An MVCDS Education

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Science

The Science Department at Maumee Valley fosters an environment where students are observant of the natural world, make inquiries about their surroundings, and have the ability to analyze and reflect in light of accepted scientific research.

  • S-Alternative Energy

    This is a survey course of alternative energy technologies including photovoltaic, solar thermal, wind, biomass, and nuclear. Student labs will design and fabricate small scale generation systems, collect data and analyze variables that affect efficiency and viability of installations. Individual and societal energy needs and conservation efforts will also be addressed. Students will work primarily in small groups in order to complete projects and presentations.


  • S-AP Bio**

    AP Biology is a course for students interested in delving more deeply into the broad field of biology and preparing to take the AP Biology test in May.  It is designed to be the equivalent of a college introductory biology course taken by biology majors during their first year. This course will delve deeply into the molecular and cellular aspects of biology.   Respiration and photosynthesis, enzymes, homeostatic maintenance,   molecular genetics and gene expression will be covered.  The evolutionary history of organisms is emphasized, and ecology will be reviewed.  Experimental design, data accumulation and data analysis will be explored in frequent labs throughout the semester.  The ability to synthesize challenging scientific concepts, analyze them, and then communicate this analysis in writing are critical skills required to be successful in this course.

    This course requires an extensive time commitment.  Significant independent work outside of the classroom is expected, and students may need to complete additional lab work during their free periods.  Additional work over school breaks may also be required in order to cover the content required by the College Board. Students are required to take the AP exam in biology. Juniors who do well in the course may elect to take the SAT II Biology/E or SAT II Biology/M tests.  (Estimated exam cost: $95)
     
  • S-AP Chem**

    AP Chemistry is equivalent to a college level general chemistry course that provides rigorous study in four major areas: structure of matter, states of matter, chemical reactions and descriptive chemistry. Students must be highly motivated to tackle this rigorous course. Students will develop and demonstrate a basic ability to apply mathematical solutions to problems involving atomic theory and structures, chemical bonding, nuclear chemistry, kinetic theory, solutions, reaction types, stoichiometry, equilibrium, kinetics, thermodynamics, and descriptive chemistry. Evaluation will be based on homework, lab reports and tests. This course requires an extensive time commitment. Significant independent work outside of the classroom is expected, and students may need to complete additional lab work during their free periods. Additional work over school breaks may also be required in order to cover the content required by the College Board. (Estimated exam cost: $95)
  • S-AP Physics**

    AP Physics 1 is an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course. Students cultivate their understanding of Physics through inquiry-based investigations as they explore topics such as Newtonian mechanics (including rotational motion); work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sound; and introductory charge and simple circuits. It is most appropriate for those students with a strong interest in science who plan to continue to study related sciences in college such as physics, engineering, architecture, and medicine.  (Estimated exam cost: $95)  
  • S-Bio I

    Biology I is meant to give students a strong foundation in the core themes of life science.  We begin the semester learning about the characteristics and organization of life, and then build on our knowledge by studying population interactions, evolution, patterns of inheritance, and we end with a discussion of energy cycling.  Science skills are a focus of this introductory course as students will be constructing their understanding by making claims based on gathered evidence, presenting their reasoning and refining their understanding through frequent discussion and laboratory experiences.  This course acts as a prerequisite for all other life science electives.  Students from grades 9-12 are eligible to take this course.
  • S-Bio II: Animal

    This course will introduce you to the mechanisms and evolution of animal behavior. We will examine basic principles derived from evolution, ecology, physiology, and development and use these principles to explain how and why animals behave as they do in particular situations. We will study a wide array of behaviors including foraging, communication, migration, predator-prey interactions, territoriality, mating, and parental care.  Laboratory exercises will provide hands-on experience for many of these concepts.  Learn why bees dance, ducklings follow their moms, and zebras hang out together!
  • S-Bio II: Anthropology


    Course Description:
     Biological Anthropology is the study of human biology within the framework of evolution. In this class, we will investigate human biology through the study of inheritance, population biology, and the principles of evolution. As humans are classified within the Order Primates, we will also study the evolution, ecology, and behavior of our closest living relatives: prosimians, monkeys and apes. We will spend considerable time examining the fossil record of the human lineage, starting in the Miocene and concluding with the emergence of anatomically modern human beings. Finally, we will examine the significance of human adaptability and investigate the various ways in which the human species has adapted -- and is continuing to adapt -- to habitats around the world.

