
    Co-requisite(s): Algebra 2 H or higher

    Chemistry H provides students with a rigorous study of fundamental chemical concepts including: the scientific method, handling of laboratory data, atomic structure, states of matter, stoichiometry, chemical reactions, gas laws, thermochemistry, light and electrons, periodicity, equilibrium, kinetics, and acids and bases. Students need to be highly motivated in science and math. The course stresses the development of problem solving and thinking skills that are used in Physics H and second year courses.

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  • Chemistry A (05030332)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Prerequisite(s): Biology A
    Co-requisite(s): Geometry A with teacher recommendation or Algebra 2 A or higher

    Chemistry A is a college-preparatory course that prepares students for further study in science at the college level. Advanced chemistry covers the traditional first year topics of chemistry including the structure of the atom, the formation of compounds, chemical reactions, the periodic table, stoichiometry, the gas laws, and periodic properties. Some level of independent work is required.

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11th-Grade Offerings - Physics Curriculum

  • Chemistry CP (05030334)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Prerequisite(s): Biology or Teacher Recommendation

    In Chemistry CP students study the basic structures and properties of matter. Although some algebra is used in the class, the heaviest emphasis is placed on a conceptual understanding. Lab work acquaints students with basic chemistry lab techniques and reinforces the concepts covered in class. Whenever possible, chemistry is related to students’ everyday lives.

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  • Physics is the study of matter and energy and their interactions. The fields of physics covered in the core curriculum include mechanics (motion, forces, energy, and momentum), optics (lenses and mirrors) and electricity (current, voltage, resistance, and circuits). In physics, quantities are measured and mathematical relationships and laws are discovered to better understand the world. All levels of physics are lab-based courses emphasizing the discovery of these laws and relationships. All courses emphasize problem solving and real life applications.

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  • AP Physics 1 (05030340)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Prerequisite(s): Chemistry A or higher; Biology A and higher
    Co-requisite(s): Pre-Calculus H or higher

    AP Physics 1 is an algebra-based course that provides a rigorous and thorough examination of physics that is usually taken as a first semester college course. The topics for this course include Newtonian mechanics (including rotational motion), work, energy, power and waves. Later in the year, students will be introduced to electricity and magnetism. Students will develop a deep understanding of the content and focus their knowledge through inquiry labs. Extensive reading of the textbook and writing formal lab reports are expected of these self-directed students. Following AP Physics 1 students are able to take AP Physics 2 or AP Physics C. This is a PLTW + AP Pathway course.

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  • Physics A (05030342)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted

    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Prerequisite(s): Chemistry A & Biology A
    Co-requisite(s): Algebra II A with teacher recommendation or Algebra III/Trigonometry A or higher

    Physics A is an algebra-based college preparatory course which provides a challenging examination of the core curriculum as well as the topics of waves and magnetism. Reading of the textbook and writing many lab reports are expected of these students.

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12th-Grade Offerings - Physics Curriculum

  • Physics CP (05030344)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted

    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Prerequisite(s): Biology CP & Chemistry CP
    Co-requisite(s): Algebra 2 or higher

    This course approaches core curriculum on a more conceptual level with less emphasis on mathematical relationships. However, some basic mathematical skills are needed for problem solving and laboratory work. The labs and activities help in the understanding of concepts, enhance basic science skills, and require students to organize and interpret data.

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Science Department Electives

  • Chemistry 2 A (05030362)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 12
    Prerequisite(s): Chemistry A and Physics A for seniors; or Chemistry A and taking Physics A concurrently as a junior)

    This course is an opportunity for students to continue studying chemistry in depth through a second year course. Topics will include a review from Chemistry with additional new content, such as, but not limited to: solutions, acids and bases, equilibrium, thermodynamics, redox, nuclear chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry, and environmental chemistry along with a laboratory component. Emphasis will be placed on real world applications in chemistry. Students interested in this course may consider majoring in biological or chemical sciences, medicine or nursing and would benefit from second year chemistry course.

