**COURSE DESCRIPTIONS 2023-2024**

Science - English - Math

Science - English - Math

All classes are taught at 6901 Turkey Farm Road in Chapel Hill.

**SCIENCE COURSES**- MR. JIM MUELLER

__Biology, High School__

Fridays, 1:15-3:15

Biology is the study of life, and in this class we will start from the very small and work our way up to the very large. We will begin the year by looking at the very elements and molecules that make all life work. From there, we will move to cells, genetics, evolution, taxonomy, animal behavior, and ecology. Along the way we will have labs and activities that help to reinforce the concepts.

Prerequisites: None

__Physics, High School__

Wednesdays, 1:15-3:15

Physics is the study of motion and energy, and in this class we will break up the year into those two major topics. The first half of the year will consist of the study of motion, including such topics as velocity, acceleration, Newton’s Laws, momentum, and more. The second half of the year we will study the more abstract concepts surrounding energy, including potential energy, kinetic energy, waves, resonance, sound, and light. Most classes will have lab work in which the students will put the concepts and the math that we have covered in class to real-world applications.

Prerequisites: Students should have a very firm handle on algebra one. We will be working heavily with formulas and the more familiar a student is with math the better they will do in this class.

__Chemistry, High School__

Tuesdays, 1:15-3:15

Chemistry is the study of atoms and molecules and how they interact. This class is designed to give the students a firm understanding of basic chemistry concepts so that they will be well prepared if they wish to take a chemistry or biochemistry class in college. For the first part of the year, the students learn the “language” of chemistry. First, they will learn how to use the "alphabet" of chemistry: the periodic table. From there they will learn to create “words” with their "alphabet" by understanding how different atoms form molecules and how nomenclature is used to name those molecules. After that, they will finally begin to form sentences, which in chemistry is learning how to read, write, and balance chemical equations. Once we’ve learned the language, we will begin using it as we move on to stoichiometry, acids and bases, gas laws and more. Hands-on activities and labs will be used to reinforce and enhance the concepts as the year goes on.

Prerequisites: Students should have a very firm handle on Algebra 1. The more familiar a student is with math, the better they will do in this class.

__Environmental Science, High School__

Mondays, 1:15-3:15

In Environmental Science, students will develop an appreciation for environmental processes and discover how they are integrated with all other sciences and society. Throughout the year we will explore agriculture, meteorology, soil, fresh water biomes, population growth, and much more. We will also be looking at energy sources and efficiency. This class will be focused on the science of the environment and the interaction between the environment and humanity. Each concept will be accompanied by activities, labs, and demonstrations. We will also be creating an eco-column that will house plants, insects, and even a fish. This is an excellent course for students who may be looking for a low-math alternative to science. This class is not only a great class for early level science students but also for later level students since Environmental Science is multi-disciplinary and does a wonderful job pulling in concepts from biology, chemistry, and even physics.

__Chemistry, Middle School Waitlisting__

Thursday, 1:15-3:15A fun, hands-on, introduction to Chemistry. Chemistry focuses on matter. What is it and how does it interact to create different forms and substances. We will be covering atoms, molecules, the chemistry of water, fire, acids and bases, chemical equations, the periodic table and more during this course.

This course is one of three revolving, year-long science courses: MS Chemistry, MS Earth science, and MS Physics.

**ENGLISH**

**COURSES**- MRS. JEN MUELLER

__Literature and Composition 1__

Thursdays, 10:45-12:45

This course lays a strong foundation in the formal study of language arts, covering the subjects of grammar and punctuation, composition, literature study, and poetics. In grammar, students will learn and practice all four levels of grammar: parts of speech, parts of the sentence, phrases, and clauses. By year's end, they will be able to parse a sentence with confidence. The focus of the composition curriculum will be on the development of well-crafted descriptive, narrative, and expository pieces, including the skills of paraphrasing, summarizing, and basic outlining. Through the study of engaging classics of literature (short stories, novels, plays, and poetry), students will learn to identify common themes, literary devices, and plot structure, all the while developing in comprehension, vocabulary decoding, and critical thinking skills. Whole-class and small-group discussion along with weekly journal assignments will aid students in connecting deeply with the works they read.

Suitable for Grades 6-8: Visit the Placement Guide for more information.