    Prerequisite: Biology I.
  • S-Bio II: Microbio


    Course Description:
     In microbiology, we will survey the exciting diversity of the microbial world. Topics will include the diversity of prokaryotic life as we look at a wide array of bacterial species, as well as viruses and selected eukaryotic members from the kingdoms Protista and Fungi. Emphasis will be on biosystematics, metabolism, economic importance, symbiosis and the ecology of microorganisms. Study of There will be extensive laboratory work including identification and culture methods.

    Prerequisites: Biology I and Chemistry I.
  • S-Bio II: Pop. Ecology

    This course is designed to take advantage of the green space on campus and use it as a field laboratory.   We will be expanding our understanding of evolutionary biology from the Biology I course and learning about population ecology and some aspects of community ecology.  Topics include population growth and regulation, demography, interspecific interactions, population genetics, evolution of life histories, and conservation of populations. In addition to our learning in the traditional classroom environment, we will be learning how to take field data of both animal and plant populations, we will be monitoring populations on campus over time, and we will be conducting field experiments.
  • S-Bio II: Zoology


    Course Description:
     Zoology covers the evolutionary history of the kingdom Animalia, beginning with a review of protozoans and concluding with an overview of vertebrates. The focus will be on comparative anatomy and physiology of invertebrates emphasizing aquatic forms, and highlighting those phyla that are of particular economic and ecological significance to humans and our environment. The laboratory component of this course will be extensive and will require the observation and dissection of many different animals.

    Prerequisites: Biology I and Chemistry I.
  • S-Bio II:Winter Survival

    Grades 10-12 Prerequisites: Biology I AND Chemistry I
    How do people and organisms survive the winter?  The trees have lost their leaves, crops have been harvested, and the ground is cold and covered in snow. How do humans preserve food when the growing season ends? How do modern techniques compare to those practiced by our ancestors?  How is food preservation scaled to accommodate the growing human population?  Why do some animals migrate or hibernate while others don’t?  Why do some plants lose their leaves, while others are green all year long?  Why do we dress in wool in the winter and not cotton?  We will explore how organisms (including humans) have adapted behaviorally and structurally to handle the long, dark winters.  We will be going outside in the cold and we will be dealing with anatomical specimens, so warm clothes and a strong stomach are a requirement! (Counts toward life science credit)
  • S-Bio III: Biotech

    Prerequisites: Either Human Genetics, Microbiology, or AP Biology 
    This course will utilize concepts and understandings from prerequisite advanced biology courses to learn about and explore molecular genetics and microbiological techniques used to gather data and manipulate biological systems in current molecular genetics laboratories.  Students will perform extensive wet bench laboratory work in order to develop a panel of molecular genetic markers that can be used to collect information on an individual’s regional heritage; similar to what are used in ancestry or 23&Me genetic tests.  Techniques learned will include: DNA extraction & purification, polymerase chain reaction, gel electrophoresis, restriction digests, and bacterial transformations.
    (Counts toward Life Science Credit)
  • S-BioIII:Anatomy

    Prerequisites: Biology 1or  Chemistry 1 and either Zoology or AP Biology
    The anatomy and physiology of humans will be the focus of this course.  You will learn anatomical terminology; as well as expand your understanding of basic biochemistry, cells, tissues, and homeostasis.  In addition, you will learn how the human body is organized as you review the skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic/immune, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems.  You will also be introduced to some common disease processes.  Upon completion, you should be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of principles of anatomy and physiology and their interrelationships.  Laboratory work includes dissection of preserved specimens, microscopic study, physiologic experiments, computer simulations, and multimedia presentations. The laboratory component of this course will be extensive and will require the observation and dissection of many different animals.
  • S-Biology II: Genetics