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  • Physics 2 A (05030372)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 12
    Prerequisite: Physics A or higher

    This course is an opportunity for students to continue studying physics in depth through a second year course. Topics will include content from Physics covered in greater depth and new topics such as, fluid dynamics, thermal physics, nuclear physics and some contemporary topics in physics. The course emphasizes concepts, problem solving, applications and projects in physics.

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  • Anatomy and Physiology A (05030352)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted

    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 12
    Prerequisite(s): Biology Adv or Higher; Physics or Higher

    Anatomy and Physiology is the study of the body’s structures and respective functions at the molecular/biochemical, cellular, tissue, organ, systemic, and organism levels. Students explore the body through laboratory investigations, models, diagrams, and comparative studies of the anatomy of the cat. The study of anatomy and physiology prepares students for a variety of career endeavors such as health care, sports medicine, and fitness careers, as well as for taking an active part in their own health and wellness.

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  • Genetics (05030376)


    0.5 Credit; Unweighted

    Length: Semester; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 11, 12
    Prerequisite(s): Biology CP & Chemistry CP with a grade of a “B”

    This is a non-lab human genetics course. Genetics begins with a review of the fundamentals of genetics and works through the current information coming from current research as well as the Human Genome Project. Current topics in DNA technology, DNA evidence, cloning, genetic defects, and genetic counseling are discussed. The course also deals with the continuing discussion of “nature vs. nurture.” Critical thinking skills, research, and analysis of ideas are emphasized in short investigations and projects.

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  • Bioethics (05030386)


    0.5 Credit; Unweighted
    Length: Semester; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 11, 12

    Bioethics challenges students to assess what is going on in the sciences that may be pushing the limits of ethics, personal morality, and the “natural order.” Students are encouraged to explore difficult issues through readings, research, and discussion. The course emphasizes critical thinking, research, debate and listening skills. Current technology and interviews are among the techniques used to research discussion topics. Among the topics covered are animal rights, organ transplants, genetic engineering, euthanasia, abortion rights, and embryonic engineering as well as other current and controversial topics.

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  • Principles of Biomedical Science H (05030390)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted

    Grade(s): 10, 11, 12
    Prerequisite(s): Biology H, Chemistry and Physics
    Co-requisite(s): Chemistry H and Teacher Recommendation; or Physics H and Teacher Recommendation

    The Principles of Biomedical Science (PBS) course provides an introduction to biomedical science through exciting hands-on projects and problems. Students investigate concepts of biology and medicine as they explore health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, sickle-cell disease, hypercholesterolemia, and infectious diseases. The activities and projects in PBS introduce students to human physiology, basic biology, medicine, and research processes and allow students to design experiments to solve problems. Key biological concepts, including maintenance of homeostasis in the body, metabolism, inheritance of traits, and defense against disease are embedded in the curriculum. Students practice problem solving with structured activities and progress to open-ended projects and problems that require them to develop planning, documentation, communication, and other professional skills. This is a PLTW + AP Pathway course.

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  • Earth and Space Science A (05030388)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted

    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s):11, 12
    Prerequisite(s): Physics A for seniors; or taking Physics A concurrently as a junior

    The primary aim of the course will be to study the major spheres of Earth, including the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere in terms of their structure, composition, and evolution. Throughout the coursework, an emphasis will be placed on how human activity has impacted these spheres and what the consequences of continued activity may be. In addition, the course will include an astronomy component that discusses Earth’s place in space and the evolution of the universe. Current, pressing issues in science, such as global warming, climate change, water scarcity, alternate energy sources, and nuclear waste disposal will be discussed in detail. New state-of-the-art technologies like photovoltaic cells and the detection of Earthsized extra solar planets will be highlighted in the course as well.

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Advanced Placement Science Courses

  • These advanced courses are meant to be taken in addition to rather than in place of first year courses in biology, chemistry, and physics.