__Literature and Composition 2__

Tuesdays, 10:45-12:45

This class builds upon the foundation laid in Lit & Comp 1. We will continue our study of grammar, and will practice applying our knowledge to improve our compositions. Through reading engaging classics of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, students will continue to develop an appreciation of literature. They will identify common themes and a broad range of literary devices, as well as develop comprehension, vocabulary decoding, and critical thinking skills. Lively discussion and weekly journaling will aid students in exploring and connecting deeply with the works they read. In composition, we will review and build upon the skills students learned in Lit & Comp 1; however, our main focus will be expository writing. We will learn the basic elements of a formal persuasive essay, concentrating on structure, organization, coherence, word choice, and meaningful content. Basic MLA formatting will be introduced.

Suitable for Grades 7-9: See the Placement Guide for more information.

__Literature and Composition 3, Honors__

Fridays, 10:45-12:45

In this class the focus will be on more advanced instruction in expository essay writing including comparison and literary analysis. Students will learn and practice more advanced skills in literary criticism, quotation usage, paragraph organization, sentence complexity, and MLA formatting. We will continue to work with the four levels of grammar on more challenging sentences, and will practice applying this knowledge to improve our compositions. Through reading engaging works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, students will practice critical analysis of literary elements as well as develop in comprehension, vocabulary decoding, and critical thinking skills. Lively discussion and debate will aid students in analyzing and connecting deeply with the works they read.

Suitable for Grades 8--10: See the Placement Guide for more information.

__Honors HS English Literature and Academic Writing__(Pre-AP)

Mondays. 10:45-12:45

This class will take a tour of literary periods from Ancient Epics through the modern period The class will integrate a thorough survey of literary genres (novels, short stories, poetry, drama), literary analysis, and composition. Through reading complex literary works, students will develop critical thinking skills, value evidence, and build academic language to engage in lively discussions. Students will be introduced to the basics of Rhetoric and argumentation. Along with direct instruction over a variety of writing assignments aimed at developing style, students will continue to develop their advanced academic essay writing skills with trimester research papers for which they must use MLA formatting and standard proofreader's marks. All writing will be integrated with grammar and techniques of style.

This is a challenging, Pre-AP level course, suitable for grades 9-11: See the Placement Guide for more information.

**MATH COURSES**- MR. ROB RICH

__Pre-Algebra__

Thursdays, 8:30-10:30

The Pre-Algebra curriculum is focused on developing the mathematical capacities essential to the study of Algebra. This course will promote enhanced proficiency with standard mathematical principles and practices involving fractions, decimals, mixed numbers, percentages, the distributive property, and order of operations. Students will develop proficiency with the essential concepts of factoring, divisibility testing, least common denominators (LCD), greatest common factors (GCF), ratios, rates and proportions. Students will also be introduced to the foundational concept of Algebra, the variable, along with variable expressions and equations. Students will learn to solve single-variable equations and word problems. The principles of exponents and roots will be presented and practiced, as will perimeter, area, and volume.

Prerequisites: It is assumed that students have basic computational skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division); understand place value; and have a basic understanding of fractions and decimals.

__Algebra 1__

Tuesdays, 8:30-10:30

When students move from arithmetic to Algebra, they are moving from the realm of the tangible to the realm of the abstract. They are making a shift from real numbers, which are constant, to variables, which are not. The work of the Algebra 1 course grounds them in this more fluid way of thinking. At the same time that their thinking is becoming more fluid, the methods and practices are relatively formal, requiring close attention, precision and sequential thinking. The course will cover variables, linear equations, graphing, functions, systems of equations, and absolute value. See course syllabus for more detail on the topics to be covered.

Pre-requisites: Students shall be proficient in the skills listed in the Pre-Algebra course syllabus.

__Geometry__

Wednesdays, 8:30-10:30

Geometry is everywhere around us, in both the natural and Anthropocene worlds, and we can gain practical knowledge and personal satisfaction from understanding its rules and operating principles. This course covers the foundational content of plane geometry including points, lines, planes, angles, parallel lines, the theorems for similar and congruent triangles, right triangles, two-column proofs, circles, quadrilaterals, areas, the distance formula and the midpoint formula.

Pre-requisites: Students shall be proficient in the skills listed in the Algebra 1 course syllabus.

__Algebra 2__

Fridays, 8:30-10:30

Algebra 2 provides a deeper immersion into the study of a wide range of functions, their characteristics, their solution methods, and their graphs. The course examines the qualities and importance of irrational and imaginary numbers, as well as fractional and negative exponents, and how they can be manipulated and simplified. The basic principles and methods of trigonometry are introduced, along with real-world applications and hands-on instruction in the use of surveying equipment. From a broader perspective, Algebra 2 is a training ground for precise and effective analytical thinking.

Pre-requisites: Students shall be proficient in the skills listed in the Algebra 1 course syllabus.