    How do geneticists study families or populations of individuals with a genetic disease to identify the disease­ associated mutations? How does a mutation in the human genome lead to a specific disease phenotype? How can this genetic information be used to benefit patient populations? These are just a few of the questions that Human Genetics addresses using examples from the current and classical scientific literature. The course looks at strategies for mapping disease ­associated genetic variation, the design and interpretation of experiments to understand the genetic pathology of the mutations. From there, the focus turns to specific ways mutations are formed and the associated phenotypes including point and frame shift mutations, large and small chromosomal rearrangements, and epigenetic modifications. The course ends with a discussion on how genetic discoveries are converted to genetic tests, how these tests are selected for an individual patient, and how this selection process applies to different life stages.  There will be extensive simulations and labs during this course allowing students to learn how to manipulate, analyze, and interpret genetic data at a molecular level.
  • S-Chem I

    Chemistry is the science that describes matter, its chemical and physical properties, the chemical and physical changes that it undergoes, and the energy changes that accompany those processes.  The course begins with a study of measurement to lay the foundation for the quantitative description of matter and its interactions.During the term, we will examine the building blocks of matter, atoms, and how the particles within atoms helped design the periodic table. We will then explore how these atoms interact and connect with one another to produce larger subdivisions of matter, ions and molecules. When two different molecules approach one another, they may interact or react to form a new molecule; both of these processes will be described. This course will further both qualitative and quantitative understanding of concepts in chemistry through frequent laboratory work.  Introduction to Chemistry is a prerequisite for many other science classes, especially advanced courses. 
  • S-Chem II

    Chemistry is the science that describes matter, its chemical and physical properties, the chemical and physical changes that it undergoes, and the energy changes that accompany those processes. The course begins with stoichiometry, the process of determining how much of a substance will be made or is needed in a chemical reaction. Focusing on chemical reactions, their rates and energetic requirements will be discussed in detail, for both forward and backward reactions. A single type of reaction, acid - base reactions, will be analyzed in more detail, conceptually understanding what distinguishes acids and bases.
  • S-Chem III:Organic

    Prerequisites: Chemistry I, Chemistry II ; Recommended: AP Chemistry
    Every living thing on Earth is composed of carbon-based material, from humans, birds, and wolves to trees, fungi, and bacteria. Therefore, the chemistry of carbon is important and intriguing for chemists to study. Humans have been familiar with carbon’s existence since time immemorial; since then, organic chemists have used the foundations presented in this class to synthesize plastics of various strengths and pharmaceuticals that reduce the effects of a myriad of ailments. This intensive will take a deep dive into the element’s chemistry, discovering the multitude of compounds that carbon can make, how these compounds interact with one another, and how their structures influence their reactivities. Through discussions and laboratories, students will become knowledgeable in some basics of organic chemistry, integral experimental techniques, and biochemistry. A field trip to University of Toledo's Chemistry department may be included.
  • S-Chem of Art

    We will explore the relationships between Chemistry and Art by describing the interaction of light and matter to produce color, understanding the physical and chemical properties of the materials that artists use (including paint, pigments and binders; fibers and dyes; glass; ceramics; and the special case of frescoes), and exploring some of the scientific and aesthetic techniques used to explore the authenticity of certain works of art or artifacts.  The course will be a combination of lecture, discussion, demonstration, and projects/experiments performed by small groups. The laboratory/studio portion of the course is designed to extend and enhance the lecture topics as both chemists and artists highly value personal interaction and experimentation with materials. The projects will be selected to give students a broad exposure to the particular chemical substances used in the creation of art, as well as an opportunity to create artistic works with them. The course will culminate in a project developed by each of the groups with findings presented to the other members of the class.
    This course can fulfill ½ credit of Physical Science OR Fine Arts elective credit.
     
  • S-Electrical Eng (I)

    Prerequisites: Algebra I and Physics I
    In this course, students begin by learning foundational concepts from electromagnetism. They will investigate current, voltage, resistance, energy, and magnetism. Students apply their conceptual understanding as they draw and analyze series and parallel circuits, using mathematical tools such as Ohm’s Law and Kirchoff’s laws. They then design and construct their own circuits, working with resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, and transistors. Students examine electromagnetism applications to practical, everyday devices such as motors, lifting magnets, and stereo speakers. Finally, students are exposed to cutting edge topics in the field, including the physics behind solar cells and solid-state electronics. Students will leave the course with a better understanding of electrical engineering and its many applications to everyday life.