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  • Advanced Placement Biology (05030350)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Prerequisite(s): Biology H, Chemistry and Physics
    Co-requisite(s): Chemistry H and Teacher Recommendation; or Physics H and Teacher Recommendation:
    NOTE: AP Biology is generally a senior level course taken after the 3 core science courses; in some instances it can be taken concurrently with honors chemistry or honors physics, but only with teacher recommendation.

    AP Biology requires students to go beyond factual recall and demonstrate the skills required for analysis and reasoning. The course uses a curriculum framework that develops advanced inquiry and reasoning skills; including designing a plan for collecting data, analyzing data, applying mathematical routines, and connecting concepts in and across domains. AP Biology is equivalent to a two-semester college introductory biology course. The four big ideas that frame the course are: the process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life; biological systems utilize free energy and utilize building block to grow to reproduce and to maintain dynamic homeostasis; living systems restore, receive, transmit and respond to information essential to life’s processes; and biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties. (S) This is a PLTW + AP S Pathway course.

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  • Advanced Placement Chemistry (05030360)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Prerequisite(s): Chemistry H and Pre-Calculus H
    Co-requisite(s): Physics H and Teacher Recommendation
    NOTE: AP Chemistry is generally a senior level course taken after the 3 core science courses; in some instances it can be taken concurrently with AP Physics I, but only with teacher recommendation.

    Advanced Placement Chemistry is a challenging second year chemistry course that prepares students to take the Advanced Placement Chemistry exam by providing college-level chemistry instruction. Because of the rigor of the exam, success in Advanced Placement Chemistry requires a serious commitment to independent study and outside-of-class work. It is intended for those students with a strong math and science background who are interested in pursuing a career in science, medicine or engineering. (S) This is a PLTW + AP Pathway course.

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  • Advanced Placement Environmental Science (05030380)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted

    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Prerequisite(s): Teacher recommendation; and Chemistry H or Physics A
    NOTE: AP Environmental Science is generally a senior level course taken after the 3 core science courses; in some instances it can be taken concurrently with honors level courses, but only with teacher recommendation

    The AP Environmental Science course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science. Environmental science is offered from a wide variety of disciplines, including geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental science,  chemistry, and geography. It is a rigorous science course that stresses scientific principles and analysis and includes a significant laboratory component. AP Environmental Science will cover the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Fieldwork, extensive reading of the textbook, and writing formal lab reports are expected of these self-directed students. This is a PLTW + AP Pathway course.

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  • Advanced Placement Physics 2 (05030368)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted

    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Prerequisite(s): AP Physics 1
    Co-requisite(s): Pre-Calc H

    Advanced Placement Physics 2 is an algebra–based, college-level course that follows the prescribed curriculum of the College Board. This course prepares students for the AP Physics 2 Exam. The topics included in this course are fluid mechanics, thermal physics, waves, optics, modern physics, and electricity and magnetism. These students must have a serious commitment to independent study and outside-of-class work. This course is for motivated students who enjoy problem solving and performing inquiry based labs. It is intended for those students who are going to pursue a career in science, medicine, or engineering. This is a PLTW + AP Pathway course.

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  • Advanced Placement Physics C (05030371)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted

    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Prerequisite(s): AP Physics 1 or Teacher Recommendation
    Co-requisite(s): Calc 1 H or higher

    AP Physics C is a calculus based college-level course that follows the prescribed curriculum of College Board. The topics in this fast paced class include both Mechanics (Kinematics, Dynamics, Energy, Circular Motion and Oscillations) and Electricity and Magnetism (Electrostatics, Conductors, Electric Circuits, Magnetic Fields, and Electromagnetism). This full year course prepares students for the AP Physics C exams in both Mechanics and in Electricity and Magnetism. Students taking AP Physics C must have some of the best mathematic skills. This course is for extremely motivated students who enjoy problem solving and performing authentic labs. It is intended for those students who are going to pursue a career in science, medicine or engineering. This is a PLTW + AP Pathway course.

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