  • S-Geology

    This course is designed to explore the basic concepts of geology including the formation of rocks through the rock cycle, landscape evolution through erosion and deposition, plate tectonics (including volcanism, earthquakes, folding and faulting), and the interpretation of earth processes from geological data.  Emphasis will be placed on the geologic time scale and interpretation of maps and landforms to aid in this process.  We will undertake the study and identification of minerals and classification of rocks, and learn about their economic importance and value.  Lab work and field work will also be integral to ensuring a comprehensive experience for students. 
  • S-IR Methods

    This course introduces ninth grade students to the fundamental skills and habits of mind essential to continued study in the sciences.  Students will engage in meaningful research with their peers while focusing on different areas of scientific research, such as developing a strong research question and hypothesis, literature review, experiment design, data collection and analysis, and laboratory reporting.  An interdisciplinary team of teachers will provide expertise and guidance.  Math and social studies teachers will assist science teachers as students build understanding of cultural context of science and data analysis.  In coordination with our Student Support Specialist, students will also gain the tools they will need for a successful transition from Middle School.   Students will understand who they are as individual learners and practice strategies that support them in the learning process. Students will be well prepared for all future classes in high school, especially in the sciences.
  • S-Marine Science

    Marine Science builds on the physical science and life science concepts learned in previous science courses and applies that knowledge to the exploration of the living and nonliving environments of coastal and ocean systems. While much of the course will focus on the complex interactions of the marine food web, we will also explore the chemical and geologic aspects of oceanography.  The first part of the course will focus on giving students the background they need through laboratory experiments, discussions, field trips, projects, and independent research.  The second half will be a travel experience so that they can see these systems first-hand and participate in authentic research opportunities.  Ethical and social issues related to the marine environment and anthropogenic-induced climate change will be addressed throughout. (Counts toward life science credit) Approximate Cost: $3300.00.
  • S-Meteorology


    Prerequisite: Chemistry I, Physics I
    This course is designed to provide students with a fundamental understanding of basic meteorology, with a special focus on weather and climate  The topics covered in this course include atmospheric structure, energy transfer, water balance, wind systems, extreme weather events (e.g. thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes), as well as climate change.  Goals for this course include improving your understanding of the interactions of the natural atmosphere and human activities, allowing you to interpret weather maps, and to understand the interactions between atmospheric activity and weather at multiple scales.  If you want to be able to predict snow days and thunderstorms, as well as have a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of global climate change, this is the class for you!
     
  • S-Microbiology


    Course Description: In Microbiology, we will survey the exciting diversity of the microbial world. Topics will include the diversity of prokaryotic life as we look at a wide array of bacterial species, as well as
    viruses and selected eukaryotic members from the kingdoms Protista and Fungi. Emphasis will be on biosystematics, metabolism, economic importance, symbiosis and the ecology of microorganisms. Study of There will be extensive laboratory work including identification and culture methods.
  • S-Myths/Legends

    This class may be taken for Life Science or English credit.  For both, we’ll begin the course by looking at historical myths and legends - the incredible feats of heroes and gods, the tall tales handed down from generation to generation, as well as more modern urban legends.  We’ll look back at the roots of these myths to find their earliest forms, try to understand the cultural context of these myths, as well as their function within the culture.  If you’re taking the course for Science credit, you’ll look at those myths through the lens of a scientist.  You’ll apply the scientific method to an examination of the Physics, Biology and Chemistry behind the myths to answer questions about whether these heroes could have done the things they are reported to have done or if there is any scientific truth to the legends.  The emphasis will be on analyzing the scientific claims of the myth or legend, researching the plausibility of those claims, and in experimentally testing them when possible.  If you’re taking the class for English credit, you’ll focus on looking at how the stories are shaped - the story frames that have allowed them to be passed down verbally or in writing, and how this passing down gives rise to variation in the story (and, if you’re thinking about the science, inaccuracy in reporting).  We’ll trace the stories through their roots and look at connections to more modern tales (Hercules, for example, bears some relation to Paul Bunyan - why is that?)  When we all come back together, the Science students will get to work together with the English students to tell a modern day version of these myths - one that sounds like a myth, but is biologically and physically possible.  English OR Life Science Credit.
  • S-PhyII:Astronomy

    Why is Pluto no longer a planet?  Are those lights blinking in the night sky planets, stars, or planes?  How long will our sun last?  If you have ever wondered about any of these questions or others regarding our vast and ever-changing universe, then this class is for you.  We will learn about light and gravity, Earth and our neighboring planets, comets and meteors, stars and how to measure their properties, as well as galaxies and the evolution of stars.  Lab activities will introduce you to making astronomical observations and analysis. 
     
  • S-Phys II: P/O

    This course provides an introduction to optical science while learning to apply optical concepts to photography projects. Topics covered in geometrical optics include: ray-tracing, aberrations, lens design, apertures and stops, radiometry and photometry. Topics covered in wave optics include: polarization, interference, image formation, and resolution. Concepts learned will allow for purposeful and intentional photographic control of dslr cameras in class during image composition and acquisition, thus making students not only better physicists, but also better photographers. Students must provide their own camera.


  • S-Physics I

    This introduction to classical mechanics provides a conceptually-based exposure to the fundamental principles and processes of the physical world. Topics include data collection and graphical analysis of position, velocity, acceleration, forces, and gravity. Students will also develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, which will be practiced during laboratory activities and projects. With this strong conceptual foundation, students are better equipped to understand the equations and formulas of physics, and to make connections between the concepts of physics and their everyday world. Thus, Physics I is a prerequisite to several physical science courses, including AP Physics
  • S-Physics II: E/M

    Prerequisites: Physics I Calculus (Can be taken concurrently)
    In this course, students will learn fundamental concepts in electromagnetism. The course explores topics such as electrostatics; electric circuits and magnetic fields. . Students apply their conceptual understanding as they draw and analyze series and parallel circuits, using mathematical tools such as Ohm’s Law and Kirchoff’s laws. They then design and construct their own circuits, working with resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, and transistors to examine electromagnetism applications to practical, everyday devices such as motors, lifting magnets, and stereo speakers.
  • S-PhysII:Astro

    Prerequisites: Physics I and Algebra II (Can be taken concurrently)
    The science of astronomy spans vast scales of space and time, from individual atoms to entire galaxies and from the universe’s beginning to the future fate of our Sun. In this course, we will survey some of the main ideas in modern astrophysics, with an emphasis on the physics of stars and galaxies. We will learn about light and gravity, Earth and our neighboring planets, comets and meteors, stars and how to measure their properties, as well as galaxies and the evolution of stars.  Lab activities will introduce you to making astronomical observations and analysis
  • S-Scientific Discoveries

    Is scientific discovery a series of Eureka! moments by brilliant people? Yes....and no.  In this course, we will be looking at what was going on in the world of famous scientists when their historic scientific discoveries were made and how those discoveries changed the world.  What experiences did Darwin have that made him think that all organisms shared a common ancestor?  Why did Einstein question Newtonian mechanics?  What technological breakthroughs allowed the transistor to go from unfeasible to a practical world-changing invention? How did Mary Anning overcome poverty and a lack of formal education to become one of the leading paleontologists of her time?  Why does Toledo Edison supply local homes and not Toledo Tesla? You will be delving into not only the "what" of scientific discoveries but the "how" and "why" and then discovering how the world has been impacted by those discoveries.  Hands-on labs where we recreate some of these discoveries along with diving deep into the cultural context of those who made them will take up the majority of our time.  Counts toward General Science Credit.
  • SS-Cultural Anthro

    This one-rotation course focuses on the rich cultural lives of humans, using a cultural ecology framework. Aspects of culture such as language, subsistence patterns, social order, family structure, social class and status, and spiritual belief will be covered. Class work will rely heavily on discussion and project-based learning. The major purpose of the course is to present the essential similarities and differences between cultures to enable students to better understand the complex issues facing us as we attempt to communicate among cultures today.
Maumee Valley Country Day School is the only age 3 - 12th grade accredited, co-educational, independent school in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.